Top Ten Tips for Passing the CPA Exam

You know your CPA exam is taking over your life when your desktop background says “Keep Calm and Avoid a Panic Attack!”

Needless to say, passing the CPA exam is no piece of cake. But just a little determination, discipline and divine-intervention is all you need to ace the exam. If you have been hounding the internet for ways to stay motivated and get organized while studying for the CPA exam then your hunt is now over. Following are top ten tips from industry professionals that will ensure you keep your eye on the prize and sail through the preparations and the examination:

  • Plan Ahead

If you are reading this the night before the exam or even a week before it then I am sorry to break it to you but you might be a little too late (unless you are completely prepared but just doubting yourself, in which case just drink a glass of milk, cover yourself with your luck blanket and take a good night’s nap). You should apply at least six months before your scheduled exam date. If you earned credits in a foreign jurisdiction then be sure to allow extra time for transcript evaluation.


  • Get Disciplined

Sinking yourself in books night before the exam might be ‘your style’ but CPA requires determination, diligence and a lot of discipline. Make sure you have a schedule that allows for at least an hour of study and/or revision each day no matter how prepared you are. ‘CPA exams are like learning a new language’ says one CPA who passed the exam on the first go, ‘You don’t just need to retain more information, you also need to previously consumed information fresh in your mind.’


  • Go Off the Technological Grid

Not to say you should ditch your gas, water and electric supplies, but your mobile phones, iPods, tablets, desktops, televisions and even radios need to be plugged out. Let your friends and family know that you will be out of touch for the specific time in a day every day.


  • Educate Yourself on the Go

So you have a busy life? So did thousands of CPAs who successfully passed the exams. You need to be stronger than your strongest excuse to succeed. You need to do laundry, run to the grocery store, work out at the gym and take an hour long public commute to work? Plug in an audio course and learn on the go.


  • Take a Break!

This is perhaps one advice that is either taken too seriously or not at all, and both those cases are extreme. You need to give your mind and body time to relax and rejuvenate itself. Sleep, meditate, socialize, watch a film or simply stare at the stars, but give yourself a break. You do deserve it.



  • Keep Yourself Motivated

Motivation is essential to keep on going. Remind yourself again and again why it is important for you to pass the exam. Post pictures on your wall and make plans of what you will do after you pass the exam (know that you will!).


  • Remain Positive

Self doubt is like water to your burning desire to succeed. All that you learn will easily be washed away by self-doubt. Know that you will, and you will. If you think you wouldn’t then you would invariably work towards proving yourself right.


  • Practice, Practice and Practice

CPA exam is broken down into multiple-choice stimulations and testlets. The more you practice the more comfortable and confident you’d get.


  • Use Current Information

When studying, be sure to read current information and review material. Many times students stick to older versions which may have become irrelevant.


  • Stay Hydrated and EAT!

Don’t ignore your body’s basic needs. Be sure to eat a healthy meal and drink loads of water (don’t forget to visit the bathroom afterwards) and stay positive.


All the best!




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