Monday, November 12, 2012

CPA Exam Tips from a Staff Accountant

Studying for the CPA Exam can feel overwhelming and scary.  But, every CPA goes through it.  Below are a few tips from Jeremy Pierce, a staff accountant at Jones & Roth.  Jeremy did all the right things - he started right away, created a plan and stuck to it.  And, he passed all four parts within a year of starting at Jones & Roth.  Here are Jeremy's thoughts on studying for the exam.

There is not really any easy way to study for the exam.  It is hard work. I suggest you make a formal schedule that is realistic enough to follow but also thorough enough to cover all the information in that section.  Then stick to it! 
  • Make a reasonable study schedule and ensure you have time to fit in all of the lectures.
  • Do at least 1,000 multiple choice questions (MCQ) during the study process.  And, make sure you're accumulating the questions as you go (after chapter 1, do chapter 1 questions; after chapter 2, do chapters 1 and 2 questions, etc)
  • Do break up the lectures into 1-2 hours pieces.  I would lose focus after about an hour so at least split up the lecture and do MCQ's in between just to keep focused.
  • Create a schedule that allows for at least a full week of review and catchup on any topics that were difficult for you.
  • Set the last two days before the exam to do practice exams and MCQ's.
  • NEVER skip sections.  If you don't like the section you should probably do it twice.  Haha!  But, don't skip it!
  • Try a cram course for the bigger sections.  The cram course did seem to help bump my score so it may be a good option for FAR and REG because there is soooo much to cover.  But I would only use the cram course in addition to the regular course, not as a replacement.
  • Give yourself 1-2 nights off each week to do something fun.  You'll be more productive if you have that break.
  • Relax.  Remember that you graduated with a degree in accounting so you've passed exams that covered the same topics.  It isn't as big of deal as we make it.
With that, don’t get overwhelmed by trying to study 10 hours in one day - it won’t happen. Just make a plan that you can work through one step at a time and before you know it you’ll have 3 extra letters on your card, haha…

Jeremy's study schedule:

Sunday 6/17MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursday Friday Saturday
Reg 2 finish lecturesCorp Tax part 1Corp Tax part 2Softball gameS- CorpGolf/ Happy hourPartnership Tax & Contracts
20 MCQ's20 MCQ's20 MCQ's20 MCQ's20 MCQ's100 MCQ's
Sunday 6/24MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursday Friday Saturday
Finish Reg 4K FallsK FallsK FallsK FallsGolf / Happy HourEstate, trust and gift tax
20 MCQ's20 MCQ's20 MCQ's20 MCQ's20 MCQ'sDepreciation
100 MCQ's
Sunday 7/1MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursday Friday Saturday
Property & Special Tax Exempt Org. Driving to CaliJuly 4th CaliCaliCali
tax20 MCQ's20 MCQ's20 MCQ's20 MCQ's
20 MCQ's
Sunday 7/8MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursday Friday Saturday
CaliCali/drive backCommercial paperSecured TransactionsBankruptcyGolf / Happy HourCram Course
20 MCQ's20 MCQ'sNeg. Insruments20 MCQ'sDebtor/creditor100 MCQ's
20 MCQ's20 MCQ's
Sunday 7/15MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursday Friday Saturday
Cram Course
100 MCQ's100 MCQ's100 MCQ's100 MCQ's100 MCQ's100 MCQ's200 MCQ's
Sunday 7/22Monday
200 MCQ'sEXAM 12pm

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