Becoming a certified public accountant is an achievement that requires time, hard work, and planning. You have to pass the CPA exam, and that’s why it’s essential to understand how the exam is tested.
Are you considering taking CPA exams for the first time or preparing to study for the test? With the tips on this guide, you have all you need to beat the odds and become a certified public accountant.
1 . Understand the CPA examination
Passing a CPA exam gives you the authority to tackle any accounting or finance-related job professionally. A CPA has skills in fields like taxation, auditing, and financial planning.
The exam is split into four sections. The first section entails financial accounting and reporting, while the second is regulation. The third section involves auditing and attestation, while the fourth deals with business environment and concepts.
The first section contains topics like conceptual framework, financial reporting, and select transactions. This is where you learn the basics of accounting and understand how to make entries on the ledger, cashbook and prepare financial position statements.
The regulation section deals with topics like federal taxation, accounting ethics, and business law. The auditing and attestation section deals with risk assessment, forensic accounting, and audit report preparation.
The business environment and concepts section consists of corporate governance, information systems, operations management, and economic analysis.
In some states like California, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Texas, you have additional ethics training certificates.
2. Set your mind for the exam
If you’re eager to pass the exam, it’s essential to prepare yourself mentally and dedicate some time to study. The CPA exam is tough for people who aren’t fully equipped who often end up losing focus.
It’s crucial to figure out why you want to become a certified public accountant. Also, be prepared for any outcome and understand that you don’t have to know everything to pass the test.
3. Spend quality time studying
To pass CPA exams, you have to study; no shortcuts. You’ll have to sacrifice time you’d have spent at work or with family. You should spend at least 300 hours before sitting for the exams. You might need more time if you’re a slow learner.
However, it’s essential to take breaks – if you study too much, you’re most likely to forget what you studied initially. Studying for at least 7-9 weeks is enough to ensure you grasp the content required to pass the exam.
The exam duration is short and aims at helping you work under pressure. Ensure that you follow study deadlines strictly to understand how it feels like to be under high-stake conditions.
4. Don’t pressure yourself
Most people fail CPA exams because they’re in a hurry. Avoid combining many sections because that can give you burnout, thus leading to failure.
Besides, you can fail or pass, and failing may delay your plans to complete the exam. Have a flexible program that prepares you for any outcome. An excellent strategy to pass the test is taking a section at a time.
5. Take a mock exam
Mock exams give you the confidence you deserve to tackle any examination. You can team up with friends and create exam room rules. Some of the regulations to include are: restrict the use of mobile phones, writing materials, and even calculators.
You can also get past papers and try to tackle all questions. Taking mock exams helps you to identify areas you might have forgot to cover.
The CPA exam grading system
Many factors can affect your results. For example, scoring 70 doesn’t mean you got 70% of the exam correct. The score may represent who well you performed compared to other candidates.
Your results also depend on the complexity of the questions you handled. There are multiple-choice questions and are graded differently from task-based questions.
It’s overwhelming to note all you have to go through to get a CPA certificate. However, following simple tips on how to study for cpa exam will give you an edge over other candidates. The most essential thing is to work hard and stay focused. You will soon realize that becoming a Certified Public Accountant isn’t as difficult as you thought.