Thursday, 12 May 2016

Tips for CPA Exam Prep

Prepping for the CPA Exam

Certified Public Accountant and consultant Lewis Daidone offers tips for preparing for the CPA exam

Passing the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination is no easy feat. About half of all people who take the CPA exam fail. In addition, it is estimated that there is only about a 20% chance of passing all four parts in one try, so proper exam preparation is crucial.

Clearly, anyone who intends to take the CPA exam has to take it extremely seriously. Not only is the exam rigorous (it's a 14 hour test), the cost for the four sections of the exam is approximately $1,000, including the application fee. In addition, I highly recommend taking a review course – and those fees range from $1,500 to $3,000. Trust me—you don't want to have to take this more than you have to!

Here are a few tips to consider regarding taking the CPA exam.

Choose your study courses carefully

Don't settle for basic review courses or those with the best advertising or those that appear affordable. Do the research. Look for hard data on student exam passing rates. Review the reviews – search for student posts on independent websites..

Study like it's your full-time job

Plan to put in 30+ hours per week of study (approximately 500 hours) for each section of the exam. In addition to dedicated study time, you can also take audio courses, and listen to them during your drive to work or on the elliptical. You will also want to simulate the exam itself – multiple times. Your review courses should offer computerized test simulations; there are also online resources you should research – some are free, These should be used only to augment the review course material, not replace it.

Take care of yourself!

If you're completely sleep deprived and run-down by the time your exam date rolls around, you're probably going to kiss all of that exhaustive prep work goodbye. Get plenty of rest, eat well, and practice your favorite stress-reduction techniques so that you will be in top physical and mental condition for your big day!

Failed the CPA Exam? Don't Panic!

Failed the CPA Exam? Don't Panic—Try Again!

Lewis Daidone discusses options for CPA candidates who've failed one or more parts of the CPA Exam. Lewis Daidone is a Certified Public Accountant and consultant to financial services firms and technology companies.

Taking the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination is a crucial step on the road to becoming a successful and respected accountant. However, it is a road paved with challenges. The examination is an exhaustive, 14 hour, four-part test that requires years of dedicated preparation. Approximately half of all applicants fail. Credit for any section passed is valid for 18 months from the date the exam was taken. Examination credit expires by section.

If you've failed one or more parts of the CPA Exam, don't despair! You can take the CPA Exam as many times as your schedule (and your sanity) allows.

Failing with a score of 70 – 74

If you failed one of your sections by only a few points, apply for a Notice to Schedule (NTS) to reschedule the failed section as early in the next window as practicable, and begin seriously reviewing the previous materials. You've demonstrated that you've got a strong grasp of critical concepts within that section, and you just need to pay a bit more attention to some of the nuances. You already have the exam fresh in your mind, so you're definitely in a great position to do well on the retake.

Failing with a score of 70 or lower

Those who've failed one of the exams with a score under 70 probably aren't comfortable enough with the material to retake the test successfully early in the next testing window. If you are secure in your grasp of the materials for the next part that you are studying for, continue on your current track, take that exam, and then return to the section you failed. Schedule your re-examination late enough in the following window to give yourself enough time to really nail down all of the materials.

Remember, you have 18 months to pass all four sections of the CPA exam, so use them wisely. Don't let your stumble intimidate or discourage you; stay the course and conquer that test!