When preparing for the CPA Exam, it’s very important to take at least one (if not more) full-length practice exams leading up to exam day. This will help you identify any final problem areas in the material; but more importantly, it is your opportunity to refine your test taking strategy. Before you start testing yourself, here are some tips to how you can most effectively approach your practice exams.
1. Treat Your Practice Exam Like the Last Long Run Leading Up to a Marathon
“The CPA Exam is a marathon—not a sprint.” In the CPA Exam community, this phrase is a popular one. Not only because it serves as a great analogy for how you can expect to pass the CPA Exam overall, but also because it can exemplify every step of the journey—including how to approach your practice exams.
If the CPA Exam is like training for a marathon, this means that you have to pace yourself accordingly. In marathon training, trainees increase their mileage every week with practice runs; for the CPA Exam, you increase your knowledge base by layering upon what you learned the previous week, using short quizzes to reinforce those concepts. And as trainees take that last, cumulative run to prepare themselves for the actual event, your practice exams serve as the final run to prepare you for Exam Day.
2. Quizzes Build a Foundation in the Material Before Taking a Practice Exam
Before diving into a practice exam, it’s important to make sure that you have gone through all of your course materials and questions for the section you are studying for. At Roger CPA Review, we provide robust course diagnostics to help you keep track of the questions you have, or have not yet quizzed yourself on. We highly recommend you use this tool to ensure you have quizzed yourself at least once on all available questions. This will help you leverage your strengths and weaknesses so that you can see which concepts you feel confident and comfortable with, versus the concepts that you may need to spend some extra time on in order to improve understanding and application.
Utilizing quizzes in this way not only helps you narrow down your final review, but also is a practical time saver. Often times, candidates will dive into a practice exam before practicing the material thoroughly. This could be a waste of up to 4 hours of their time! So as you use your quizzes and course diagnostics to determine where you stand, you’ll be able to better assess your progress and decide whether or not you’re ready to take the actual practice exam. And when you are, you’re much more likely to do well the first time around.
3. Use Practice Exams to Prepare you for More Than Just the Material
Once your diagnostics and quizzes reflect that you’re doing well on the material, this means you’re understanding the concepts and how to apply them to actual CPA Exam type questions. Fantastic! Now that you’re ready to take your practice exam, it’s important to keep in mind the following:
Give yourself at least a week before your actual exam date to go over final preparations. This includes taking practice exams and final review time. The logic behind this is to give yourself some extra cushion to study more in the event that your practice exam reveals some holes you need to fill in order to do even better.
Practice exams test you on more than just the material. It is also a test of your durability. Scoring well on a limited 20 question quiz is much different than having to sit for a grueling four hour exam simulation. Not only do you need to perform well on the difficult material, but you must also stay focused and sharp while simultaneously overcoming fatigue. Our CPA Exam Simulator was designed to look just like the actual CPA Exam so that there are no surprises on exam day. This includes:
• Calculator with tape functionality
• Countdown clock
• Ability to flag questions within each testlet
• Ability to go back and forth on questions within a testlet, but the inability to go back to a past testlet once it’s complete
• The correct amount of testlets and amount of questions per testlet (i.e., FAR has 3 Multiple Choice testlets, each containing 30 questions, and 7 TBS)
Being familiar and comfortable with the format of the CPA Exam is a significant part of your studying process. Our CPA Exam Simulator gives you an unlimited number of practice exams so that you can hone in on your testing strategy and stamina, giving you the utmost preparedness and confidence come actual exam day.
4. Let Your Practice Exams Guide Your Final Review
Upon completion of your practice exam, the CPA Exam Simulator provides a diagnostic summary indicating your strengths and weaknesses per exam section. Use this to focus your final review by going back and looking at the questions you answered correctly and incorrectly. Delve into the answer explanations for each to make sure you understand why you answered the way you did; this will ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the concept rather than leaving it to chance.