This week we welcome a new guest blogger, Christopher Boate! Christopher has been working for PepsiCo as an Accounting Operations Associate Analyst since he graduated from Iona College with a Masters Degree in 2012.  He began studying for the CPA exam in late 2013, but wasn't fully able to commit to studying at the time, so it wasn't until January of 2015 that he passed his first section of the CPA Exam, AUD.

He is currently studying for FAR, which he plans to take in mid-May. While studying for the CPA Exam, he is also training to compete in Obstacle Races, like the Spartan Racing Events.  He will be racing in the Spartan Beast, a 12+ mile obstacle race, in New Jersey this April.

Follow Christopher every week as he works his way through the rest of the CPA Exam.

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Beginning my journey to become a CPA, I didn't look at the exam as a test-by-test basis. It was more like I have to pass AUD on this date, pass the next section on this date and so forth so I could get back to living the life of a normal 24 year old male.  I looked to speed through the exam so I could go out and make up for the social life I forgave in order to pass the exam.  For those of you who are studying for the CPA exam and thinking that far into the future, STOP now.

Understand that the key to the CPA exam is repetition, repetition, repetition.  Start slow, plan out your week with specific parts of your day dedicated to studying.  Once youve found a particular part of the day that best suits your study habits, stick with it.  It is important to take the exam one chapter at a time.  Im currently preparing for FAR and you must master the beginning concepts to move forward successfully.  As you move from one chapter to the next, youll subconsciously pick up habits that will help facilitate your learning, enhancing your ability to retain information the first time around.

It wasn't until my 3rd attempt and second review course (moving from Becker to Roger), that I passed my first section of the CPA exam.  It took over a year for me to adapt to this style of studying.  The basic premise of the phrase, Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast is to begin slowly to develop effective habits. Remember, repetition is key.  Repetition will allow you to distinguish your weaknesses and faults allowing you to rectify them, making your study time more efficient.  In the end, it all comes down to how efficiently you use your study time.  Most of us live busy lives. Balancing work, family, friends and life make managing your time that much more important.  Once you've become efficient in your studies, youll be able to cover more material in smaller time frames.

In the end, it all comes down to hard work and dedication as no part of the CPA exam is easy, but by beginning slow, eliminating bad habits, and developing efficient study strategies, you will be well on your way to successfully completing your CPA exam journey!

Good Luck!

 - Christopher Boate