Without a solid foundation and legitimate, well-thought-out plan, you're almost guaranteed to fail the CPA Exam. As Roger always says, the CPA Exam is a test of discipline and in order to succeed, you're going to have to overcome procrastination, poor planning, and the temptation of outside distractions.
The first step to planning your study strategy should be a solid schedule.
Plan out your entire week, from waking up in the morning to going to sleep at night and all the studying you will do in between. It may seem overwhelming if you're a working professional, are still in school, or are doing both. But if you've created a plan for yourself, you'll get a better picture of where study times can fit into your life.
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Naturally, some activities will have to be sacrificed.
Make sure you have a supportive network of friends and family to help you through the process and who understand that while you're focused on passing the CPA Exam, they may get very little of your time.
You may have also lucked out by having a supportive manager or set of partners who appreciate your drive as an unlicensed accountant to further your career goals. But even if you don't have either of these in your life, it does not have to be a hindrance to your plan. Just remember that you may have to give up softball, volunteer work, trips to the bar with friends, etc. Although you're making large sacrifices in your personal life for now, remember that it's a temporary condition and there will be plenty of time to celebrate once you pass!
Lunch hours are a perfect example of fitting in study time where seemingly none exists.
Some firms even encourage unlicensed staff to use downtime to study for the CPA Exam. If you cannot fit in a full hour-long lecture, you can easily pop in your simulation software and get through a few sets of multiple choice questions.
Remember that it goes back to how the brain learns; if you slowly build your knowledge base over time instead of trying to cram everything in at once, you will have a stronger and clearer picture of the concept you are trying to learn. Which is why our course offers bite-sized lectures that are to the point and explain concepts concisely and thoroughly without overwhelming you with too much information. This will come in handy when that bit on bonds that stumped you for weeks pops up at the test center!
Whatever you do, do not put this off!
You'll regret it in the long run. Be true to yourself and your goals; after all, you're the one who decided to pursue CPA licensure, so do yourself a favor and stick to your plan. Get it done as soon as possible to receive that firm bonus and before life gets in the way!
Lastly, the most important thing to remember is to stay motivated and not give up.
Sometimes even the best plans fail. There may be things out of your control that prove to be an obstacle, but don't let that bring you down. Always keep your goal in sight! If you're honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses, you can adjust your plan with your particular obstacle in mind and continue on.
You can do this!
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