Have you met the educational requirements to take the CPA Exam? Are you also sheltering at home amid the coronavirus pandemic? Sheltering at home and maybe even having additional time on your hands doesn’t mean that studying for this significant professional accomplishment will be easy. And while the CPA Exam is a lot to prepare for, there are plenty of resources available to future accountants. Read on to discover helpful tips to help you get started.
Study for the CPA Exam While Sheltering at Home
Sheltering at home during the coronavirus pandemic is a great time to study for the CPA Exam. However, the home environment has its own set of distractions when trying to work or study. Because the test demands a lot of focus, it is crucial to minimize interruptions as much as possible. A smartphone, for example, is a very common distraction. Take charge of your phone by silencing it, turning it screen-side down on a table, or putting the device on airplane mode as you study.
If you find yourself tempted to check unread notifications, consider leaving your phone in another room or giving it to a family member for a few hours.
You will discover that being productive while sheltering at home requires time management. If you are not sure as to whether you use your time productively, consider using a time tracking app and take stock of your study behavior. A person can be surprised to find out how much time is spent on home projects and tasks during work hours, and how those tasks might be disguising procrastination.
Be sure to get into the right frame of mind as you prepare to study. Because the CPA Exam requires that you study so much information, it is unwise to rely on sheer willpower to carry you through. Find ways to pace your brain and your body without feeling fatigued over the long haul. Think of yourself as building endurance, just like an athlete does.
Rest and recovery periods are key aspects of becoming stronger and being able to do more. Remember to take short breaks and move around each hour, taking a quick walk or a short yoga practice to improve mental alertness and sharpen your memory. Along with improving study sessions, these strategies will allow you to cultivate speed and endurance for the day of the CPA Exam.
Know What To Expect Before Taking The CPA Exam
It’s very important to understand timeframes built into the CPA Exam process. The exam is divided into four sections, and you are expected to sit for each section on separate test days. You are allotted four hours to complete each section of the exam. This is when paying attention to timeframes is crucial.
As soon as you successfully complete the first section of the exam, a countdown begins, as you will only have 18 months to attempt and successfully pass the remaining three sections of the exam. Do pay close attention to future testing windows, and carefully plan your everyday responsibilities and commitments within that timeframe so you will have enough time to study and relax for a sense of wellness.
Strategies For CPA Exam Preparation
Simulated exams are an excellent way to improve your test-taking pace, and an effective way of learning to manage your time during the exam. This is because simulated exams mimic test questions, format, and time allotted. Another advantage of simulated exams is that they reveal your weaker topic areas so that you can prioritize studying that material in your mind.
It is highly recommended that you learn how to navigate the computer-based exam so that you are comfortable navigating its unique interface. Becoming familiar with the exam interface well in advance will reduce the amount of precious test-taking time spent on learning a new format. This way, you’ll be ready to dive right into creating formal audit communications and writing answers for questions that cover taxation, auditing, and accounting while referencing authoritative literature.
Choosing a comprehensive approach to studying is the best approach you can adopt. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the information you learned in college or graduate accounting courses is all that’s required to pass the CPA Exam. The reality is that the CPA Exam involves a great deal of material and topics not covered in equal measure.
A comprehensive approach means being ready for anything and everything. If you are already employed in the accounting world, you might have already forgotten knowledge acquired in college. However, your new profession gives you the advantage of relearning old material and acquiring new knowledge in the mode of “active learning,” applying everything you are studying real-life situations in your workplace. Active learning and applying what you learn solidify concepts in the mind.
It cannot be stressed enough that time management during the actual exam is crucial. The last situation you want to face is running out of time before you have finished answering all the CPA Exam questions. Those simulated exams you took will help you keep a steady pace, devoting an adequate amount of time to each section of the test. Your pace will also be determined by how well you really know the material and whether you are able to answer nearly instinctively instead of second-guessing yourself.
When you allot yourself the adequate space and time to mentally, physically, and emotionally prepare for the CPA Exam, you’re building a space toward success and can prepare for the next big step in your career.
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