Ask any recent accounting graduate about the challenges of mastering CPA exam material and the universal response is that it’s much more difficult than anything in college. The volume of information addressed on the CPA examination is immense. More importantly, the majority of exam content is not covered in college courses.
Fortunately, most of the subjects in exam study contain less detail than a typical college course. Consequently, you have fewer facts to learn about any single topic, but more overall subjects. The downside of this situation is that the way you retained information studied in college requires some adjustment when studying for the CPA exam.
Although a degree program is a valuable foundation, you’re confronted by a new way of testing for the CPA examination. The CPA exam is different than any college test. The volume of information renders a cramming study technique generally ineffective. Instead, questions on the CPA exam demand use of cognitive reasoning. Subject matters seem to overlap on the exam sections. For example, questions on the audit exam may have elements that seem substantially related to financial statement compilation.
These circumstances demand a rededication to study for CPA preparation. Rather than relying upon short-term memory to identify facts, you must engage in long-term holistic thinking. The type of knowledge needed to pass the CPA exam is a new experience for most students.
Cementing information in your mind with long-term memory generally requires study every day. Even just a little work with sample CPA test questions is better than skipping study for several days and then having a one day cram session. Your objective when preparing for the CPA exam is development of skill at utilizing long-term recall. Each question calls for remembering a variety of factors learned over several weeks.
As a result, the best CPA review course is not a quick cram program. It must encompass a true learning experience with a wide range of practice questions. Drilling with these examples should provide references back to course material. Along with good review materials, you need to follow sound study techniques. Read every sample question carefully and evaluate the incorrect answers along with the right selections. Consider how the answer would change if the question were worded differently. This proves a firm grasp of the underlying concept.
Because of the quantity of information to cover for the CPA exam, commitment to the study effort entails confronting one small step at a time. This process requires a little enthusiasm to overcome such a tedious routine every day. A temptation is always present to seek shortcuts when none exist. Last minute cram sessions almost never result in passing CPA exam scores. The only path with proven universal success is self-discipline to bond a huge amount of information into your brain for easy long-term recall.
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