12 Tips to Pass the CPA Exam

Use as many or as few of these CPA exam tips as you want!

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Tips to Pass the CPA Exam

Passing the CPA exam starts with using the Universal CPA Review course. If you’re studying for the CPA exam, then these 12 tips will help you pass the CPA exam. These tips can be used if you’re just starting or you have been studying for several months. Use these 12 tips to help shape your study schedule and approach to pass the CPA exam. 

Tip #1 – Know the mission

Stand in front of a mirror and tell yourself exactly why you want to become a CPA! Whenever you are struggling, go back to that mirror, and remind yourself why you started on this mission!


Tip #2 – Construct a schedule

Start by determining how many hours per week you can study. How many hours can you study before work? How many hours after work? How many hours on the weekend? Once you have the total amount of hours you can study per week, divide by 150 hours, and that will help you determine how many weeks it will take you to study. The 150 hours is a rough estimate, but can be used to help you understand a realistic timeline. Communicate your schedule to family, friends, and co-workers. The people in your circle need to respect your schedule!


Tip #3 – Study new topics in the morning

Learn new topics on the morning. Your brain will be fresh and ready to absorb! Review the topics you learned during lunch and practice a few multiple choice questions if you have time! Review your notes before you go to bed! At this point, you have touched the material multiple times throughout the day!

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Tip #4 – Create a mental map

Every single topic on the CPA exam can be broken down into a series of repeatable steps. Develop a set of steps you can reperform to answer every single MCQ and simulation you will see on a topic. You will repeat these steps on exam day for every single MCQ and simulation when the pressure is on! 

Tip #5 – Lecture yourself

Watch the lecture or MCQ/SIM explanation video in your CPA review course and then stand in front of a mirror and explain the concept or answer to a problem out loud to yourself.

Tip #6 – Keep an inventory of notes

Maintain 1 page of notes with concepts that you are struggling to understand/retain. Think about notes as inventory in your brain. Once you know the topic, remove it from your notes! Minimize the amount of “inventory” in your notes!

Tip #7 – Perform cumulative quizzes or progress tests

Perform cumulative practice quizzes/tests on a weekly basis. For example, if you just completed Chapter 3, do a practice test that selects 25-30 MCQs at random from Chapters 1, 2, and 3! Knowledge needs to accumulate, just like a snowball does!

Tip #8 – Silence your phone while studying

It can take you up to 23 minutes to regain your focus after a disruption. How important is that text message or Facebook notification, right? Put your phone on silent mode and that will help you stay focused!

Tip #9 – Maintain healthy lifestyle habits

Maintain a healthy and balanced diet! Maintain a consistent sleep schedule! Exercise will energize and motivate you!

Tip #10 – Maintain balance

Set aside time on Saturday or Sunday to just live your life… Spend time with your family/friends… go out to dinner… You have to find a balance to stay on the path to success!

Tip #11 – Join a CPA study group

By joining a CPA study group, you will find a sense of community. You will be able to ask questions to other candidates, and respond to questions other candidates ask. The questions can be general CPA exam questions or specific technical questions. To join the Universal CPA Facebook and Reddit study groups, click here.

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Tip #12 – Utilize free CPA content

There is free content related to the CPA exam online, you just need to know where to look. The Universal CPA YouTube channel is the #1 source for free online videos. You should also attempt the AICPA practice tests for each exam, which can be found here.

The Universal CPA Review team prepared a video that goes through these helpful CPA exam study tips, which can be found below:

If you are studying for the CPA exam, then sign up for a free trial to have full access to the Universal CPA platform for 7 days here. Universal CPA is the only course that has visual learning and bite-sized video explanations for every single MCQ and simulation.

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