How Many Hours to Study for the CPA Exam?

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Ask Joey

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How many hours to study for the CPA exam?

Gone are the days when thinking about studying for an exam was something that could easily be pushed off for another time. When it comes to preparing and effectively studying for the CPA Exam, advanced preparation is not only required but entirely necessary. However, how do you know what type of a study schedule and overall hours work best for you? This article will examine suggested study times and other factors that are beneficial to consider when preparing for the CPA Exam.

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Overall recommended hours

In general, it is important to remember that there are four parts to the CPA exam that you will need to prepare for, and each should have a total of 80-160 minutes dedicated to that one specific area. Therefore, a rough estimate of your overall study time should amount between 350-450 hours in total. While this number may seem daunting at first glance, the more important factor to consider is how much time in days/weeks/months do you have available to you, and how can you break this up into smaller chunks to maximize your time and ensure that you retain the information?

Consider your current schedule

If you are at a point in life where you are not working a full time job and are able to devote copious amounts of time to studying for the exam, then consider making it a part of your everyday routine. Treating your study time as a job in and of itself allows you to fully immerse yourself in the content, taking the time to write out in-depth notes, watch helpful videos with advice on how to best prepare, and make the most of available practice quizzes reviewing each section. In this scenario, the goal should be to spend between 30-40 hours per week for about ten to twelve weeks in advance for preparation.

However, on the more realistic side of life, many will be preparing for the exam while also working a full time job. In this case, it is imperative to consider the demands of your everyday life and what will realistically be an achievable goal.

For example, my sister was working full time as a new employee at a CPA firm when she first began to prepare for her CPA Exam. She was fortunate to be working with peers who had already taken the exam and could therefore offer their own insight into what she could expect, but she also understood the demands of her circumstances and what she hoped to accomplish, which was to take all four sections the first time around. This is where she had to really plan out her schedule 12-16 weeks in advance and consider what worked best for her.