Tips For Success--Part 1
Tips for Success--Part 1
CPA Review for FREE
Joe Hoyle, President and Co-Founder
Over the years, we have gotten such positive feedback about our Facebook posts that I have taken some of my favorites and gathered them here. Over the 30 plus years that I have been in CPA Review, I have come to realize how much we all need encouragement to do our best. We are humans; a friendly push can keep us moving. You can help an enormous number of people simply by patting them on the back and reminding them that “you can do it.” We all seem to need that but we don’t always give it to others. Before I start this compilation, let me ask you to also help motivate some of the people who are around you each day. If we all did that, I think the world would be a lot better place.
We, here at CPA Review for FREE, want to help as many people as possible pass the CPA Exam. We believe that - with enough hours and good materials - everyone can pass. We do not believe that the Accounting profession should be restricted to just the people who can afford a high-priced (over-priced) review program. For years now, we have backed up that belief with over 2,200 free questions and answers and with our (very low priced) subscription service.
How can you help us? That’s simple – pass along the good word. We can only afford to provide this service if we don’t spend money for advertising. The other review courses pour millions into marketing and, therefore, must charge you and other candidates thousands upon thousands of dollars. We don’t advertise but, instead, hope and pray that our friends will help us to tell people about us. In advance – THANKS!!!
(1) - If you read my weekly email lessons, you know that one of my favorite words is “urgency.” It is very difficult to do the work necessary (day in and day out) without a sense of urgency. Without that, it is just way too easy to procrastinate. Without urgency, there are always more important and more interesting things to distract you.
So, how do you get urgency into your CPA Exam studies? Easy: set a date for the test and make it reasonably close. Circle that date on the calendar and tell all of your friends and family: “I’m planning to take my next part of the CPA Exam on this date.” That will immediately put a kick into your preparation.
The exam becomes very real at that moment. As long as you are just going to take the CPA Exam at some vague time in the future, there is no real reason to get serious about doing the work. However, when you only have a specific number of days left to prepare, those days will become precious. Whenever you want to accomplish more in life, work with a sense of urgency.
(2) - Sugar Ray Robinson was one of the most famous boxers in history. He fought in the 40s and 50s and is often called the greatest boxer of all time even today. He once said “I’ve always believed that you can think positive just as well as you can think negative.”
It is hard to get through life without bumping into negative people: “I can’t do this,” “life’s just not fair,” “nothing I do is ever good enough.” You know the story. It is hard to do well on the CPA Exam without a positive attitude. It is just difficult to put in all of the time and energy to prepare without a positive feeling about yourself and the goal that you have established for yourself.
Take a step back and ask yourself: “do people see me as positive about the CPA Exam or as negative?” I think you will find the whole process more fun and more successful if you will work to make yourself more positive. I am one of those people who believe that you do have control over your own attitude. Work to be positive. It is just as easy as being negative and it leads to much better results.
(3) - One serious problem all students face is that the knowledge leaks out of their heads fairly quickly. After each test at school, I get a lot of moans from my students: “I thought I knew that material so well” when what they really mean is “I knew that material so well two weeks ago but I had begin to forget it.”
To pass the CPA Exam, the information needs to be very fresh in your brain. Therefore, as you study, take very short (10 words or less) notes. Then, make time, every two weeks, to read over those notes to bring the material back into your brain. Reserve the final two or three days right before you take the exam for one last strong review of all those notes so that your coverage will be fresh. A little fresh knowledge is worth more than a lot of stale knowledge. (Although, obviously, a lot of fresh knowledge is the best way to walk into the exam site.)
(4) - In preparing for the CPA exam, hours are like gold. They are your most valuable asset. Use them wisely. You have to be willing and able to invest sufficient time for review, otherwise passing becomes quite difficult. Getting in a sufficient number of hours should be your number one priority.
For most people, 60 to 100 hours per part is a reasonable goal. So, before you begin your preparation, decide how many hours you are able to spend each week. That will tell you when to schedule the exam. Ten hours per week means you need 6 to 10 weeks of study for each part.
Then, decide when you are going to study each week. If you wait until your schedule is open, you will never find those hours. YOU HAVE TO MAKE TIME TO STUDY. And, you have to make time 5-6 days each week.
That is where self-discipline becomes so important. If you can make good use of your hours, there is no reason why you cannot pass the CPA Exam. None -- with the hours, everyone can pass.
(5) - When I took the CPA Exam years ago, the pass rate on each part was about 30-33 percent. This meant that no matter how hard you studied, you had trouble passing. The CPA Exam was universally viewed as a “killer.”
In the 3rd quarter of 2009, the pass rate on each part was above 51 percent (Auditing—51.5%, FAR-51.1%, BEC-52.3%, and Regulation—52.4%) and hovers around 48% today. The exam is still very tough but it is no longer the same type of killer exam. You need to realize that fact before you start studying. About half the people who take a part will pass.
We could debate the reasons for the increase in the pass rate but the important issue is that everyone can now pass the CPA Exam if they do the work. It is no longer just for the A students. If you work enough practice problems and put in the time to learn from your mistakes, you can pass this exam regardless of your job or college grade point average. This should give you a confidence boost: “if I do the work, I have a legitimate shot at making this happen.”