The importance of time hasn’t been understated in history. Everyone from Einstein to Hemingway has expounded the significance of each second, but we seem to waste it constantly. That’s why I’m going to explain how you can stop wasting your CPA Exam study time – by studying less. Sure, you can spend 250 hours studying for each section and pass the CPA Exam. But who has that amount of time? I wasted so much time studying for the first two sections until I had realization that changed my life and helped me crush the CPA Exam.
Stick to one study method
Repetition is a concept that’s often celebrated with regard to studying, but is it effective? Well, if you’re watching videos about a concept and then reading a chapter about this same information, you’re just wasting your time! You don’t need to use different forms of media to hammer home the same ideas.
Instead, figure out which study method works for you, stick to it, and then cut out everything that simply duplicates information instead of adding value to your CPA exam journey. If you’re a visual learner, watch videos and skip the other material. If you’re a kinesthetic — hands-on learner – read the texts, take notes and make some flash cards.
That’s how I eliminated hours — in the 40-50 hour range — studying for the last two sections. I realized that I wasn’t getting anything from reinforcing the material by watching the videos. I was a kinesthetic learner who benefited from doing and reading, not watching and listening.
It’s not something that you’ll hear a lot. And you might not know what type of learner you are until you’ve tried several different methods. When you discover a method with which you’re succeeding, stick to it. Ignore the other stuff and you’ll be golden. Then, consider this other time-saving tip and give it a try.
Don’t memorize the answers
Cutting out repetition wasn’t the only thing wasting my precious time. When I looked closer at my studying technique, I found out that I was memorizing information. While memorization is essential to studying, it’s not great when it comes to multiple choice questions.
I was taking the same multiple choice question quizzes over and over, and by the end I was simply answering from memory, not because I understood the information. This is a trap into which I see countless people fall. You shouldn’t repeat the same quizzes and practice exams, because you’re not getting anything out of it and it’s a huge waste of time.
Instead, take a practice test, figure out what you got wrong, go re-learn that information, and move on. There’s no benefit to be gained from focusing on the concepts that you already know!
I was spending hours re-taking tests that were full of information I had already mastered. In fact, not only would I know these answers, but I was also at the point where I had memorized the rest of the questions. Sure, it’s a confidence boost to get 90-100 percent on a practice test, but it doesn’t help your actual CPA Exam strategies.
Understand the CPA Exam
I am not advocating these tips because I think that over-studying won’t help you pass — it will. But, the CPA Exam is taxing enough without putting in too much effort. Why do more than what’s needed? Practically speaking, you just need to pass. CPA review books have literally thousands of pages, so why overcommit to certain areas if you don’t need to! You need to understand the exam and how you can conquer it without destroying your life. Passing it is going to help you move up the ladder and more importantly, increase your salary, but you shouldn’t sacrifice years of your life to do so. Listen to these simple, yet often overlooked tips, and you may be able to shave hours and hours from your overall study time.
I wish someone had told me these things before I took the test, as I basically wasted weeks and weeks rehashing material that wasn’t going to contribute to my overall score. Pass each section with less time, get the exam over quicker, and get back to enjoying your life!
If you’d like to learn more about a great CPA prep program, see my in-depth review of Surgent’s course.
Disclaimer: Bryce Welker is an affiliate of Surgent CPA Review.