5 Great Ways To Increase Your CPA Exam Scores

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5 Great Ways To Increase Your CPA Exam Scores

All that really matters is that you score a 75 on your exam.  Adding 2 or 3 points to your score could mean the difference between failing, and spending another 2 months studying, or passing, and feeling a boost of confidence as you go into the next exam.

Below are 5 simple ways to increase your CPA exam scores.

#1 Monday = Gameday

If at all possible take your exam on Monday. This gives you three full days to do your final review and cram as much information as possible.

Many of the exam questions have a short-term memory aspect to them and having a fresh 25-30 hours of studying in your brain is a HUGE advantage. This is especially true for the BEC and Audit sections where much of the exam is about memorization rather than concepts.

#2 Cheat Sheets ARE allowed

As soon as you get your scratch paper “noteboards” and the clock starts, write down as much important information and mnemonics you may have created before you answer any questions. Also, be sure to jot down any of the basic formulas or ratios you may need (notice how I said basic, you do not need to remember all 30 ratios given in your textbook!) This will shield you from any brain farts or “my mind went blank” moments later on and gives you an entire resource of information to refer back to. If you’re not currently using mnemonics then I would highly recommend creating some since this is an easy way to add a few points to your test score. NASBA Update: “Effective January 1, 2013, in lieu of scratch paper and pencils, exam candidates will be provided with two double-sided, laminated, colored sheets called “noteboards,” as well as a fine point marker for making notations.” This may effect your ability to use the new noteboards as a cheat sheet compared to the old scratch paper method. I would love to hear someone’s opinion about this new rule with regards to what is allowed and what is not.  If you have a quick second, and have personally used the new noteboards in 2013, please leave a comment below and fill us in! For more information about this please see NASBA’s posting  http://www.nasba.org/exams/news/noteboards-used-for-cpa-exam/

#3 Short Term Memory Boost

Bring your notes to the exam site and arrive 30 minutes early to review them. This is also a great way to refresh any vital information you want to copy down on your “noteboards” as discussed in tip #2. If it’s not in your mind at the last minute, you may not remember it in the exam room. Another great way to retain information is to do a ton of CPA exam practice questions in the days prior to your exam. Check out Wiley CPAexcel Test bank for extra help on the sections you need a boost on!

#4 Find the Odd Man Out

When doing the multiple-choice questions, usually three of the answers will all have something in common. The fourth is the odd man out, always pick this one if you come across a question that you are unsure of.

#5 Don’t Jump the Gun

Completely read through each of the A,B,C, and D answers before selecting one.  Often times you will come across a question where there seem to be multiple correct answers so do not just pick the first one that sounds right and move on.  There are questions that actually DO have multiple correct answers, an example of this would be an answer like “D: Both A and B are correct”. Tricky, tricky. One last piece of advice I don’t want to leave out is to be sure and budget your time beforehand for all 3 MCQ sections and the SIMS. Write down how much time you have planned for each part on your scratch paper “noteboard” and stick to your schedule! These simple tips, if implemented, will have a positive impact on your exam scores and could easily be the difference between receiving a failing or passing grade. Have any tips, strategies, or clever tactics of your own that helped you score higher on your CPA exams?? Helping other CPA candidates is what this site is all about so please share your thoughts in the comment section below!
48 Comments
  • Tom
    Posted at 13 June, 2015 15:43 PM Reply

    Hey Bryce! I wrote to you at the beginning of the year, thanks for your sound advice! I've been studying with Roger and all is well! In a month's time I'll be sitting for FAR, my first part. I'm not nervous but want to ask you what you think of my studying routine and see if you have any advice for me! I've gone through all the video lectures and have done MCQs for each chapter several times. Now, until I have the exam I've just been doing MCQs for groups of chapters and individual quizzes for chapters that are difficult. 99% of the time I solve the problems in a notebook and write out the answer explanations. My only worry is that doing this is very time consuming and maybe in an hour to 2 hour time frame a day I'll only get through maybe 20 questions (depending on the difficulty of the sections). Do you think I should do away with the notebook and just go through problems without writing things down to see how it goes? I'm very soon going to start reviewing the Task Based Simulations and have also been considering looking over the textbook again. Any advice or words of wisdom you have is welcome!! Thanks!! -Tom

    • BWelk
      Posted at 1 July, 2015 21:55 PM Reply

      Hi Tom,I would suggest that you only write the questions that you get incorrect on the practice exams in your notebook. This will allow you to move through the material much quicker but also force you to re-evaluate and research your errors.Sounds like a solid study plan, good luck!Bryce

    • Paige
      Posted at 24 February, 2015 15:01 PM Reply

      I just got my first exam score this morning (FAR). I made a 67 and I don't really know what that means. Is it possible to come up to a 75 from there? I mean, is 8 points here a Gulf or a step? Someone told me it's like the difference in a 19 and a 27 on the ACT. Is a 67 a horrible score?

      • BWelk
        Posted at 4 March, 2015 02:31 AM Reply

        You are so close Paige! Stick with it, an 8 point difference on the exam can be made up with around 20 extra hours of studying this time. Create a study schedule and stick to it, you'll be fine.Cheers,Bryce

      • Ramesh
        Posted at 7 February, 2015 13:40 PM Reply

        i failed Audit with 74 2 times. Giving it third time now. i know the material top to bottom. dont know what to do.

        • Marisa
          Posted at 11 December, 2014 16:52 PM Reply

          How many MQ's should I be doing a day for FAR? Should I schedule my test in advance or till I feel comfortable with the material?Thanks!

          • BWelk
            Posted at 19 December, 2014 00:37 AM Reply

            There shouldn't be a set quantity of MCQ you should be doing everyday, rather you should plan to study for 2 hours a day in order to be ready for your exam.Definitely schedule your test in advance, that way it takes away the option to procrastinate and keep putting it off and also gives you a firm deadline of when you need to be prepared by.Cheers,Bryce

          • Joshua
            Posted at 24 September, 2014 00:10 AM Reply

            hi BryceI am planning to take the BEC section in two weeks. I am concerned about the simulations. There is so much information to know in such a small section. Any tips?

            • BWelk
              Posted at 24 September, 2014 08:02 AM Reply

              The best way to prepare for the simulations is to do a ton of practice multiple choice questions. Don't be deceived, BEC might only be a 3 hour test instead of 4, but it is not small by any means. There is a lot of material to cover but again, putting in the hours studying, particularly drilling MCQ's, will help prepare you for it.

              • disqus_RUmOdcaTR2
                Posted at 30 January, 2015 12:20 PM Reply

                Hi bryce is it possible to just repeatedly doing the mcqs enough to pass the cpa parts of the exam

                • BWelk
                  Posted at 1 February, 2015 06:12 AM Reply

                  You need to read the material first so you can learn what you are being tested on. After that then doing a ton of MCQ's would be really beneficial but not before.

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