CPA Exam Preparation Tips

CPA Exam Preparation Tips

  •  Updated:June 17, 2019
  • Bryce Welker, CPA
  • CPA Review Courses
  • Comments (52)

Keep your eye on the prize with these simple but powerful CPA exam study tips. They will help you prepare for the CPA exam much more efficiently as well as increase your focus and motivation.

1. Keep It Fresh

Studying for the CPA exam is like learning a language. Consuming just a little bit each day is crucial to re-enforce what you have already studied as well as develop a solid study routine. Keep it fresh in your brain on a daily basis and you will retain much more information.

2. Screw the Media

Ditch the background music, log off your Facebook and Twitter accounts, and put your cell phone on airplane mode.  Every time your phone vibrates or you get a new email notification the temptation to get sucked into the social media black hole becomes too strong. In fact, just close your internet browser altogether. Did you really sacrifice an hour of sleep so you could catch up on the latest celebrity dating gossip? Absolutely not.

3. Jam Out

Download a CPA review audio course and turn otherwise wasted hours into a high quality study session. Listen on your commute to and from work and suddenly you just came up with an extra 5-10 hours of studying each week!

Don’t drive? You’re not off the hook that easy. Here’s a list of other activities where an audio CPA review course can transform your idle time:

-Doing Laundry

-Working out at the gym

-On your lunch break

-While Jogging

-At the car wash

-Riding the bus, subway, taxi

-Airplane Flight

4. Work Hard, Play Hard

Plan one day a week to not even think about studying for the CPA exam. You deserve a break so make plans to see a movie with a friend, go watch sports with your bros, or have a shopping spree with your BFF.  This “recharging day” will be something you look forward to all week long, especially when things become stressful.

5. Remind Yourself Why

I’m going to extend a challenge to you that will take less than a minute and provide you with an insane amount of motivation. Ready? One rule, you must do this right NOW so grab a piece of paper and a pen. Got it?

No seriously, I’ll wait.

Okay, now write down in as few words as possible why you want to pass the CPA exam.  For me personally it was 2 things: #1 To get a $5,000 bonus and #2, to prove everyone wrong who told me there was no way I could pass all 4 sections in 9 months with a full-time job.

Go post this somewhere in your room where you will see it everyday. Mine was on a white board right next to my door so every time I left I would see in it big bold red letters. This little reminder helped me to stay motivated at times when I felt like giving up and kept me in check by reminding me everyday that there is in fact a light at the end of the tunnel.

Got any useful tricks up your sleeve?!

If you have any tips or tricks of your own that helped you pass the CPA exam we want to know about it! Please share in the comment box below and help others who are going through the same struggles as you.


  • Bettyna Abou Nader
    Posted at 11 December, 2017 04:58 AM Reply

    Hello!I'm studying for my CPA exam with Becker. I'm facing some difficulties while practicing the Simulations part. Any advice?

    • Bryce Welker, CPA
      Posted at 19 December, 2017 18:36 PM Reply

      Hi!In my experience the best way to improve on the Simulations is to do a ton of multiple choice practice questions from a different test bank than the course you are studying with. Wiley's CPA Test Bank is an excellent solution, however it is a bit more pricey than the others. The Gryfin CPA Cram Course is one of the most affordable options and includes practice Simulations as well MCQs. Regardless of which CPA supplemental study materials you decide on they are the quickest way to improve your scores and are definitely worth the investment.Cheers, Bryce

    • Khen
      Posted at 10 September, 2017 09:07 AM Reply

      Hi!I am going to take the CPA exam next month. I feel like I need to review more and study harder. Actually, this is 4th time to take. It is really hard especially to a home based mom like me. CPA exam here in the Philippines is quite different since we have to take all the board subject and pass them right away. After that, that it's!And we also have review schools here. And the problem is when the exam date is approaching near they cram to teach everything and I found myself restless and no time to study all by myself or what I mean is to practice the problem solvings. Ugghhh! Here I go again, I hate to failed again since. It is really hard to review.Yeah! Recordings are great! I also do it in some of your theory subject. I recorded them why I do some stuffs. For me my two things #1 to get the license and practice solely #2 to be free from board exam as if I still have unfinished business.Thank you for the time reading my comment. I hope I can do this and I promise to myself to give my last best shot.

      • Kathryn Dennee
        Posted at 27 June, 2016 20:04 PM Reply

        Thanks for the tips! Do you have any advice for improving one's performance on the MCQ's? Oftentimes I'll have most of the principles down, but I'll get a question wrong due to one detail or a silly mistake.

        • Kulbir
          Posted at 24 June, 2016 18:59 PM Reply

          Hi I am studying for the FAR exam and I am having tough time remember the material. I know it is impossible to remember all the material. Would you be able to help me how I can pass the CPA exam. It is very tough. I read the material and I forget the material that I read in the beginning in the chapter.

          • Carenna Willmont
            Posted at 29 April, 2016 16:24 PM Reply

            Would you say the bottom line to doing well, is doing as many practice questions as possible, while taking the time to understand why the answer is what it is?

            • BWelk
              Posted at 12 May, 2016 22:43 PM Reply


              • Fabiola
                Posted at 9 August, 2016 14:29 PM Reply

                It's Tuesday exam is Thursday at 1pm. I have tomorrow off from work. I'm wondering if I should postpone my exam. I'm using Becker and have gone through 95% of the questions and the sims for chapters 1-9. Chapter 10 is only partially complete. My fear is that I've only done all of the homework questions once, took maybe 4 progress tests. I made my own chapter outlines to refresh my memory about the important parts. I feel pretty comfortable with the concepts but am afraid the questions will trip me up. I'm planning on doing all progress tests when I get home and if I don't do well....then I'll have to postpone it a week or two. I've been cramming and learning the material for the last month and a half. About 5 hours every single day (okay, I took three days off). I feel as though a day and a half is not enough time to review everything I've learned. :( Especially because everyone recommends to run through the questions a lot and often.

                • BWelk
                  Posted at 15 August, 2016 23:04 PM Reply

                  Definitely would recommend to not put it off, give it your best shot you've come so far and can always re-take it!

            Post A Comment

            Crush Logo

            Get My 4 Resources I Used to Pass the CPA Exam on My 1st Try!

            *We promise never to sell your information or send you spam