Remember when your parents used to tell you that two heads are better than one? Well, of course, they were right. I mean, our parents are usually right about most things anyway (we just don’t always like to give them credit for it!).
Studying for the CPA Exam is a tough experience and is only comprehensible for someone who is going through the same thing. So, why not make a friend or two in the process? After all, you know what they say—misery loves company! Here are the top 5 reasons why joining or creating a study group for the CPA Exam can help you emotionally, mentally, and even physically as you prep for the next section(s).
As pointed out in our previous blog, one of the reasons why people fail the CPA Exam is due to a lack of motivation to study. Joining a study group can help you avoid this pitfall by giving you a sense of community and a network you can be a part of that offers tremendous amounts of support and motivation to inspire strength and effort.
Because everyone is in the same boat experiencing the same types of pressure, stress, frustration, and triumphs that come with studying for the CPA Exam, they can validate your feelings and concerns as well as offer you valuable advice to get through tough situations that they’ve already faced or are currently facing. When you’re part of a community that is relatable and understands you, your approach to the study material and everyday routine will suddenly feel more breathable and less of a burden.
It’s important to have a community that you can vent to and overcome challenges with because they’re with you every step of the way. While family and friends are there for you too, your study group offers a different type of support that’s needed outside of your loved ones.
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Many different minds offer many different ways of thinking. Having these different types of perspectives is one of the most beneficial features of a study group because it allows you to approach the material through an array of lenses, especially if it’s a concept or problem you’re having difficulty understanding or solving.
Study groups encourage cooperation, creativity, fresh ideas, and communication. All of these traits aren’t just great for teamwork, but also for the real world. Your study group will hopefully consist of CPA candidates from different cultures, work backgrounds, and lifestyles which can help you better retain and explore concepts in a way you never thought of before. These types of perspectives are equally crucial as they are refreshing to everyone involved.
When your study group meets regularly and establishes the content that is going to be covered, you’ll find a natural inclination to be more disciplined and on track with your study plan. Study groups build good study habits by ensuring that you’re doing your reading and practice so that you can actively participate in the next session. It may also force you to note of the concepts or questions that seem a bit fuzzy and tackle them head on instead of leaving them on the sidelines for later.
When you’re on a particular schedule with your study group, you don’t want to fall behind or play catch up. This can encourage you to really stay organized and on top of your personal, professional, and academic life to ensure that you’ve carved out enough time to do everything you need to accomplish for the day in order to stay on schedule.
Nothing feels better than having your thoughts, feelings, and opinions validated. Sometimes when you’re studying by yourself, you can begin to ask daunting questions like “Am I the only one who doesn’t get this?” or “Wow, why are the practice questions so much more different than the lecture on the topic?!” Joining a study group will give you confidence that no, you’re not the only person who doesn’t get it, and yeah—those practice questions really are quite different from the lecture.
No matter what obstacle you’re facing, rest assured you’ll find someone in the same situation and you’ll also find others who will be able to explain it more clearly to you. Or there will be those moments when all of you come to the same conclusion and you’ll realize that you truly are capable of all this CPA stuff and you really do know the material. All of these instances can give you a nice boost of confidence as you continue to study and prepare for your Exam(s). Your study mates can also give you great advice, tips, and tricks for studying that have worked for them and can possibly work for you.
And, above all else, simply put—you learn and retain more! As you have discussions and debates with one another, you’ll break down the material even further, fill in any learning gaps, and have a better understanding of the concepts. To find study groups to join or create one, use social media sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook or online forums.