CPA Exam Studying: Slow Down!

One of the things I have struggled with while studying for the exam is reading and comprehending multiple choice questions.  The problem I continually face is that I read questions too quickly and I think I know what they are asking only to get the problem wrong.  When I read over the explanation I realize that I missed a key word or really didn’t understand the question entirely before I answered it.  I then get frustrated and start questioning my confidence before going into the exam. 

This is a constant struggle I face and I know other CPA exam students face as well. I’ve noticed in the past few weeks as I prepare to take REG at the end of February, this is becoming an issue again.  I’m trying to complete as many multiple questions as possible before my exam and to do that I must work quickly and efficiently but also ensure I’m allowing a proper amount of time to allow myself to do this. 

Here are some of my tips I use to combat this:

1.  As silly as this sounds, I allot time to each question (typically 60 – 90 seconds) and make myself use that time before answering the question.  This way I am able to usually read the question at least two times.  By doing this, I feel like I’m training myself to get in the habit of slowing down during the actual exam.

2.  I continually tell myself it’s quality over quantity. While it is important to answer all of the multiple choice questions at least two times, you must keep in mind you are not in a race with yourself to do this. It’s more important to get the question right than miss it because you are in a hurry to get a section completed. 

3.  I use the Wiley homework book to answer the MCQs and as I’m reading the question, I use my pen almost to point to every word in the question.  It’s almost a way to remind myself to read every single word – don’t assume I know what the question is asking based on the way the first part of the question reads.  I also underline key words or phrases.  Even though I can’t underline the computer monitor during the actual exam, I do use the Prometric pencils to follow along and point to words in a question. 

4.  One of Roger’s tips that I find especially helpful is to read the last sentence first in questions in which there are a lot of numbers and calculations.  This helps as you pick out what numbers/balances etc. are going to be necessary for solving the problem versus what additional information is not needed. These are simple tips but I wanted to pass on to all of you because I find them especially helpful.Angela

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