In our last blog, we shared Pt. 1 of Ashley Quon’s CPA Exam Success Story. In Pt. 2 of her journey, Ashley shares some valuable advice she believes every CPA Exam candidate can benefit from. Here is her story continued:
My best studying tips for those who are still taking the exam would be to practice as many MCQs as possible.
This was the advice I received from colleagues, and I will continue passing it down forever and ever. Working through the MCQs is itself the prime time to learn the most, while watching lectures and reading the textbooks help build the foundation of your core understanding. Candidates should also learn to develop good muscle memory and test taking skills. Practicing MCQ quizzes of about 30 questions helped me get in the mindset of taking the first few testlets. I also used the exam simulators at least twice for all four parts, since this also helped replicate the exam. In other words, any techniques to help you recreate the exam can only benefit you. For me, the trickiest thing about MCQs was figuring out what the question was asking (before the minute was up). The best solution for that seemed to be to read the last sentence first and identify the topic. From there, it was easier for me to determine what needed to be done to arrive at the answer: use my own logic, pick up a fact from memory, or calculate? This process broke down to two elements: learning how to answer the question and learning why that is the answer. So, like Roger, I recommend spending time reading the explanations in the answer key after picking your answer.
In using Roger’s review course, it is helpful to take brief notes while watching the lectures.
Roger will often mention a few tips or give realistic (and plenty of funny) examples to explain a concept, which sometimes do not show up in the textbook but help you remember or understand. And, if you are a visual learner, you will love the charts and diagrams in the Roger textbooks like I did. I recommend copying them in your notes or if you aren’t much of a note taker, you should study them. They do a fantastic job in summarizing and simplifying topics that can seem overwhelming. Using the timer feature for MCQs during your second round of practicing all questions, if not the first, will absolutely help, too. I took my time answering the MCQs for the first round to make sure I solidified my understanding, but made sure to use the timer for all subsequent rounds, since proper pacing makes a huge difference on exam day.
Another tip I have is to consider buying the cram course and the audio course, depending on your needs for each part.
The audio course complements the cram course for all parts, since it is the audio component of the cram lecture. I personally recommend buying the audio course for REG, since I have done this myself and found it extremely effective in reminding me of the tax thresholds and basic ideas behind the business law topics. Regardless of where you listen to it, you are guaranteed to pick up a mnemonic or quick fact that can make a difference in passing or failing. The cram lectures and textbooks are very condensed and perfect for reinforcing information that may slip your memory during the remaining week before exam day. It is also a perfect score boost if you were not able to pass a part the first time.
To wrap this discussion up, I have a few reminders for all of you who are still studying:
Maintain a positive attitude throughout the process, find a way to make the learning as enjoyable as possible, know your limitations, reward yourself often, spend some time with the people and animals who love and comfort you most, and lastly, believe in yourself and get comfortable with being uncomfortable with the material. Soon enough, your confidence will rise and the more comfortable you are with a topic, the faster you can move on with other topics and progress through the whole exam. As Tom Hanks said, “it’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it.” So you must certainly be special, remember that!
It is incredibly rewarding to be done.
I am excited for the opportunities I will encounter ahead in my career, and Roger will always be my top CPA review recommendation to future candidates. Thank you to Roger and the whole team at Roger CPA Review! Good luck to all candidates and thank you for reading about my CPA Exam success story. I know you all will have your own to share soon!