How To Distinguish Between Nerves and “Not Ready”

The Nightmare before CPA Exam Day arrives just like clockwork: It is raining actual cats and dogs. You cant find your shoes. You’re stuck in gridlock traffic. You arrive late to the Prometric Center. You lose your NTS. You find your NTS. You take a seat next to [insert random celebrity here]. You’re mortified to see that you aren’t wearing any clothes. You look at the exam and realize you don’t know ANYTHING!

If your exam day is rapidly approaching and youre stuck at a crossroads, unable to determine if youre just nervous and need to get a grip on your anxiety, or if youre not ready and need to get a grip on your textbook, ask yourself the following questions (and be honest!):

  1. Did I select a review course that held my attention? Unfortunately, learning through osmosis doesn’t really work for the CPA Exam. Even if you watch every single lecture included in your review course, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are learning the information. Never mind making it through your material, but were you alert and engaged during lectures?
  2. Did I create a detailed study plan, composed of lectures, homework and review? Students with a plan are more successful, plain and simple. Its important to create a comprehensive study planner, including lecture information, associated homework, and review time. Be sure to schedule in birthdays, holidays and family vacations.
  3. Did I stick to that plan? Sticking to your plan is even more important than creating your plan. Be smart with your priorities. Go to the BBQ with your friends, but only if you’re able to wake up a couple of hours earlier to make up the studying. You wont regret missing your friends mediocre birthday bash, but you will regret having to retake the four-hour exam because her birthday fell during your section on Conceptual Framework and you never made it up.
  4. Did I leave enough time for review? Its very important to leave a couple weeks before the exam to review key concepts or sections that you’re still unclear on. A cram course is a great tool because it does the extra work for you, zeroing you in on the key concepts and heavily tested areas.

Youve heard it a zillion times and we still stand by it: confidence is half the battle in conquering the CPA Exam. However, the other 50% of the equation is equally as important: Preparation! With an equal combination of both, youll ensure yourself a passing scoreand hopefully a good nights sleep!

Good luck!

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