Posted on 19th Feb 2012 @ 12:25 PM
Contributed by Wiley CPA Review
Your primary objective in preparing for the CPA exam is to pass. Other objectives such as learning new and reviewing old material should be considered secondary. The six attributes of examination success discussed in this article are essential. You should study the attributes and work toward achieving/developing each of them before taking the examination.
1. Knowledge of Material
There is a distinct difference between being familiar with material and knowing the material. Frequently candidates confuse familiarity with knowledge. Can you remember when you just could not answer an exam question or did poorly on an exam, but maintained to yourself or your instructor that you knew the material? You probably were only familiar with the material. On the CPA exam, familiarity is insufficient; you must know the material. Remember, the exam will test your ability to analyze data, make judgments, communicate, perform research, and demonstrate understanding of the material. For example you may be familiar with the concepts in accounting for leases (SFAS 13), but can you compute the present value of an annuity due under a lease agreement and record entries for the lessee and lessor? Once again, a major concern must be to know the material rather than just being familiar with it. Knowledgeable discussion of the material is required on the CPA exam.
2. Commitment to Exam Preparation
Your preparation for the CPA exam should begin at least two months prior to the date you plan to schedule your seating for an exam section. If you plan to take more than one section, you should start earlier. Over the course of your preparation, you will experience many peaks and valleys. There will be days when you feel completely prepared and there will also be days when you feel totally overwhelmed. This is not unusual and, in fact, should be expected.
The CPA exam is a very difficult and challenging exam. How many times in your college career did you study months for an exam? Probably not too many. Therefore, candidates need to remain focused on the objective—succeeding on the CPA exam.
Develop a personal study plan so that you are reviewing material daily. Of course, you should schedule an occasional study break to help you relax, but don’t schedule too many breaks. Candidates who dedicate themselves to studying have a much greater chance of going through this process only one time. On the other hand, a lack of focus and piecemeal preparation will only extend the process over a number of exam sittings.
3. Solutions Approach
The solutions approach is a systematic approach to solving the questions and simulations found on the CPA examination. Many candidates know the material fairly well when they sit for the CPA exam, but they do not know how to take the examination. Candidates generally neither work nor answer problems efficiently in terms of time or grades. The solutions approach permits you to avoid drawing “blanks” on CPA exam problems; using the solutions approach coupled with grading insights allows you to pick up a sizable number of points on test material with which you are no familiar. The Wiley CPA exam review textbooks cover the solutions approach thoroughly in chapter 3. CPAreviewmaterials.com will be also publishing an article that describes the solutions approach in detail.
Check back soon for part 2!