5 CPA Exam Study Hacks to Improve Your Results

The CPA exam is among the most difficult professional exams in the world. And if you want to pass each of the sections within the allotted time frame, you have to get serious about studying.


5 Study Hacks to Help You Pass

You don’t pass the CPA exam by accident. It’s something that requires weeks and months of disciplined preparation and strategic vision-casting. And while there’s nothing simple about the process, the following study hacks will increase your chances for success.



  • Mentally Prepare


You might think it sounds a bit hokey, but a huge part of passing the CPA exam involves mindset. If you aren’t mentally prepared to take this exam, it’ll chew you up and spit you out. Procrastination, lack of focus, and misaligned priorities will hinder your progress.

Focus looks like developing an intentional plan that guides you through the entire study process from start to finish. Be as strategic as you can – setting weekly goals for progress. Likewise, be mindful of distractions and eliminate anything that doesn’t align with your goal of passing the exam.



  • Choose the Right Review Course


The right CPA review course can make all the difference. This is the foundation of your study system and will give you the tools and knowledge you need to approach the exam with confidence.

There are plenty of options to choose from, but Wiley CPA is considered a leader. They’ve helped nearly one million candidates pass their CPA certification! The best part about the Wiley program is their proprietary FocusMe™ technology, which actually adapts to the student’s aptitude level and molds questions to each individual’s needs.



  • Use Flashcards


Even with all of the fancy technology that’s available today, nothing beats the classic flashcard. If you want to immerse yourself in the CPA review content, you should set aside a minimum of 15 minutes daily for flashcard review.

The beauty of flashcards is found in their convenience. Not only can you use them anywhere, but you can easily organize them into piles, based on which content you know and which concepts you’re still struggling with.

We’d recommend using flashcards first thing in the morning, once in the middle of the day, and once immediately prior to bedtime. This daily habit will keep your mind fresh and engaged with the content.



  • Ace the Morning-Of


Don’t underestimate the importance of the morning of the exam. You should have a very specific plan for how you’ll handle the hours between when you wake and when you finally sit for the exam. 


Your routine will depend on your own personal preferences. You don’t want to deviate too much from your daily routine, but there are certain factors you’d be wise to implement. For example, wake up early enough that you don’t feel rushed. And a fresh, healthy breakfast is a must.



  • Try These Test-Taking Tricks


There’s no substitute for understanding the content. However, you can improve your score by understanding a few simple test-taking strategies. For example:


  • Try to eliminate at least one possible option when you don’t know the answer. If you can eliminate two possible answers, you automatically have a 50-50 chance of answering correctly. 
  • Never leave an answer blank. Even if you’re uncertain, you give yourself a 25 percent chance of getting it correct.
  • Read through each of the four answers prior to makixng your selection.
  • Read questions very carefully and pay attention to small words like “and,” “not,” and “or.” These little words can change the entire meaning of a question. 


The CPA exam isn’t designed to trick you. It is difficult, though. By using these test-taking techniques, you give yourself the best chance to answer each question correctly.


Put in the Hard Work

If you’re looking for shortcuts to pass the CPA exam, we’d recommend recalibrating your approach. This isn’t an exam that you get lucky on – it requires careful preparation. But that doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself a leg up. By leveraging the hacks highlighted above, you’ll put yourself in a much better position to pass the first time around.

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