Quality study time does pay off. Spending all of your spare time studying is not a lifestyle that you want to keep up forever. The good news is there is no need to execute this study schedule forever. Take one exam section at a time. Study hard, sit for a section, and then take a short break. Reward yourself with a minivacation from the rigors of study. Then select another exam section, and go for it again. It won’t take as long to prepare for the Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) section as it will for the Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) section. AUDIT is the longest CPA exam section, and it is very comprehensive. BEC is the shortest, but this section tests a wider range of the subject. Let's see how you can develop a personal study plan for the much awaited exam.
SCHEDULE YOUR ACTIVITIES
In preparing for the CPA exam, you must divide up the overwhelming amount of technical material into bite-size chunks and then prepare a plan that gives you study time to learn the concepts tested. Finding time to study is easier said than done. Begin to find study time by listing how you spend your time each day. Use a chart to write down your daily activities. Plot out your day, listing times beginning early in the morning to late at night. Allow for about seven to eight hours of sleep. You can’t afford to be lazy.
There is no doubt that during your CPA exam preparation, you will have to give up some things that are fun to do. You may have to abandon optional activities to make time to study.
Take note of the times when you can study. During the week, the most obvious study times will be early morning before work, during the lunch hour, and late evenings after work. Establish a plan and stick to it.
FINDING TIME TO STUDY
No one ever said passing the exam was going to be easy, and certainly, no one ever pretended that you could prepare without sacrificing something that you enjoy. Make the commitment to pass; find the time in your schedule to study. In the morning, try listening to recordings of lectures about law, economics, information technology, and audit topics. Most people learn these topics by remembering words rather than formulas. Repetition is key. You also must find some time to sit down and work questions to test your retention and understanding of the material.
Determine when you will study, and make studying a habit.
It takes about three weeks of constantly doing something to make it a habit. If you set your alarm to wake up forty-five minutes earlier to study before you go to work, you could form a morning study habit in a very short time. Five, forty-five-minute morning sessions each week gives you a total of almost four hours of study time a week. Sticking to the plan requires flexibility.
PREPARE A STUDY PLAN BY TOPICS
Examine your review materials. Divide up all materials by exam area, then further divide them into concepts tested within the exam section. The subtopics can be called chapters, modules, or units. Count up the number of modules you should study and review. If you skip a week of study, you must increase your studies during the next week if you want time to take practice exams and have not already included them in your schedule. Make sure to schedule a few extra days.
It is probably unrealistic to assume that there will be no major interruptions. Don’t set yourself up for failure. The plan for success allows for interruptions by periodically finding extra time to catch up. In other words, budget time to catch up by leaving some holes in your personalized study plan. When you reach the catch-up date, if you are already caught up, reward yourself by taking some time out for fun.
APPRECIATE THE PLAN
Don’t ever underestimate the value of planning. The time you spend planning will benefit you later by helping you meet your goal of passing the CPA exam.
Look at your study plan as a road map to the end of the CPA journey. Each topic that you learn, study, and review means you are that much closer to reaching your destination. A detailed study plan lets you see just how much more you have left to accomplish. A plan serves as a reminder that you must study early and often.
The above article should help you develop a personal study plan for the CPA Exam. Hope this helps. If you have any queries, feel free to comment in the section below. Happy Learning!
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