CPA-FAR Section: Remember that everyone has different learning capabilities based on their retention capacity, their best time of day to study, past education, working experience. Keep note of all of these when you plan your studies.

 Below worked for me :

 Initial Reviews

1.   Make sure that you go exactly as per the chapter flow of Becker & learning flow as well. Lecture (without pre reading), Skill practice animated video with exercise, followed by MCQs. Put small one liner notes where your MCQs go wrong.

2.  Try to make them generic and create one-liner notes telling you concepts rather than answering those MCQs. E.g. NCI gets only fair value share in partial goodwill method rather than saying NCI will be 30% of $2m. This is needed as you will not have time to look at the entire question during last week. All you need is a hint to get the right answer for a similar question in case it comes in the exams.

3.   First review can be done in 5 weeks without SIMS. Got this tip from another student. It helped save my time as I had 2.5 months before my planned date of exam. (If you have time you may do SIMs, I did the same in my 2nd review)

4.   Do a revision after every 2-3 chapters. (1-2-3, 4-5-6, 7-8, 9-10 my groups). Also do practice test -Adaptive ones with 30-40 MCQs. Keep re-doing the wrong ones. Keep notes of repeated wrong ones here as it will tell you which wrong concepts are stuck in your subconscious mind & need removal with more efforts. Remember note 2 above when you write one-liner notes for yourself for wrong practice test MCQs.

5.  Second review took me 3 weeks with SIMS. Here I followed this path given below

  • A.  Read outline of chapter to know what lies in the chapter
  • B.  Go through flashcards to be aware of each concept
  • C.  See the Skill practice video. It will have a good animated revision of any important concept of the chapter. It would also be a good break from reading too.
  • D. I did pre-annotated chapter reading , specially looking at Illustrations, Examples & passkeys
  • E.  Now came in my SIMs.
  • F.  This is the time when I started taking more notes as I knew which things needed to be noted.
  • G. Notes may be made with snapshots, hand written, soft copy in word/pages as you find the right to refer to during your stressful last 7 days before exams.
  • 6.  Third revision took me 2 weeks with at least 40 practice questions per chapter. Here I read the chapter without annotation & my notes made in 2nd review.
  • 7.   This was followed by staggered mocks (ensure to do all 3) and revision of weak areas, more practice tests with 30-40 MCQs + 4-6 SIMS done chapter wise or group of chapter wise as time permits.

During exams

1.  Plan your exam timing of 5 testlets 40 40 40 60 60 min each to begin with. It is fully possible you may overshoot the time as you move ahead. Try not to overshoot beyond a reasonable time. Ensure to revisit your left-over time after every testlet & re-divide it among the balance testlets. This helped me make most of my 4 hours.

2.  Practice MCQs / SIM preferable with your own excel as this will help during exams. You can always go back & change info quickly to update your answer. Excel is automatically saved testlet wise in exams.

3.  Remember to flag MCQs which may need a relook. Don’t give much time for a second look, if you are unsure even in a second look, quickly move ahead.

4.  In exam expect at least 9-10 exhibits in all SIM. When you get 7, you will certainly be happy. It is important to note that some exhibits can just have a bite size of info. They just scare you. Go step by step, methodically.

5.  Ensure to use the highlight function in SIMs. This will help not missing out any important fact. Practice that in Becker too.

6.  It is important to get proper sleep the previous day. Keep cool, know your concepts well as no question will be verbatim from any review course. You need to know each chapter & each subtopic thoroughly to confidently sit through the exam and come out with a superb score in your first attempt.

7.  Don’t miss the AICPA newly released questions before exams.

Purvi Parikh


Simandhar Education is India’s No.1 training provider for US CPA, US CMA, Enrolled Agent IFRS and HRCI professional courses.

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