How to Get the Most Out of Your CPA Exam Review

The CPA Exam Review is a challenge. Trust me, I know. I’m working through the course right now and I understand the dedication it takes and the frustration it can sometimes bring.

But not to worry—if I can do it, you can do it. You just need to figure out what works best for you and develop your own system. Here are some tips and observations on how to get the most out of your Becker CPA review:

  • When taking a live format, I watch an entire lecture in class while making sure that I understand the concepts by taking notes and asking questions. When I get home, I like to look over my notes and then tackle the multiple-choice questions.
  • When doing the self-study program, I like to break the content into chucks that are easy to manage. For example, each lecture is broken into subtopics that average about 30 minutes. I’ll watch the video lecture for each subtopic, and then immediately work the homework questions for reinforcement. I will repeat this process until I complete all of the topics for each lecture.
  • Realize you’re not going to get all of the homework correct on the first pass. The first time I do it, I usually get less than 50% right. This is normal. Simply go back and rework all the questions you missed to reinforce your knowledge gaps. Continue reworking the questions until you have answered each question correctly at least once.
  • When I get a question wrong, I read the answer explanation for both the correct and incorrect answers. It’s a good way to not only gain a deeper understanding of concepts, but also see the nuances in the question format.
  • The homework questions have links to the textbook and video lecture of the particular subject you’re studying. Use them. If you’re having trouble with a concept, you can learn something you may have missed or don’t fully understand.
  • Sometimes I feel that I am becoming too familiar with the questions and answers. When this starts to happen, I resist the urge to simply select the correct answer. Instead, I force myself to fully read the question and work the problem to arrive at the answer (if I have the time, I will even recite why the other answer options are incorrect).
  • Once you work the multiple-choice homework, then tackle the simulations (word problems). The format is slightly different than the multiple-choice, but just work them until you get them right.
  • I like to keep flashcards handy. You can make your own or purchase them from Becker. Review them throughout your studies wherever and whenever you can—a few minutes at night, a handful every day, on your lunch break. In addition, I like to separate mine into stacks—one for cards that I have mastered, and one for cards that I need more time with.
  • Some topics are especially difficult for me. When this happens, I do everything I can to understand the topic, but I try not to throw my studies off track. It’s best to stick to your study plan.
  • After every lecture, a progress test is available. Use them. It’s a great way to review and keep the knowledge fresh in your mind.
  • I like to keep a spiral-bound notebook for notes. If I see something in the homework that is not in the lecture, I’ll write it down, and include it as part of my review. Often I find that the lecture gives you the basic rules, but the homework has a lot of subtleties that I like to keep track of.
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