Secret CPA Study Tips

We all know the CPA Exam is difficult, and that the 2017 CPA Exam changes will make the test even more difficult. That’s why I’ve decided to break the silence and share a few of my secret study tips! They’re a culmination of my experience as a CPA, my time as an instructor and conversations I’ve had with students and professors over the years.

Be sure to bookmark this page as I’ll be continually adding to this list so you have a comprehensive, go-to “cheat sheet.”

  1. Don’t Panic about the DRS: With so much attention on the forthcoming changes to the CPA Exam, it’s easy to place too much emphasis on the Document Review Simulations (DRS).  Bear in mind that the DRS is only one of a number of methods the AICPA can use to assess your knowledge during the simulation portion of the exams.  So, if you take the exam after July 1, you might see a DRS or two on your exam, but you might not.  And, of course, you won’t see any on the BEC section of the exam until potentially April 2017.  Don’t spend too much time focused on the DRS as you study.
  2. Don’t Ignore the DRS Either: Some students are assuming that since these are a new style of question, they can’t be graded as part of your final score. Although there is typically a gap between new content being issued and becoming testable, this may not be the case with the DRS.  The AICPA is still testing the same content, just in a new way.
  3.  Organization is the Key: A DRS requires attention to detail.  It’s important to read the question first to see specifically what items they want you to consider as well as the overall context of the question.  You may want to use your scratch “paper” to make notes as to the specific items you want to keep an eye out for or key terms you want to find when you start to review the exhibits.  Or, you may want to use the split screen functionality.  In this way, you can leave the question visible on one side of the screen while reviewing the exhibits on the other.
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CPA, CMA, CGMA, CPA Operations Director at Becker