We’re just going to cut to the chase here, you want to raise your CPA exam scores and we have 3 things you can do while you prepare for the exam that will help raise your scores on exam day.
- Plan Your studying
Our goal is to raise your score, i.e. earn more points on the exam. One sure-fire way to earn points is to know as much of the material as possible. If you know me, you know I’m not a fan of short-cuts or fads when it comes to studying (See tip #5 in my guide). It’s about getting through the material thoroughly, in a timely manner, and allowing enough time for review.
Make sure you plan out your studying to ensure you have enough time to cover all the material. Schedule in review days throughout your schedule as well as in the week or weeks leading up to your exam. Rushing through material to “get it done” or “check the box” isn’t the way to go, and almost guarantees you’ll be leaving valuable points on the table.
- Manage your time
This goes for the exam day also, but for now, we’re focused on managing your time during your studying. Are you being efficient with the time that you dedicate to studying? Are you distracted by your phone, emails, family members or the TV during your studying? One way to make sure you get the most out of your study sessions is to plan your To Do list the day before. This way, you know exactly what you need to accomplish that day and can hit the ground running.
I also recommend periodically evaluating what you’re spending your time on. Are there things you’re doing because you think you’re “supposed to” that don’t add value to your studying? Are you spending time on topics that don’t need your attention as much as others (see #3)? Are you re-writing notes when what you really need to be doing is spending more time on MCQs or simulations? Eliminate any activity that isn’t helping you to learn or retain and isn’t directly improving your scores.
- Embrace your weaknesses
Many times when I consult with CPA candidates about their study strategies and approaches, I see candidates leaning into the areas where they are strong. Let’s be honest, we all love a green check mark or a gold star. It definitely doesn’t feel as great to see low percentages and red X’s. Notice if you’re gravitating towards the areas where you feel most comfortable (i.e. where you know you can excel and get a quick boost to your confidence).
Don’t get me wrong- we definitely need those boosts in confidence every once in a while, but the reality is that there is very little to be gained by focusing your attention there. Instead, embrace the areas where you struggle. Hate the simulations? Embrace them. Struggle with leases? Learn to love them. Instead of shying away from these areas and hoping they don’t show up on your exam, lean in! Spend the time it takes to develop some competency in these areas and see your scores (and your confidence) rise.
Cheers to 75s!