How Do You Study?

I am taking the Auditing and Attestation part of the CPA exam next Thursday.  If you had bumped into me at all this summer, I probably had my nose in a Wiley’s 2009 AUD book…and when you I think of summer, this isn’t the type of thing I normally picture.  The things we do for our career!

I feel really unprepared.  If you ever take the CPA exam, avoid Wiley at all costs!  I used Becker materials for the first part of the exam and felt really prepared even though they were out of date.  I definitely plan to go back to Becker for the last two parts of the tests.

I am unbelievably ready to be done with the CPA exam.  I want my life back.  I know it was my decision to take this test and that it’s going to make my career that much better, but anyone who’s ever taken it, knows that it’s like a prison.  You wake up thinking about auditor reports.  You get irritated when people ask you to do things, go places, have fun, because you can’t.  Because you have to study.  You leave work for the day only to go home and….work, study, read, learn.  I have a new found respect for people who work and go to school at the same time.  It’s tough!

I’ve been meaning to write up a blog post about my study habits because I know there are some CPA-ers out there reading.  To those readers, what are your study habits like?  What works for you?

For anyone who is in their Master’s Program, taking another certification exam, or just going to school on the side – how do you study?  I’m interested in knowing everyone’s tips!  Feel free to share them here and I’ll try to write up an inclusive blog post of everyone’s tips.

Until then, 7 days and counting.  Send good vibes!

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  • I don’t think my methods are great (doing a MS part time while working). I usually watch lectures during the week when possible and I end up cramming a lot of crap onto the weekends. Which makes me feel like you — I want my life back!

    Exam time, I buckle down and study every night (at home, at my kitchen table), nothing fancy. I usually take off work early the Friday before my Saturday exam, and spend the afternoon and evening reviewing. Hmmm…

    I like studying with colorful pens, it makes things slightly more cheery. 🙂

  • i passed FAR back in may and i’m taking REG on august 31st. as far as my study habits go…i usually study mon-thurs for at least 2-3 hours (depending on what time i get home from work). i try to take friday off and study 6-8 hours over the weekend.

    week of the exam, i try to stay up an hour later and wake up early to review before work. fun times…

    i use becker review, so i just follow the suggested study plan they provide. except for the practice simulations…i wait to look at those until the week before the exam.

    good luck on AUD!

  • Oy, I’m actually at the other end of this journey, wincing as I read about … STUDYING. Ugh. I want to take the CFP courses and exam but it’s been five years since I had to tackle books for judgment and grades. Blech. I don’t remember being good at studying in college, my excuse was always that I did well enough while working 60 hour weeks, but I can’t fall back on that now. It’s time to learn from everyone else’s study habits, I guess. 🙂

  • It is great that you are being so diligent in your studies. It is hard to say no to fun things and hanging out with your friends because of an exam, especially when the date of the test seems so far away. At Roger CPA Review’s CPA Exam Preparation Blog – I know, that’s a mouthful 🙂 – we often write about study tips and tricks for CPA Exam candidates. It is worth checking out. Here are some old posts that might help:

    We also have a post coming up in September about using college study skills to help you study for the exam.

    I hope this helps! Good luck!

    PS. Your financial goals are both impressive and inspiring. I think I might start tracking my progress somewhere – what a great idea to help you reach your goals.

  • Well, I’m studying for the CFA, so it’s slightly different. (Level I is a 6-hour MC exam over 18 broad financial topic areas!)

    I started studying early since I like to take my time and not stress out. I read a section from my Schweser (Kaplan) study guide, do the end-of-reading-quiz and then do another end-of-reading quiz in the actual texts I get from the CFA Institute. Every few days I do questions from an online question bank through Schweser. So, about 2 hours/day, a bit more on the weekends. (Definitely will be more in the next few months, prior to the December exam!)

    I like a mix of reading / problems. Helps get it in my head! 🙂


    • Holy moly! 6 hours! The longest CPA test is 4.5 hours and I’m scared of it…We need to celebrate when we’re done!! ha ha

  • Last year I took the GRE and I felt like my studying habits could have been better. I was mainly studying after work and on the weekends.

    Right now while I apply to a master’s program I’m taking classes online for a board certification for my job. Each week there are about 5 hours of lecture so I try to watch about an hour a day and do the homework. I like to do it in chunks since it can get a little overwhelming if I sit there for a really long period of time. I’ll also intersperse my reading with my videos. In the lectures there are a lot of questions for me to answer which I have to also turn in, so it really helps get the information in my head. I also keep a notebook and write down questions to ask during our class meeting and/or any important things I may pick up from class.

    We have an exam once every week or every other week, so first I will review all my notes from the lectures, the slides and then take the exam. So far it hasn’t been too difficult since the material is pretty fresh in my head, but I’ll have to see how I do on the final which is cumulative! I have a binder with every section under it’s own divider with all the notes and slides printed out so it’s easy to reference.

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