CPA Hot Topics 03/19/10 – March Madness

Garrett Gleim sends CPA candidates bimonthly emails concerning different aspects of the CPA exam. Candidates can see the most recent email and all the archives here on the CPA Candidate Forum.

It is March, which means two things: a month of preparation before the next CPA testing window begins and the NCAA’s March Madness. I am sure that many of you have already filled out your brackets. It’s always exciting to guess which teams can pull off an upset. While watching all of the basketball over the next three weeks can be a lot of fun, don’t let it interfere with your studying. You must always maintain your study schedule. Of course, watching a game as a break on a Saturday afternoon can be rewarding if you have been able to stay on your schedule.

There are some similarities to how a basketball team approaches the NCAA tournament and how you should approach the CPA exam. Early in the season and through January, coaches were teaching their players new set plays, schemes, and defenses. However, at this point in the basketball season, coaches are no longer adding new plays or schemes, but rather refining certain aspects of a team’s playing ability and letting their players relax, so they can perform at an optimal level.

Comparatively, if you are taking a section in April or May, you should still be learning and pushing through our study units right now. As your exam date approaches, be less concerned about learning new material and more concerned with refining your understanding and ensuring that you will excel. Also, I never recommend studying the day before an exam to avoid unnecessary test anxiety. Relax and you will perform at an optimal level.

The last Hot Topics email generated some questions on which section one should take after getting BEC behind them. I would suggest either Financial or Auditing because both sections will begin testing international standards (IFRS and ISAs) in 2011. In addition to the international aspect, Auditing will also begin testing candidates’ ethics knowledge in 2011. Therefore, in terms of priority, after BEC, you want to be sure to take and pass both AUD and FAR this year too.

For all the NCAA basketball fans out there, good luck to your team!

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