The CPA Exam is a long and involved test, and preparing for it can suck up a lot of your free time. If you pass each section the first time you sit for it, completing the entire exam can take as long as a year. Not passing a section could add months to the process, and the longer it takes you to pass the remaining sections, the greater the risk of losing credit for passed sections.
Therefore, passing as efficiently as possible is ideal for both your lifestyle and your exam schedule. CPA candidate Claude Nchanji achieved exam success after sitting for each section just once, and this is his advice for how to pass the CPA Exam the first time.
How to Pass the CPA Exam the First Time
- Motivate yourself to pass the exam
If you’re not driven to pass the CPA Exam, passing at all will be a struggle. To boost your motivation, reach inside yourself and remember why it’s your dream to earn the CPA certification. If you need a reminder as to why this certification really is worth it, review the benefits of becoming a CPA. A better salary and higher job-satisfaction are some of the most common reasons accountants become certified. Claude found the incentive he needed to pass early when one of his accounting professors said that the CPA is essential for a successful career in accounting. “When I was still in college, one of my professors told me that having a degree in accounting without taking and passing the CPA Exam is like having a law degree without passing the bar exam. From that day on, I set it as an objective to take and pass the CPA exams after completing my master’s degree in accounting.”
- Choose the best CPA review course for you
To give yourself the best chance at passing the CPA Exam the first time, you should prepare with a CPA review course. If you have been out of school for a while, you’ll need to relearn the concepts you don’t have to apply in your everyday work. If you are in school, you will still benefit from a review course tailored to the CPA Exam blueprints. The subject matter of many university accounting courses overlaps with the blueprints in places, but every class is different. Exam prep that aligns completely with the CPA Exam blueprints will help you determine and strengthen your weak areas. Truly adaptive CPA review takes it one step further by not only targeting your weak areas but also continuously adjusting to your learning needs to ensure mastery of each topic.Claude did his homework to discover the right CPA Exam review for him. “In my last year of my master’s degree, I was researching what prep course to use for my studies for the CPA Exam. One of my professors mentioned Gleim. I used some of their materials while still in school and was sold. The material was organized in a concise way, and they had many questions to practice with.”
- Develop and follow an effective study schedule
You’ll know you’re on track to passing the CPA Exam the first time when you create a CPA Exam study schedule and stick with it. A good study schedule works for you from the beginning of your review to the end and holds you accountable for your progress throughout. If you adhere closely to your study schedule, you’ll be able to work through all of the exam content before you sit, which is crucial to building the confidence you need to pass. You’ll also be able to make your testing appointments in time to secure your preferred exam dates. When you use a CPA review course that contains an interactive study planner, you can enjoy a simplified agenda and receive notifications that help you keep moving forward. When you use a course that also features adaptive technology, you can take the guesswork out of each study session.
With a realistic study schedule, you can even conquer the problem of time management like Claude did. “The major challenge I faced was time management. Due to professional and personal commitments, I found it difficult to strictly follow the study calendar which I made for each section of the CPA Exam. Sometimes, I would be too tired from work and would just want to rest. Other times, things would happen in my life to divert my attention from my studies. I was able to overcome this by being honest with myself and marking times and days that I could not study. I set aside time to spend with my family and friends and time to rest after work. Self-discipline helped me achieve my goals.”
- Utilize the study materials that meet your learning needs
A course that offers an assortment of CPA self-study materials allows you to study effectively and pass efficiently. If you’re struggling to grasp a topic after reading the outlines in the book, you can move on to the CPA lectures for a more detailed explanation. If you’re on the go but have a study unit deadline to meet, you can listen to the audio reviews while traveling so you don’t fall behind. If you’re determined to learn the material rather than memorize the answers to the sample CPA test questions in your course, you can practice with the largest test bank on the market so you get a sufficient array. Expertly-authored, extremely thorough content presented in a variety of ways affords the study flexibility that lets you maximize your time and minimize the hassle.
Claude took advantage of almost every component of Gleim CPA Review, but he had a few favorites. “First, the mock exam was my best feature. This replicates the test experience, and I found it tremendously helpful in gauging my overall level of preparedness for the exam. I completed all the practice exams in the allotted time and followed all instructions. This adequately prepared me for the exam. “Also, I found it difficult remembering some minute details for certain sections. I made little flashcards, and Gleim’s Core Concepts section helped tremendously. The Core Concepts summarized what to focus on and know for each study unit and gave me an overview of the entire study unit. Furthermore, the video lectures were useful to me because they explained how to tackle certain questions. Gleim has many questions to help you practice, and this is another good thing about it. “Another great feature was the fact that updates to study materials are automatically uploaded to your account, and you are notified. The option that I purchased gave me access until I pass. I think that is simply amazing.
“Overall, the whole Gleim program was my favorite, and it seems difficult to name specifics because the whole program was wonderful.”
- Sit for each exam section while relying on your review course to prepare you completely
Once you begin working through your review course, you should follow your study plan and complete it so you can see how well it will prepare you for the exam. The adaptive platform of Gleim CPA Review guides you through every step of your studies and even leads you through our Final Review to ensure that you’re totally ready. In comparison, a non-adaptive course will make you figure out each step of the process on your own, and it’s left up to you to decide whether you’ve achieved mastery of the subject matter at a level sufficient to pass. If you’ve gone through every study unit of your CPA course and don’t yet feel prepared for your exam section (or worse, if you take the section and don’t pass it), you should reconsider your review course options.
Claude was able to pass the CPA Exam the first time because Gleim CPA Review prepares you better than any other course. “I was adequately and fully prepared for the CPA Exam. I knew what to expect because I had studied using the Gleim prep course. Of course, there will always be a few surprises in an exam, but I gave myself tremendous chances for success by using Gleim to prepare.”
- Pass the CPA Exam the first time and let others know how you did it
Once you’ve prepared to the best of your ability with the review course that suits your learning style, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to pass every CPA Exam section the first time you sit for it. You’ll be able to knock each section out in no time (though we recommend you take advantage of the full time allotted)! You can then focus on any CPA requirements you do not yet meet.
You can also help your fellow CPA candidates out by sharing your secret to success. After Claude officially conquered the CPA Exam, he provided his CPA review recommendation. “Candidates for the CPA will give themselves huge chances for success by using Gleim, especially with the new version of the exam. Gleim keeps candidates up to date with information and how it will affect your test-taking strategies. In my opinion, Gleim has the highest number of multiple questions among all test prep providers, and these enable you to practice with all sorts of questions. As we all know, practice is the surest way to increase your chances of passing the exam. After I passed the exams on a single attempt, my co-worker who was using some other leading test prep provider switched to Gleim and was amazed. I recommend Gleim to all CPA Exam candidates.”
CPA Review for Passing the CPA Exam the First Time
The amount of time it takes to study and sit for the exam contributes to CPA Exam difficulty, but time doesn’t have to be an issue for you when you follow the above steps and use Gleim CPA Review. Gleim CPA Review equips you to pass the CPA Exam the first time with our powerful, proprietary SmartAdaptTM technology that generates a study plan tailored to you. But you don’t have to take our word for it – just listen to Claude and see for yourself by accessing our free CPA course demo today.