Practice Like You Play – 05/01/2009

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.

I received quite a bit of feedback from CPA candidates concerning additional suggestions for exam preparation. I think they can all be summarized under the sports phrase, “Practice like you play.” Coaches are always telling athletes to approach practice as if it were a game. I remember in the late 1990s, Roy Williams-he’s the current UNC basketball coach and winner of the 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship-gave a speech in which he talked about how one of his former players was drafted by the Chicago Bulls and that this player was in shock at how hard Michael Jordan practiced, including during preseason workouts. Apparently, Jordan did everything at 100% full speed, which is probably why he’s considered the greatest basketball player ever. How YOU practice CPA questions carries over much the same when it comes to your “game-time” exam performance.

John wrote to me that he feels his success on FAR was a direct result of his approaching the 20-question multiple-choice tests in the Gleim system as if he were taking the actual exam at a Prometric exam center. He’s absolutely correct. We have found that people who take these 20-question quizzes, either in our CPA Test Prep CD-Rom or our CPA Gleim Online, have a much higher pass rate if they simulate exam conditions as opposed to taking them at a coffee shop or in front of the TV where they could easily be distracted. The reason for this is that, when exam time comes, you’re not used to concentrating on answering a large chunk of questions without having some sort of external stimulation (i.e., distraction). This makes you feel uncomfortable, and when you see something that you might not immediately recognize, it begins to weigh on you and can ruffle your feathers during the actual exam. Therefore, if you practice taking 20-question quizzes like you would take the actual CPA exam, you will fare much better.

Katherine wrote that she wished she had used the calculator available in the CPA Gleim Online course instead of using her hand calculator. This is another example of how you need to prepare for the CPA exam as if you are taking it. By using our electronic calculator, you will become accustomed to using an on-screen calculator, and you won’t feel “empty” by not having your hand calculator.

Therefore, you should approach answering every CPA question as if you’re taking the actual exam at Prometric. Remember – practice like you play!

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