Abacus CPAs, LLC takes pride in our lifetime learners who have achieved the feat of passing the CPA exam. Taking tax and accounting to the next level, being a CPA gives you an extra level of distinction. However, those CPA letters behind one’s name do not come easily. For students in many disciplines, graduation is the reward after many years of hard work, frequent late nights, and countless gallons of coffee. For accountants, however, getting to graduation is the easy part. Post-graduation a whole new set of challenges appears, but the hard work, late nights, and especially the coffee, will continue.

Assuming all education requirements are met (See here for more information) the next step a recent graduate takes will likely be attempting the CPA exam. This is not as easy as it sounds: the exam requires the approval of the State Board of Accountancy, along with payment of testing fees. Many payments (at least four) totaling hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars. But even that isn’t the most difficult or stressful part. The real stress comes from studying.

Choosing CPA study materials is a matter of discussion at all public accounting firms. Some will advocate the most expensive option due to the high pass rate. Others will advocate a less expensive option because the subscription doesn’t run out until the subscriber passes the exam. In reality, study materials are only as good as the students using them. A student who spends 250 hours studying the least costly materials will do as well as (or better than) the students who only spend 30 hours studying the most costly materials.

The studying itself only works if there is a consistent schedule, cramming won’t work with this much data to absorb, and once a study plan is disrupted, it is very difficult to re-start a study regimen. Most, if not all, of the CPA study material providers have some sort of scheduling assistant to help keep the workload consistent but also allows time for the student not to get burnt out. Above all else, the important thing to remember about studying is that you’re not looking to absorb all of the information presented to you; you’re looking to get a score of 75.  If you remember that and stick to a schedule, the test anxiety should be kept to a minimum, and the exam will go from being a daunting mountain to being a reasonable hill to climb.

-David Troyer