With average CPA Exam pass rates staying around 50%, the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) test is one of the most challenging professional designation exams. Therefore, applicants should study efficiently to ensure they can pass each section of the test and attain their CPA licenses as quickly as possible. Most test-takers turn to a CPA test prep course to help them study. Choosing the best system can mean the difference between failing and passing the exam. Here is everything you need to know about CPA test prep courses, including which materials are typically included.
What Is the CPA Exam?
The CPA examination is developed and administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The AICPA works in tandem with state accountancy boards to set requirements and regulate examinations. This test is created to test the skills and knowledge of those wishing to practice public accountancy.
The test is one of the requirements required to receive a CPA license in the U.S. Passing the test is a regulation to become licensed in all 55 U.S. jurisdictions. There are additional education and experience requirements as well. Most require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, while others require another exam in ethics. Many jurisdictions also have a minimum age requirement.
The CPA exam is a computer-based test that applicants complete in four sections. Test takers have four hours to complete each section of the test. Sections can be taken in any order. Applicants must pass these four sections in 18 months or less:
- Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
- Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
- Regulations (REG)
There are various question formats on the exam, including multiple-choice questions, simulations, and essay questions. Most applicants use a test prep course to study. Here are materials commonly included with systems:
CFA Exam Blueprints
The AICPA publishes CPA exam blueprints to help applicants study for the test. This is a valuable resource, and most prep courses come with this information. Some prep courses feature this information in an online format, while others use printed materials such as flashcards. The blueprints are published a few times a year and detail the knowledge and skills you need to pass the exam. The blueprints contain the following information for each CPA exam section:
- Material grouped by topic, group, and area
- Sample test questions
- Skill levels at which questions are asked
- Reference materials for further studying
- Task-based question simulations
All CPA exam applicants should study the most recent blueprint extensively. These blueprints provide a comprehensive overview of the material so you can prioritize your study time.
1. Practice Test Questions
Most CPA test prep courses come with many practice test questions. Since practice tests simulate the official CPA examination, many experts recommend completing several full practice exams. Spacing out these practice tests over several weeks can help you improve your retention. Further, practice tests are essential because they can help candidates reduce exam-related anxiety. As many as 50% of candidates report some level of stress before the exam, which can negatively impact performance. Participating in several mock test sessions can help ensure candidates get out those jitters before the actual exam.
2. Instructor Lectures
Many test prep courses come with online lectures from industry experts. These lectures cover relevant CPA topics and help break down challenging concepts. People who are auditory learners retain information much better when listening to information. Auditory learners prefer listening to a lecture rather than reading a textbook or an online article. Some people find it helpful to listen to lectures when they commute to work or while they exercise. Listening to a lecture while doing another activity can help you subconsciously retain information.
3. Exam Tips
Most CPA test prep courses come with helpful tips and tricks to help you master the test. Some systems may provide hints for eliminating answers in multiple-choice questions, while others offer tips on memorizing formulas. Other prep courses help you break down test questions and identify clues. Study these tips and apply the suggestions to your practice tests. Other prep courses contain grammar tips to help you ace the essay questions. Even though accountancy focuses more on mathematics than English, applicants are still expected to be able to convey business concepts in a written format concisely.
UWorld Roger CPA Review provides several course options for those planning to take the exam. Source.