Best way to study for CPA exam 2015
October 22, 2012 at 10:41 pm #174425
I'm in the middle of my bachelor's degree in accounting and have a year and a half until I graduate (May 2014). I have taken a little more than half of the required accounting classes (just finished my second semester of intermediate accounting) and plan to start the MACC program in August 2014. What I am hoping to do is to take the CPA exam spring of 2015 so that I have the exam and education requirements out of the way when I graduate.
So here is the question – what is the most effective way for me to begin studying now? I have thought about getting books, but 2012-2013 books will be out of date in two years by the time I take it. Is there an online course you can sign up for that lets you study for two years and stays current over that time? It's my understanding that most people take the course the same year that they plan to take it, and that seems to work out fine, but I would like to get an early start and don't know the best way to do that.
Any advice you might have for me would be appreciated! Thanks!October 22, 2012 at 11:19 pm #380199
cmmccook, there is a review course out there that keeps updating your materials until you pass.
Check out CPAExcel and see if you quality to purchase it now or have to wait until you graduate with your undergrad degree.
The problem with starting to study 3 yrs ahead is that you may forget a lot and if subject matter changes, it won't be the most efficient use of your time to re-study too much. If you want to go with a different course like RogerCPAReview, Becker, Yaeger, Gleim, etc, they usually come out with a new book each fall. When do you want to start studying??October 22, 2012 at 11:23 pm #380200
Or you could get NINJA notes and a Wiley book to use as a reference tool to hone in on what you need to remember from your bachelors/masters courses for the CPA Exam. Print out a copy of the Content Specification Outline from AICPA, and use that too. Let's say for example that you are studying break even analysis in college. You could do AICPA released questions in the Wiley book or online in that area to supplement. On one hand, that's more homework. On the other hand, you are paying tuition and have the benefit of a live professor to ask questions. 2015 sounds so far from now though!! Just my opinion…October 23, 2012 at 2:05 am #380201
Why in the world would you start now? Just pay attention to in your accounting classes. Maybe keep the books instead of selling them after the class but that's about it.October 23, 2012 at 2:37 am #380202
A more effective use of your time might be to pursue the CMA while you're in college, and then get the CPA once you graduate.
The upside to doing this is that you're allowed to sit for the CMA before you graduate, and in a couple years time, you'll be a CPA/CMA.October 23, 2012 at 4:23 am #380203
Don't worry about the CPA exam for another 2 years. 2-3 months before you want to take the exam, buy the Becker materials and start studying for FAR.October 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm #380204
My only suggestion is to keep your notes, they can potentially be a handy reference (I took the exam as I was completing my masters and often referred to my school notes)
Other than that, nothing much you can do right now.
.October 23, 2012 at 9:43 pm #380205
DON'T do it now. I too was an overachieving undergrad, straight A's, pumped for grad school, ALWAYS looking to the future and making considerations like what you're considering now. Don't do it. It's a waste of time and effort. If you're as good of a student/learner as you seem to be, you will do FINE taking the CPA exams post-graduation/before career/or in the beginning of career.
If you start studying now, SO much of what you learn will be irrelevant in 2015 because both the tax code and the accounting rules change constantly. Not to mention the convergence project being underway, who knows if we'll be entirely IFRS or not in 2015.
For now I would just say pay CLOSE attention when you get to your Audit class (as 1 whole exam is like a cumulative final exam of your Auditing class). And of course put a good amount of effort into your Intermediate and Advanced classes as well, as the content will appear on the exams (FAR) but the details will likely have changed by 2015. Also look hard for any internship opportunities!
I saved my college notes on topics that I knew would be on the CPA exams with the intentions of using them to help study, and never ended up using them or even considering using them once I began studying with a review course. A review course like Becker will prepare you just fine. On a similar note, don't even think about saving textbooks and saying “I'm going to study for the CPA that way!”. Nope. Having experienced the exams now, thinking of people who say “I'm going to study my college textbooks!” is laughable. Just get a review course when the time comes, it will have nearly all the information you need, nothing more, nothing less.
Best of luck, and kudos to you for being this motivated and future-focused so early on!October 23, 2012 at 9:45 pm #380206
I agree, don't even think about the CPA until later. Chances are, you won't be able to sit for any sections until August of 2014 anyways since the application process takes so long AND your degree has to be POSTED to your school's database before they review it.
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