Choosing the right CPA study material from the dizzying array that’s available can be confusing.
You already have too much to do, and your study time is limited. How are you going to weigh your options and make the best choice when the countdown clock is ticking toward Uniform CPA Examination day?
You’ve probably studied the Content and Skill Specification Outlines (CSOs/SSOs) that the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) provides at CPA Examination Content. This spells out ground the CPA Exam covers. One fast read-through and you’re headed to get serious help from a CPA review course.
Before you go online looking for review course providers, first explore websites that review those courses. Reviewers already have done considerable homework for you by evaluating course offerings and study materials. Many reviewers will stack up providers side by side and compare what they offer to assist your studies.
Use Reviews of Test Prep Course Offerings
Reviewers are valuable because the accessibility of CPA review course websites can vary. Some are so easy to use that they could have been designed by CPAs who are also slick marketers. Others were designed by, well, CPAs, and they don’t quickly and easily tell you about their study materials.
Another great source for reviews of study materials used by different test prep courses are CPA Exam blogger forums. CPA Exam candidates who’ve already made the expensive investment in review courses are quick to critique and offer advice. Suggestions from those who’ve been there, done that, passed or failed can be invaluable when it comes to selecting CPA study materials.
Both kinds of reviewers will describe your choices. Lectures online and offline, multiple choice questions and task-based simulation questions. Audio reviews and flashcards. Bite-sized lessons and unlimited access forever!
Once you’ve learned what reviewers think, spend a few moments considering your personal needs. You’ve developed an academic style over the years. You know how you learn best, and that can lead to finding study materials that successfully work for you.
Identify Your Previous Successes
Do you flourish in the company of others? Do lectures entertain as well as instruct, and do class questions provide enlightment? Find a CPA review course that emphasizes video lectures or live or virtual classes. Choose an instructor who makes sense of the concepts underlying the multiple choice questions and ties the two together in the lectures. Organize your review work with a study planner.
Does sitting through a lecture make you feel as though you’re losing valuable time? Choose a course offering a textbook so that you can refresh on those CSOs/SSOs, review with flash cards and then practice exhaustively with multiple choice questions, task-based simulations and exam simulators.
In any scenario, find a review course that emphasizes refreshing accounting concepts as well as practicing taking tests and answering questions. Grasping concepts is the foundation to nailing those testlets.
Some review courses offer old school methods and others incorporate the latest technology including mobile apps, IPad compatibility, online note-taking, interactive eTextbooks and adjustable lecture speed. Your level of comfort with these techniques will affect your learning.
Don’t overlook the value of getting familiar with the tools of the computer-based CPA Exam. The free tutorial on the CPA Exam and a free sample test offered here by The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) will introduce you to the mechanics. The AICPA sample test is a multiple choice testlet and a simulation testlet for each of the four sections of the test.