How To Supplement any Course with NINJA CPA Review and Pass the CPA Exam in 5 Easy Steps
So you want your main CPA Review course to do the heavy lifting, but give it a NINJA Boost?
Good choice. The majority of NINJAs already have a review course by the time they even hear of us, so our reputation in the CPA Review industry is that we are the must-add supplement – particularly for our Notes, MCQ, and Audio.
However, if you want to make the switch and pass with NINJA Only, plenty of CPA candidates do that too.
1. Nail the Concepts
Nail the Concepts with your main course lectures.
If something is confusing in your course materials, look it up in the NINJA Book or NINJA Notes.
Start listening to your NINJA Audio. Never drive to work without it on. You can listen to fun things when you're a CPA. Let that motivate you. 🙂
If your commute is 1 hour round trip, then that's 1 hour of NINJA Audio per day (and that's for the commute alone … if you can work and listen to the NINJA Audio: even better.)
Start reading the NINJA Notes in your downtime, especially at work. It's ok if you haven't studied the section before. It will all start clicking the third time through, regardless of where you are in your prep.
We know that with other CPA exam review courses, you're given login credentials to a site, and with some CPA review courses, you're even sent a box in the mail. You have all these study materials and resources which you in many cases have spent thousands of dollars on.
Great. Now, what do you look for the instructions on how you're actually supposed to study for the exam with all the materials. What order, how much and how often, which resources most important MC cues notes flashcards.
And of course, you find nothing, no instructions anywhere. This is why we have developed the NINJA study framework, and this video will answer all those questions and more you didn't know you had. You can use this framework with any CPA review course, but for illustrative purposes (and because we own a review course), we will use NINJA CPA review as an example. And … we're fond of Ninjas in general.
Many people don't realize that in our case, N.I.N.J.A. is an acronym. The five letters, each individually represent a piece to the N.I.N.J.A. framework.
N – Nail the Concepts.
I – Intense Notes. As in, you will need to take intense notes.
N – Non-stop MCQ, which of course, is where you begin diving into your review course and MCQ.
J – Just rewrite it. And then rewriting your notes.
A – All Comes Together. We'll explain these all in detail throughout this video.
Let's start with the first N, which again stands for Nail the Concepts.
Even if you haven't covered a particular subject in the NINJA Book. One key to success is to listen to the NINJA Audio and read the NINJA Notes as many times as possible and the weeks leading up to the exam.
Let's reiterate this again. It's important you do this before the MCQ so that you are retaining what you've learned in the MCQ leading up to the exam. If you do MCQ eight weeks out before the CPA Exam, you will not retain them.
Last, but definitely not least, as you'll see in the next section, while you're nailing the concepts, you should simultaneously be taking intense notes.
The goal is to never have to go back and reread the book, because you've written down the key concepts, however. As for the actual notes. We recommend using the Cornell Method for note-taking, which is another preferred by universities and other learning centers. The basic idea is that the left side of your page will contain keywords or key concepts or questions.
Well, the right side of your page will contain general notes that correspond to the keywords and concepts on the left, the bottom of the page is reserved for you to write a summary of what is contained on that page. Your downloadable NINJA Study Framework will have multiple blank pages set up, or this note-taking style, but you can copy and use for all your notes.
We come to the second N, which stands for non-stop MCQ.
You've taken intense notes and have a killer stack of keywords and notes going. Now it's time to dive into the NINJA MCQ. If you miss a CPA Exam question, write down the keywords and notes but the question is testing you on and add it to your stack of notes. If you get a question correct but think you forgot the concept later on. Write it down. The NINJA MCQ software is broken into three modes.
First is the assessment mode. This is the first 35% of the material which figures out what you know and what you don't. Based on what you knew and didn't know in the assessment mode, the adaptive learning software tailors the questions to help you improve in the areas where you are weakest. The final phase is the review load, you reach this phase when you have answered each question successfully, at least twice.
Now onto the J, which represents Just Rewrite It. It's tedious. It's awful. It works. The process will take about a week so plan accordingly. Two weeks out from your CPA Exam section sounds about right. Take your stack of notes and rewrite them into the keywords and notes area of this study planner. You'll need to make multiple copies of this template. The easy road is to skip this step. Don't take the easy road. It will pay dividends on exam day.
Finally, we reached the last stage of the process and it's going to put you on the path to passing the CPA exam.
A – which signifies it all comes together.
You've nailed the concepts.
You've taken intense notes.
You've worked MCQ until you hate life.
You even hate the word “NINJA” at this point.
You've rewritten your keywords and notes. This is where it all comes together.
One – carry your stack of keywords and notes everywhere you go.
Two – watch the NINJA Blitz CRAM videos.
Three – watch NINJA Plus over weak topics.
Four – Listen to MCQ audio.
Five – Read through NINJA flashcards
Six – Make a list of your weakest MCQ topics and work backward.
Seven – Start with your weakest MCQ topic and do 20 question mini testlets until your score is in the 70s and move on to your next-weakest topic.
Eight – Finish your CPA review and then go give the CPA Exam a reverse roundhouse kick in the face. HIYA!
Now on to the question of the exact order and timing of when the various NINJA tools should be used. We're going with a seven-week plan where you'll need to study 20 to 25 hours a week.
You're right now wondering how you'll fit 20 to 25 hours into your already busy week. Don't worry. We've got you. We'll get to that in a minute, though.
For now, we'll get back to the order in which you should consume the various NINJA tools and will break this down by weeks.
Weeks 1-4: These four weeks will essentially be the same. You'll be nailing the CPA Exam concepts and taking intense notes.
Each of the first four weeks you’ll read 25% of the NINJA Book so that by the end of week four, you'll have completed the entire book for each of these first four weeks.
(Note: If you can get through more of the Book, even better. This allows you to jump into the MCQ earlier, as two weeks for the MCQ is ideal. When it comes down to it, it’s ok to punt the book in favor of the MCQ).
You'll read the NINJA Notes once.
You will listen to the NINJA Audio twice per week for the first four weeks.
Listen to NINJA Audio 24/7 in the car, at the gym, etc.
During these four weeks, you will be taking intense notes from the NINJA Book, Notes, and Audio.
Week 5: This is where your MCQ starts, but not before now.
Again, Nail the concepts before moving on to the MCQ.
During this week you should listen to NINJA Audio two times – during your commute, at your desk, etc. And, of course, continue to take notes on what you're learning. We're getting down to the wire now.
Week 6: This is where you take that massive stack of keywords and notes you've been compiling over the last five weeks and write them out again. Yes, all of them. This works. Do not think you are the one who is smart enough to skip this step. This is an enormously important step in the process and should not be missed. Continue with your MCQ as well, non-stop. The homestretch your last week before the big day.
Week 7: This is the week it all comes together for you during your seventh week, and you should be in the RECON mode of the MCQ.
Find your weakest section, based on your scores, and start there with drilling down into those questions until you are at 70% proficiency or higher, then move on to your second-weakest topic.
3 days before your exam: Read your NINJA Flashcards, over and over again. Watch NINJA Blitz.
1 day before your exam: Read NINJA Notes and read your keywords and notes
Exam Day: The big day has arrived.
You think it's over and only have to take the exam. No more studying.
More studying to do.
Try to schedule your exam for around 1 pm. That's the optimal time.
On the day of the exam: 1) Work the MCQ of your weakest topic 2) Read the NINJA Notes. Read your keywords and notes. 3) En route to the exam, Listen to the NINJA Audio topic that is your weakest section at the testing center in your car, review the NINJA Notes on your weakest topic. The only thing left to do after this point is, give your exam a reverse roundhouse kick to the face. HIYA!.
ELL Plan: We didn't forget to tell you how to find the time to study for the CPA exam. Introducing the Early Lunch Late plan. This plan is tailored for almost anyone, including those of you working a full time job with a family. The ELL plan will exceed the recommended 130 study hours in seven weeks.
You will incorporate 25 hours of studying into each week, using the Early Lunch Late method. The Early Lunch Lunch plan is simple. The sacrifice is not. The idea is that you set a schedule, make a habit of it over the course of the seven weeks necessary to pull this off early.
EARLY: Get up one and a half hours earlier than normal. If you are already getting up at four in the morning, don't shake your head and discuss this plan isn't for you.
For those who normally get up at 6:00 am or 6:30 am start getting up at 4:30 am or 5:00.
The coffee pot that you loaded the night before: Hit the “Go” button. While the coffee is brewing, go take a quick shower and wake up, head back to the coffee, grab a cup and sit down at your computer and NINJA Book, which you also set up the night before.
Study for an hour.
Notice that checking your email, social media, news, or sports sites was nowhere in this sequence.
LUNCH: Say “no” to the co-workers heading down the street to grab lunch and talk about how dumb their bosses are for an hour.
Take your lunch to your desk, (which you also packed the night before) start eating, and hit play on your NINJA Audio or work NINJA MCQ. Your legal pad and pen will get food smears on it while you take notes as well your mouse, but who cares, the same rule applies as the morning. No email or internet! Study for an hour.
LATE: This is where it will differ greatly based on your home situation, based on whether you are single with no children, married with no children, single with children, or married with children. Somewhere between the hours of 7 pm to 11 pm set aside the time to study.
Study at a coffee shop, the library, stay late at work, do it at home – whatever works for your situation.
Study two hours.
Do this four days a week.
Have lunch out on Friday and take Friday night off.
On the weekends, study four hours on Saturday and Sunday both, and set aside the time.
Early, Lunch, Late, and repeat for seven weeks.
You know how to study for the CPA Exam, in what order to use the materials, and finally, how to find the time to study. You've got this.
2. Intense Notes
Take Intense Notes over your Course lectures.
First Time? Retake? 15th Retake? It doesn't matter. Take Intense Notes.
Used the proven method provided in the NINJA Study Framework.
3. Non-Stop MCQ
Non-Stop MCQ (Course or NINJA MCQ).
If this is your first time taking this exam, then do Non-Stop MCQ with your Course Test Bank and then in the review phase (A – All Comes Together), then you switch to NINJA and work backward, beginning with your weakest topic.
If this is a retake OR you've found yourself memorizing your Course MCQ, then switch 100% over to NINJA MCQ for this phase. When it comes time to do the SIMS, switch back and forth, according to which software you like better.
Again … if this is your first time taking this exam, use your Course questions for N (Non-Stop MCQ) and use NINJA MCQ for A (All Comes Together) as you review.
If this is your first time taking this exam and you're memorizing the test bank questions (which is really bad because it causes false confidence … you're scoring in the 90s, but on exam day, you score a 65 and can't figure out why), then switch over to NINJA MCQ 100% for both (N) and (A).
SIMS – First time or retake alike: switch back and forth between the two platforms.
4. Just Rewrite
Just Rewrite Your Course Notes.
We know you took killer notes now… re-write those 😀
If taking notes just wasn't in the cards this time around and you did the best you could do, then we suggested re-write the NINJA Notes.
5. All Comes Together
It All Comes Together in a Final Review.
If you're using your Course MCQ in the Non-Stop MCQ phase, this is where you switch over to NINJA MCQ (if you've already switched, then keep using it here as well).
Start with your weakest topics first and work backward. You can let the software feed you questions, but since you're in a final review phase, I recommend doing topic-specific mini testlets and really drill-down.
Do a set of 20 over your weakest area. If you're weak in several areas, then choose the one that keeps you awake at night first.
The one you DREAD seeing on exam day.
If you are hitting in the low-70s (70-75), then move on to your next weakest area.
The reason why you don't go for mastery here is that you have a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time for your review. It's better to get all of the topics into the 70s and then come back and hit them again vs get a few into the 80s/90s and run out of time before you can get to the rest.
For instance, if you're taking Financial Accounting and Reporting and your weak area is Bonds, then do 20 question mini-testlets until you're scoring in the 70s (which may take 3 or 4 sets) and then moe onto your next-weakest area, which might be Leases. Repeat this with Leases, and then move onto the next one – which might be Governmental Accounting etc.
As you head into your exam – hammer MCQ, and read the NINJA Notes every spare millisecond you have.
(Note – if you have 5 minutes to spare – DON'T spend it on Facebook…knock out two pages of NINJA Notes instead).
Everywhere you go – car, gym, sitting at your desk at work, it's NINJA Audio, NINJA Audio, and … you guessed it NINJA Audio.
(I get it – the content is boring, and my voice won't be confused with Morgan Freeman anytime soon, but hit Play anyway. You can listen to your Spotify Playlist of 90s Pop Hits AFTER your exam).
NINJA MCQ … NINJA Notes … NINJA Audio on repeat…even up to the minute you leave your vehicle and head into Prometric (what if the extra 3 minutes of some nuance of Corporate Taxation was the difference between a 74 and a 75 on exam day?).
THEN … walk through those Prometric doors with confidence, barf out all of that knowledge in your head, and go sleep for 3 days.
You've earned it.
Here's what a few NINJAs had to say…
Disclaimer: Only 1 in 1,000 CPA Candidates win the EWS Award (95.5+ average score). Results not typical.
“NINJA MCQ – A must! Solving through all of the MCQ, understanding solutions, and adding new information nuggets to your notes — absolutely critical.
With the NINJA Notes, I printed out the notes and used as a knowledge check closer to the exam. Information is high-level, so you can quickly run through and get a comfort level on what you should go back to review in detail.
NINJA Audio is nice to use during the commute or if you are an auditory learner. The Audio MCQ are nice to keep you engaged.”
– Olga Timirgalieva, Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner
“I kept the Ninja notes on my phone/iPad and they were great to read over/think through for a quick review. There were definitely some topics that came up on my exams that I remembered from Ninja!”
– Abby Singley, Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner
“I used your ninja audio as a supplement for audit and it helped me score a 99. It was great to listen to while commuting to work and it really helped me master the material.”
– Joe Mader, Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner
“The NINJA material is easy to understand and doesn't get overly-complicated.”
– Neerav Karia, Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner
“I used the NINJA Notes to summarize my notes and eliminate topics that aren’t tested heavily.”
– Shulem Rosenbaum, Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner
“I was trending about 7-10 points below my actual exam scores for each of the sections. The NINJA product was great because it showed me where I was weakest, and I was able to focus on that section until I felt really comfortable with it. I would say the NINJA MCQ were essential to my success.”
– Matt Durette, Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner
“Couldn't have done it without the Ten Point Combo*!!!!”
– Matthew Zimdars, Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner
(*the NINJA Ten Point Combo was our $1,297 study course before we turned it into a $67/mo subscription.)
“After taking three exams I was in reach of the EWS award. I knew that I needed a high score on my last exam to get it, so I decided to use NINJA MCQ and practice tests to supplement my other study materials.
The questions and practice tests were extremely useful, they helped me find some weak spots I didn’t even know I had and gave me the extra practice I needed to get my best score of any of the exams.”
– Brian Wright, Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner
Jeff Elliott, CPA (KS)
PS – Check out our Free Downloads.