CPA Exam: Insider Secrets For Passing


The CPA Exam is popularly known for being one of the toughest professional examinations. In addition to incorporating years of advanced studies into multiple testing sessions, it utilizes numerous trickery devices. It is imperative you know about these techniques and how to overcome them for ultimate passing success. Follow the below recommendations and watch your pass rate improve.

Multiple Choice Answers Are Deceiving

Most financial accounting questions involve story problems that require multiple calculation steps. It is far too easy for a candidate to calculate an answer, see it listed as a viable option, and choose it as being correct. Think again about doing this. This is a common trick exam preparers use to fool candidates.

The CPA Exam contains four answers. Two answers are completely incorrect and have likely have no correlation to the facts. One answer is a calculation step obtained before the final, decisive answer is reached. The fourth answer is the correct choice. It is reached when the candidate has completed all necessary calculation steps.

Insider secret: Realize that what appears as a CPA exam answer, may lack a step or two.

All Topics Are Test-Worthy on the CPA Exam

Most other examinations test on only subjects that are discussed in detail. The CPA Exam is different. Candidates can be tested on a term that is used once in study materials. For instance, a seemingly irrelevant term, like interest allowance, will be mentioned once in a chapter focused on profits. There will be a 10-point essay question testing the candidate's knowledge of interest allowance. A candidate must know as much as possible about profits to successfully appease exam graders.

Insider secret: Never overlook any term or topic.

Start Brainstorming

Accounting students are taught to stick with the facts and avoid “wasting time” throwing ideas around. Pragmatic financial students learn that brainstorming is for marketing students or others. This is a damaging mindset when sitting for this arduous exam.

Every exam contains essay questions. Students receive the highest points possible by efficiently and cohesively writing about the subject area. There will be times when technical thoughts simply fail. When that happens, candidates must start brainstorming. This can be difficult for accounting students, who have a tendency to self-monitor. Avoid that at all costs.

Brainstorming involves writing everything down that comes to mind about the subject area. Think about the topic and how it applies to the subject matter being tested. Keep thinking that everything is interrelated. For instance, if a business law question asks about the legality of a contract clause, think about the COALL contract components. COALL being consideration, offer, acceptance, legal capacity, and legal subject matter.

Insider secret: Start feeling comfortable with brainstorming.

Time Is Of The Essence

Everything about this exam comes down to timing. Every section is timed. Candidates must keep track of when every section was started to efficiently utilize time. Candidates must be seated and ready to go when the exam starts. Proctors never accept excuses. It is up to the candidate to effectively manage time from beginning to end.

Allow for plenty of commuting time. Be sure to have reliable transportation to the exam. There will be times when the hotel shuttle breaks down. It has happened. Be prepared to run to the exam venue, if needed. Have a fully operating timepiece available at all times.

Insider secret: Time management, or lack thereof, can make or break a candidate's success.

Implementing the above-mentioned suggestions will lay the path towards success on the next CPA Exam. Take it from a seasoned professional who has experienced all of these things first-hand.

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