I took BEC last week. I'm in the dreaded waiting period until the exam score release date about 3 weeks out. In the meantime, I've decided to study for my next (and potentially final) exam, REG, rather than continue to study BEC as a hedge, which is a strategy I used successfully for FAR and AUD.
It's been a long slog so far; studying for these exams can be lonely. However, I recently discovered the power of having a study buddy. You should have a study buddy for a number of reasons. But they likely aren't why you would think. First, you should not (pardon the generalization) get a study partner because the CPA exam is individualistic. Everyone studies at different paces. You'll take the exam by yourself, and these exams are nothing like what you experienced in college, where it may have made sense to study in groups. In fairness, my study buddies are non-traditional. None of them know a lick of accounting.
My study buddies are my six-year-old daughter and a 2-inch-tall plastic dinosaur.
You might think I'm crazy. I certainly question my sanity at times, but hear me out. These study buddies are invaluable.
When studying, it is easy to take a passive approach. Watching a lecture and reading the textbook are examples of passive study techniques. We've all watched lectures and read texts and not been able to recall what we've just gone over. This is certainly something I want to avoid when studying for these exams. A study buddy has helped me through active recall. After reading a section of the Wiley CPA textbook, I try to tell a summary of what I just read to the plastic dinosaur. If I struggle to explain what I just went over, then perhaps I don't really know the material, and I should revisit it. The CPA exams are an inch deep and a mile wide, so I try not to get too deep.
When I have concepts I'm trying to nail from previous portions of the material, and I'll read my flashcards to my six-year-old daughter. She says the answer to “what is the formula for inventory turnover ratio” is “lots of numbers.” And “what are the components of an internal control system” is “pink trains.” My daughter doesn't always like to sit with me to go over flashcards. Her limit is about 10 minutes. I get the benefits of spending time with family and time to speak aloud about some topics I may be struggling with.
Really the benefit of the study buddy is to have someone (or something) that you can talk to in order to actively engage your mind in the material. It might not be worth having a study buddy that is also studying for these exams, but your mileage may vary. Talk to the wall, talk to the trees, whatever you do, get your mind active, and you'll be in a better position to pass these exams.