I’m often asked what is the most important difference between the study methods of successful CPA exam students and other students who seem to be stuck in a whirl wind of failed exam after failed exam? The main difference is consistency. I’ve seen almost every student show flashes of discipline and hard work. However, the most successful students have a plan and they stick to it for months at a time.
I think what surprises most candidates is the sheer volume of information that needs to be memorized for the CPA exam. It is almost impossible to cram which is different from college exams. Most students have grown accustomed to cramming all the information in the weekend before an exam. Usually, they find out the hard way, that the CPA exam is a different animal.
We try to help summarize the volume of information with our study package. Summary notes is useful for 80% of students who feel overwhelmed with all of the new information. Here are some memorization tips that I’ve found to be helpful:
- Record your study notes. It helps to say key phrase aloud. Retention increases when you hear something over and over again. I also find that having a recording enables you to take a walk and study at the same time.
- Make your own mnemonics. Almost every CPA review provider makes extensive use of mnemonics. However, if you really want to boost your CPA score, create your own.
- Another techniques is the Method of Loci. Basically, you create a journey and put all information along the route. I have never personally used this method but it is a core memorization technique.
The CPA exam can be over 800 pages of material. Despite the CPA exam changes, a lot of the study time is still memory work. If you use advanced memory techniques and summarized study notes you can increase your chances of passing the CPA exam.