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How Should I Study For The CPA Exam?

You have your accounting degree and you’re qualified to sit for the exam.  But being qualified for the exam, and being ready for the exam are two different things.  So, what is the best format to get from qualified to ready?  The answer to that question largely depends on your personality, and the style that best suits you. Having said that, we have classified study methods into three broad types.  There is certainly some overlap, and for most accountants, overlap is probably recommended.  

Classroom Study

Classroom study may be the most effective, but for most people it isn’t the most efficient.  Lots of time devoted to various concepts from an instructor, which means you learn at the pace in which he or she is teaching.  And, if you’re a quick learner, you will likely be waiting for him to finish the particular accounting problem that you might have already grasped, you know, because you’re smart.

Live classroom study will likely cost more as well.  The professor has to be paid somehow, and your cash spends just as well as the next student’s.

Recorded Study

Recorded study meets the best of both worlds for some.  More efficient in that the student may fast forward thru various concepts, or skip the concepts that he or she has nailed down already.  Cost-wise, recorded study programs are generally less than live classroom as well.  Many recorded study (and classroom study as well) offer money-back guarantees so that if you follow the program and fail, you get at least some of your money back. Leaders in recorded study programs include Becker and Wiley.  

Self Study

Our favorite is self study.  And our favorite self study is Gleim exam bank product.  Many other companies may offer the broad test bank that Gleim does, and we truly hope that’s the case, because Gleim does a great job with their test questions.  

As of this writing, Gleim offered over 9,000 multiple-choice exam questions, which is much more than the competition.

Here’s why these exam-bank programs work (to date, Gleim boasts over 1 million exams passed using their products).  The CPA is by and large, a multiple choice exam.  And by practicing these multiple-choice questions over, and over, and over, and over the student slowly and surely acquires a more authentic test experience.  I would suggest that a student training for the CPA exam sells themselves short by learning concepts outside of the multiple-choice format.  Not only does Gleim (and others I’m sure) offer a very large exam bank on which to practice, Gleim also provides deep feedback analytics to the student so that he or she may gain information on where they have fallen short.  And in our experience, the single most important thing a student can do is take a multiple choice practice question, fail the question, and learn immediately why they failed, and what they can do to pass the question next time..  That’s what Gleim does best, and we believe that cycle creates a great opportunity to learn not only how to learn difficult accounting concepts, but learn them in multiple-choice format.