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Preparing for a CPA Exam

As the days get closer, a lot of anxiety as well as pressure sets in. Its even more worse if you are a level one student and its your first time to sit for the CPA exams. In the picture below, ICPAU is encouraging you to drink as much water as possible to improve your concentration and cognition.

As Achievers Professional Trainers, we also continue to share more tips to set your in the exam mood. Take note of the tips below as you prepare for the exam.

1. Be specific in your study; concentrate on the things, which seem to be most important. Note items that the tutor emphasized in class as well as from the past paper questions. At this time, you should be ticking off the syllabus for the paper you are attempting to make sure you understand all the concepts.

2. Every exam has an element of speed. If you are slow, you probably need to study and practice more. Allocate appropriate time to all questions you are attempting in an examination. In case you find that you are spending more time on a question than you had allocated it, it wise you start on another question. In most cases the extra time, above the allocated time.

3. The questions that appear on exams approach the topics from a slightly different direction to test your ability to reason and understand rather than your ability to memorize.

4. When reading or revising, don’t stop with just “getting the idea”. It is often a great shock to students who thought they understood the topics but did poorly on the exam. This is because they never understood and practiced the skills and knowledge they learnt. Unless you can “apply” what you have learned, the results you get on an exam will be very disappointing. You should be able to work out a number of questions from each topic correctly during your revision without looking at the solutions. If you can’t do that, you are not ready to take the exam and apply what you have learned.

5. Again, read the question more than once. Endeavour to understand the requirement of the question. Avoid getting over excited if the examination question seems similar to a question you have attempted before. They may seem similar but very different in content and requirements. A number of students fail their accounting examinations because they do not carefully read the examination questions before attempting them. Read what the question is really asking, not what you think or you want it to ask. Avoid careless errors. At the end of the exam allow enough time to look exam, errors and omissions.

6. An excellent strategy to use when taking an exam is to quickly look through the entire exam paper and identify the questions that are easy for you. Attempt those questions first as they help to relieve the pressure when you go back to work on the more difficult and time-consuming problems.

7. Read the instructions and flow them. A number of students fail their CPA examination, because of failure to follow examination instructions for example a student attempts 4 questions yet they asked for 5 or vice versa which may also be wastage of time instead of maximizing your time on the asked questions.

8. Go to the examination hall equipped with the necessary item, including calculators, rulers, pens, pencils, watch, CPA examination permit, CPA identity card etc.

9. Last but not least plan to arrive at the examination hall at least 30 minutes before the examination starting time.

Samuel Ibanda, CPA.

Finance and Tax Specialist | CPA Tutor | Career Coach