The CPA: Advice and Information to Make It a Great Experience!
The CPA exam is a thought lingering in almost every accounting student’s head. If you guys are like me, I was very nervous about every aspect of the exam. However, with the help of the Jenkins MAC program and some valuable information, my nerves were washed away. In this blog, I am going to explain the MAC program’s CPA schedule for taking the tests, discuss the various resources available, and then give some tips/study advice.
MAC Program CPA Schedule
For those that do not know, there are four parts to the CPA exam (BEC, Audit, FAR, and REG) and they can be taken in any order as long as all four are passed within an 18 month window. The MAC program has provided a schedule that suggests times to take each test that coincide with classes that we take. I have chosen to follow this schedule that they have provided.
This schedule suggests taking the first test, BEC, in January since there is Christmas break time to study and students just completed Cost Accounting. Next, they suggest taking Audit in May. Since we graduate the beginning of May and completed our Audit class that semester, this is a great time to take this test. Since no tests are given in June and most public accounting firms do not have a start date until September, the schedule has us taking REGin July and FAR in August.. I believe this schedule will put me on the best track to completing the exam.
There are many resources available to assist with the CPA exam. I will speak on the resources that I have utilized. Since my employer is not paying the cost of my study materials (though, many public accounting firms will cover the costs of the test itself and the study materials), the MAC program is paying for Becker study materials. These materials include a book and CD for each test. The book has the majority of the information needed to pass the test.
The CDs have instructional classes, practice problems, quizzes, and practice tests. In addition, NC State offers students the option (mandatory if they are paying for your materials) to go to onsite instructional classes. These classes are taught by knowledgeable professionals and provide an opportunity to be taught the material. The classes are a four days in a row and, while they are long days, they have been a great help! I have chosen to use Becker but there are so many companies that provide resources.
- Make a study schedule of what you are going to study/review. If not, you will be on Facebook all the time just looking for a distraction!
- Flashcards were very helpful for me. You can buy flashcards, however, I learn better when I write things and just made my own.
- Don’t look at the material the night before. Cramming never helps.
- Go to the testing center early because they usually let you start early.
- Know yourself. For example, I do not study well in groups. So even though many MAC students were studying together, I did not join because I knew it would not be helpful for me.
- Relax……if you get yourself all worked up, you will just be nervous.
- Last but not least, study!!! As Professor Showalter said in class the other day, “Garbage in is garbage out.” If you do not prepare, you most likely will not get the results you wanted.
With all of this information above (and a lot of studying), I am confident that you can go into the CPA exam in the best position possible. As for me, well, 1 down and passed with 3 more to go!
Feel free to leave me any comments or questions!