If you are a busy student or a professional who is planning to write the CPA/CMA exam, you do not need to take a break from your daily schedule to be CPA/CMA certified. All you need is effective time management skills and follow a daily routine religiously to make things meet from both ends. Here are a few tips on how to study productively in lesser time for the CPA exam without putting much impact on your present day schedule.
1. Stay focused
However busy you remain throughout the day, keep CPA/CMA prep on top of your priority list. Make an estimation of your total workload throughout the day, allocate the anticipated hours required for each assignment and adhere to that routine. Smart time management can multiply your productivity by 10 times than what it is now.
If you have enrolled yourself for a CPA/CMA training class, make sure your attendance is 100% there. You may be a brilliant student or a commerce graduate or might have good knowledge in accounting, but being irregular to classes would make you less focused. Interact with your faculty in the class and try to clear doubts as soon as you cannot understand anything in course delivery.
Everyday keep at-least an hour to revise the topic you have learnt in the last class. Write formulas by hand to help you strengthen your study plan. This one hour may be in your recess while having lunch, during your evening snacks or maybe before going to bed. If you have the recording of the class play it at that time and relate it with your study materials. Focus more on concept clarity than memorising.
4. Keep yourself calm and healthy
While we go through a strict daily routine, it is most important to stay composed and energised. Have a sound sleep at night and have a healthy diet.
5. Cut-off unproductive hours
When you have a focus ahead, restrain yourself from useless gossiping, partying or huge socialising. You need to remind yourself that your CPA exam is your top priority. Everything else is secondary. You can rebuild your PR skills again after your exams.
6. Give extra-hours at weekends
Devote 3 to 4 hours for your CPA/CMA prep at every weekend. Revise the whole week’s course covered, solve all relevant MCQs, explore the probable essay questions and make a note of your doubts which are to be cleared in your next class or in a one to one basis with your mentor.
7. Solve Mock Papers
After every chapter is covered, make sure you solve the mock questions of that chapter within the time limit given by your mentor. Get your paper checked and keep a track of the marks you are obtaining. If you are getting less than 70%, it means you need to work harder.
8. Study in small groups
If you have like-minded friends or colleagues nearby, consider yourself lucky. Study in a group or 2 or 3 and discuss on concepts in which you are weak. Remember, US professional accounting exams demands an absolute clarity of your core concepts in Finance. Hence the more you share with the right person, the more knowledge you will gain. Motivate each other.
9. Soothe thy nerves
If listening to music gives you that extra pleasure, do not deprive yourself totally from it. It may also be playing basketball or meditating or para-gliding. Do not stop your hobby fully. This may have a negative effect on your overall well-being and will affect your exams.
10. Plan for your exams
You need to target the exam windows in which you will write your exam/s. If you are confident to give it a go, start the administrative procedures of writing exams one month before.
11. Take a week off before your exam
When the exam day is near, request for a few days off from your employer before each paper. This will help you to recharge your energy and make sure you are fully focused towards the exam.
When everything is in place, give a leap of faith. Wish you all the best!
Blog composed by Bhaswati Bhattacharya, Director, Logic School of International Studies
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