1. Find a CPA Exam review instructor that you like. I chose Roger Philipp, CPA, because of his teaching style. If you end up on an early morning study plan like me, you'll want an instructor who is interesting, engaging and won't make you nod off. Even if you don't study during the early morning hours, Roger is still WAY more fun than other instructors I've seen.
2. Figure out your work/life/study balance. It's important to figure out where studying fits into your schedule. I had to experiment a little bit but chose to focus on family in the evenings, so I studied in the mornings. I also made sure to study during my lunch breaks and right after work, before I drove home.
3. Be realistic about your time frame to take the exam. If you are able to cut out everything else from your life or are a super sponge of learning, you can cram like crazy and knock out all 4 parts of the exam quickly. I'm older and haven't been in school for awhile. I also have many obligations, so decided a year was more realistic for me. I put too much pressure on myself to complete the CPA Exam faster, but I couldn't retain all of the information in such a short amount of time.
4. Find a way to make it fun. You're investing a lot of your personal time and energy into studying for this exam and you'll have a much better experience if you make it fun. Find a study buddy. Text questions back-and-forth to another CPA Exam review student. Give yourself little rewards when you do well on a section.
5. PRACTICE! It can sometimes be a dreaded, but the principle behind the word is solid. Practice makes all the difference in the world. You retain more of what you DO so work the problems over and over and keep track of how you do each time. It's nice to be able see that you're getting better or where you need to spend more time.
6. Find a good support system. Even if it's just to keep you accountable so that you stay on track, it's important to have a good support system. Supportive people in your life help keep you from throwing in the towel or getting off track.
Sometimes I Feel like I'm Climbing a Mountain
Studying for the CPA Exam? Practice Makes Perfect!
Sleep Deprivation, Working Full-Time and the CPA Exam
Studying Requires Some Sacrifice