CPA Exam Mistake #7: Not Focusing on the Ways You Learn Best
The Candidate Bulletin: Your Roadmap to CPA Success

Strategy FAQ: Days Before Exam - Cram Time Plan

Days Before Exam - Cram Time Plan
I'm nervous - I don't know if I am prepared (I should listen to my own advice of being positive, being confident, etc. lol). It's almost test day, how should I use my last couple days?


Just wanted to let you know that you are *not* alone in this feeling. I ended up postponing one more day. (hopefully, it'll be enough). Hang in there. You can only do your best!!! Trust yourself! You've got this!! Keep going. Try and understand the concepts more than just practicing the mcqs, if you're not already doing this - I say this from experience. It's easy to *memorize* the answers. Have faith. You got this! - Madhu M.


Although I was doing MCQs, simulations and watching videos before appearing for the test, I was not pulling it all together a day or two before the exam. I was able to complete only about 450 questions in the last 2 days before the exam.

So this time around, I decided in the last couple of days, I am not going to work out any new MCQs. I had completed about 1200 from Gleim before reaching US. So although I had nearly 500 more new questions to do, I realized that the time I was taking to solve new questions was 2 to 3 times that of reviewing the solved questions.

The trick was to go though the solved questions quickly instead of reviewing questions that I had never attempted. The reason is, when you open any of the previous study sections taken, Gliem will show the question, the answer choices and the selection that you had previously made (correct or incorrect). Hence it is easier to get done reviewing more questions this way because you don't have the mental pressure to get the answer right. (which leads us to spend more time on each question)

I completed reviewing about 1000 MCQs in the last couple of days using this approach and had some time to go over the notes of Yaeger CPA (Around 55 pages) and repeat some of the simulations I had already done earlier. This really helped pull it all together and I felt a lot more confident walking into the test center.

So to summarize, the message that I wanted to share is simple. The last 2-3 days is the most crucial. We need to do MCQs, Simulations and review Notes. Hence it is easier to review more MCQs/Sims that are already done earlier rather than learning new stuff in the last minute.

I still get goose bumps thinking about the day I got my scores. I first got my AUD score, which was never a worry as I had passed this previously as well with an 80.

The stage was set for FAR. If I failed again, then it was definitely going to be curtains for me with the CPA exams.

After waiting for about 5 hrs since AUD score, I finally got my FAR score. 79!... The wait was worth every minute. 

- ADG (CPA Exam Club @ CPAnet Forum)


I think your last couple of days should be spent reviewing the material, of course, but I also think you should allow some time to relax prior to the actual test day.  Reviewing the material constantly prior to the test, in my experience only builds anxiety. So, I would recommended using a short review “crash course” to make sure you have all the major points, then trusting yourself and know that you’re ready to take and pass the exam. - Ashley W.


Try reviewing flash cards and take final exams and see where you stand, and review the weak areas.  - Kirthika K. 


Absolutely spending your last week to crunch the weakest areas!  If you kept all your homework, you should know what mistakes you made! - Val F.


Do about 75% in weak areas, and the rest on all of the other areas. Then do a couple practice tests. - Adam E.


What are the areas you pray won't be on the exam? Study those!! - Jay B.


While MCQs are certainly important, keep in mind that even if you get 100% of those correct, it's only worth 60% of your grade. Strict time management will be critical on the actual exam, and you should ideally leave yourself 2 full hours for the sims at minimum. Students who have been focusing too much on MCQs often overlook this element and have a hard time passing not because they didn't do well on the MCQs but because doing well on the MCQs at the cost of sims was not a wise trade trade-off. - Jee L.


My suggestion to everyone is to use a tactic called "elimination" on the exam.

For the mcqs- read the call of the question first - that way you have an idea what they are asking for. Then read the entire question for details.
Next, eliminate the two answers that are obviously wrong. There are always two answers that are wrong in every exam. Get rid of them.

Focus on the two answers you have left- read the call of the question again and determine which of the two answers you have make the most sense. Use the details from the question (read slowly) to determine which answer fits best. Tag questions you want to review a second time and move to the next question.

Using this process will take about a minute for each question. Then you have a buffer of about 30 minutes to go over the questions you tagged.

For the sims- I normally break those up into parts. Think of them like an extended mcqs. Work on them block by block but as you are choosing your answer, ask yourself- does this answer make sense? Could there be a better answer? What do I remember on this topic from the mcqs?

Some of the sims are just insane. You are going to look at them and not know what to do. When that happens, move on to another sim. When you are finished, come back to the one you need to finish.
Never leave a sim blank. If you are running out of time- read through the directions quickly and go for blocks that are easier than others. - Rebecca M.


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