10 Things Successful Students Did to Pass the CPA

Studying for the CPA Exam requires focus and drive. Since thousands of accountants have taken this exam before you, it is to your advantage to follow the steps that worked to help them pass the exam. Here is a list of 10 successful things students did to pass the CPA Exam:

  1. Identify what time of day works best for studying. Some people are night owls, whereas some people like to study first thing in the morning. Know your habits and capitalize on them.
  2. Minimize distractions. Turn your phone off and limit access to social media while studying.
  3. Don’t focus only on multiple-choice questions. Make sure to familiarize yourself with all simulation questions.
  4. Don’t get writer’s block. Many test-takers fear the dreaded written communication requirement segment of the exam. Practice developing a thesis statement and write rest of your response in support of your thesis.
  5. Don’t underestimate the time you’ll need to study. Many test takers make the mistake of waiting until the last minute to study for the exam. It will take well over 100 hours of studying time to prepare yourself fully.
  6. Create a mock exam schedule and follow it. The CPA Exam takes stamina. Make sure you’re prepared by mapping out a day that follows the actual exam timeframe and take a practice test.
  7. Stay on top of testing windows. Make sure you know where and when you’re taking the exam. Where you plan on taking the test will inform how easy it will be to schedule.
  8. Keep it close to your vest. Sharing that you are taking the CPA Exam may put unnecessary pressure on your studying. It’s ok to keep it to yourself!
  9. Study hard until (almost) the bitter end. Study frequently until the last two days before the test, where you should lighten your load to absorb more information.
  10. Review courses are mandatory. Don’t do it on your own! There are several online review courses available that will help you get closer to your goal. In fact, ExamMatrix offers a Pass or Refund Guarantee on our exam review system.

When you want to be at your best to study for the CPA Exam, contact the experts at ExamMatrix today! Call us at 800.272.7277 or get a free demo!


7 Myths About Prepping For The CPA Exam

When preparing for the CPA Exam there can be a lot of misconceptions about what to expect. General performance anxiety, and these common misconceptions can lead to nothing more than a recipe for disaster. The best thing for you to do, is take a deep breath, look over these myths, study hard, and review a sample exam so you can really get a feel for what the real CPA exam will be like.

  1. One common myth is that there is a curve when it comes to grading the completed exams. This is not true. Every test is graded individually therefore giving every applicant an individual score.
  1. There is also the myth that not many applicants of the CPA exam successfully pass the exam, this is also untrue, according to the AICPA (The American Institute of CPA’s) the average pass rate in 2015 varies by part between 46% and 56% depending on part. Business Environment and Concepts had the highest passing rate while Financial Accounting and Reporting had the lowest.
  1. Yet another myth is whether or not there is an appeal process for barely failing grades on the exam. There is an appeal process but usually since the computerized grading system has been implemented, the chance of an appeal changing a failing grade to a passing grade is only about 1%.
  1. As long as you get 75% of each section’s questions correct then you should pass the exam is another common misconception. Each of the four sections is graded differently in accordance with its difficulty level.
  1. Some people rely on if they pass the multiple choice section they have a greater chance of passing the exam entirely. While this isn’t completely untrue, it is not a very wise decision to place so much faith in one section.
  1. The results of your exam will not be given to you right away. The exam results are released only after the testing window has closed. All the exam results for each testing window are released at roughly the same time everywhere, usually the second week of the closed testing window month.
  1. Some people believe that if you take the most difficult section (out of the four) first then the rest of the exam will be a breeze. This is not true. There is not one section that will be particularly harder than the next. Each section will require the same amount of thinking and hard work to be done well.

The bottom line is do not believe every rumor you hear about the CPA exam. If you have are unsure about the information you have received, contact AICPA or your State Board of Accountancy, who will be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have.


What is the CPA Exam Like?

Your nerves can get the better of you when you are planning to take the CPA exam. You may find yourself wondering what questions you will face and which concepts will be covered. At ExamMatrix, we believe that knowledge of what lies ahead will ultimately lead to your success on the exam as it allows you to wisely prepare for your examination.

Each state assigns its State Board of Accountancy or the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) to administer the CPA exam. You will need to meet the requirements outlined by your state to be approved as an exam candidate and provide the necessary documentation to prove your eligibility. Once you have been approved and determined the test date for which you would like to prepare, the ExamMatrix’s CPA Exam Review will test you on what you know and provide you with a personalized study plan that will ensure you will excel on exam day by employing its Adaptive-Learning technology.

With over 100,000 candidates the CPA exam consists of 4 sections of multiple-choice and task-related simulation questions covering numerous topics, such as audit procedures, financial accounting and reporting, governmental accounting, economics, federal taxation, the Uniform Commercial Code, the Code of Professional Conduct, public accounting  and financial and operations management. The 4 sections are titled, “Auditing and Attestation,” “Financial Accounting and Reporting,” “Regulation” and “Business Environment and Concepts.” Additionally, some states have added an ethics portion to the exam that is required as part of the CPA Exam. Once the testing is complete, the Board of Examiners of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) assumes the responsibility of grading the exams.

To earn a passing score on each section of the CPA exam, you must earn a 75. Generally, any person being afforded the opportunity to retake certain sections of the exam must do so within a set time frame.

Contact ExamMatrix

Before you sit for your CPA exam, contact ExamMatrix today to discover how our Adaptive-Learning technology and personalized study program will successfully prepare you for your exam and ensure you pass it the first time you take it.


7 Things to Know Before Taking the CPA

Preparing and sitting for the CPA Exam in your state is a major commitment to advancing your career. Unfortunately, many CPA exam takers do not adequately study for the exam or understand what it takes to become licensed as a CPA. To assist you with your preparations, here are 7 things to know before taking the CPA:

  1. To pass the exam, you have to commit a great deal of time to studying. The exam is made up of the following 4 sections: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Regulation (REG) and Business Environment and Concepts (BEC). It has been found that those who successfully pass the exam spend upwards of 100 hours studying each section for total of 400 or hours of study time. Allow ExamMatrix’s CPA Exam Review to set a schedule for you that works.
  2. Only sit for the section you are prepared to take. Boost your chance of future success and  confidence by beginning with a section you find to be the easiest.
  3. Choose the time and date of your exam wisely. If you are not a morning person, do not choose an early morning exam time. Additionally, avoid rushing to take your exam as prolonged, consistent studying is necessary to pass the exam.
  4. Without using reliable and proven study materials, it will be unlikely that you will pass. There is a large amount of materials that must be mastered in order to pass each section. With the  ExamMatrix CPA Exam Review, the guesswork is taken out of deciding what to study as its software is based on a personalized study method that adapts to what you already know and lays out a study program tailored to your needs.
  5. The exam contains both multiple-choice and task-based simulation questions. You must be prepared to successfully answer both types of questions to ensure you pass each section.
  6. Be certain you complete the review materials, practice exams and personalized study program before sitting for your exam. Following the prescribed study program provided by ExamMatrix’s CPA Exam Review will afford you the best possible chance of passing your exam the first time you take it.
  7. Depending on the state in which you live, you may have additional requirements to meet before you can obtain your license. Check with your state to be certain you are up-to-date on what you need to do to gain your license after you have passed the exam.

Contact ExamMatrix

To be certain you are giving yourself the best possible opportunity to excel on your exam, contact ExamMatrix today to employ our CPA Exam Review for your benefit.


How to Know You are Ready for the CPA Exam

When are you ready for the CPA exam? Some people are ready when they know they’ve fully absorbed all of the training material, but this isn’t always enough. In fact, you are not going to remember all of the material that was covered, but you can remember enough to pass the test.

Did You Study Enough?

People that have successfully passed the exam state that they took 2 ½ months to study each section before passing. This means you’ll need to study the FAR, AUD, REG and BEC portions of the exam for 2 ½ months each. In total, you’ll need 10 months of studying to pass.

If you spend more than 3 months studying, statistically you’re less likely to pass the exam.

Why? You are overdoing it.

The best course of action is to study and make sure that you follow a review course to see if you’re ready to take the exam. If you study for just a month and expect to pass, you have a very low chance of success.

You Pass All of the Review Material

Reviews are meant to help you pass the test. Using a proven review system, you’ll be able to:

  • Judge your current level of knowledge.
  • Judge which areas of the test you need to improve on.
  • Take practice tests to see your results.

Students that take our exams have a higher chance, statistically, to pass the exam on the first try. This allows for a real-world example of how the test will be laid out and what questions will appear on your respective test.

If you haven’t followed all of the available review material, you’re not ready to take the exam.

There is no concrete way to know with a 100% certainty that you’ll pass your CPA exam on the first try. The best you can do is study, follow a review course and take the test for yourself. A lot of people fail their first time and pass their second time because they are familiar with the test. So when you feel ready, give the CPA exam a try.


What Percent of People Pass the CPA Exam?

If you’re ready to take the CPA exam or have already taken the exam and failed, it’s important to know that a lot of people fail the exam. You are able to retake the exam and only have to ensure that you pass all 4 parts of the exam within an 18-month period.

Statistics from the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants provide us with a good outline of how many people passed their exam in 2014 based on the 4 available exam times.

AUDIT Section

The AUDIT section is one of the hardest sections to pass with a cumulative pass rate of just 46% in 2014. Broken down into months, the following percentages are seen:

  • January – February: 47% of exams were passed.
  • April May: 49% of exams were passed.
  • July – August: 47% of exams were passed.
  • October – November: 42% of exams were passed.

Statistically, you should aim to take the AUDIT exam between April and May for best results.

FAR Section

The FAR section is the second hardest section of the exam with a cumulative pass rate of 48%. Broken down into months, the FAR test pass rates are:

  • January – February: 44% of exams were passed.
  • April May: 48% of exams were passed.
  • July – August: 51% of exams were passed.
  • October – November: 46% of exams were passed.

Students that take the FAR section are more likely to pass the test between the months of July and August.

REG Section

The REG section has a cumulative pass rate of 49% and is the third hardest portion of the CPA exam. The REG section statistics are as follows:

  • January – February: 49% of exams were passed.
  • April May: 52% of exams were passed.
  • July – August: 44% of exams were passed.
  • October – November: 49% of exams were passed.

Students will want to take this test between the months of April and May.

BEC Section

The final section is the BEC section that has a cumulative pass rate of 55%. This is the easiest section of the exam and should be taken first. The results are as follows:

  • January – February: 53% of exams were passed.
  • April May: 58% of exams were passed.
  • July – August: 58% of exams were passed.
  • October – November: 52% of exams were passed.

Students should take this test between the months of April and August.

One figure that stands out based on all of the data is that students should not take any section of the exam during the months of January and February or October and November to boost their chances of a passing grade.


4 Tips to Improve Study Session Success

Working through your CPA exam review will help prepare you for success. But there are a few extra things you can do to maximize the program’s results. Effective study sessions don’t happen by chance, so taking steps to prepare for each session will help you get the most of your review.
Here are some tips from ExamMatrix to boost your study session success.

1. Create and Keep a Study Schedule

It’s important to make studying a priority. The best way to do this is to schedule it into your day. If you haven’t already done so, take the time to create a study schedule and stick to it. Be sure to give yourself a realistic amount of time to study each day.

2. Make Sure You Have Everything You Need

Make sure that you have everything you need before you start each session. Aside from your exam review program, you may also want to have pencil and paper on hand to jot down notes, snacks and drinks, and any other supplies you might need. Having everything you need on hand will minimize interruptions, so you can stay focused on the material.

3. Create a Designated Study Space

Ideally, you want to study in the same space at the same time each day. Creating a designated space for studying will help you mentally prepare for each session. Choose a space with limited distractions, such as a room without a TV. Turn your cell phone off or leave it in another room. Studying in a quiet space will help you stay focused and make it easier to absorb the information you’re learning.

4. Don’t Rely on Inspiration to Stay Motivated

It takes time and effort to study for an exam. If you rely on inspiration to stay motivated, you may find that days or weeks pass by before you open your review. To succeed, you’ll need to study daily whether you want to or not. Your effort will be rewarded in the end when you successfully pass your exam.

Purchase the CPA exam review from ExamMatrix today!


The Benefits of Adaptive Learning

Adaptive learning takes an individualized approach to learning. While this concept isn’t exactly new (teachers have been doing this for decades), incorporating it into technology-based tools allows you to maximize the benefits of this learning method. ExamMatrix uses adaptive learning software with each exam review to help students succeed.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits this learning method offers.

Adapts to Your Abilities

Learning is not “one-size-fits all”. Every student learns differently, and every student has his or her own unique abilities. Whether you’re studying for an exam or taking a traditional classroom course, the learning method used should be in line with your abilities. This is difficult to achieve in a typical classroom.

With adaptive learning, the software adjusts to your own abilities and pinpoints areas where you might be struggling. As you continue using the program, you’ll learn what your strengths and weaknesses are, so you can focus on core areas you don’t quite understand. In a nutshell, adaptive learning programs ensure that you master concepts before moving onto new material.

Allows You to Work at Your Own Pace

If a concept is difficult to understand, it might take you longer than anticipated to fully grasp the subject. In a traditional classroom setting (and even in online classrooms), this can be problematic for students who are left behind. With adaptive learning, you can move at your own pace. As you progress through the program, your answers are analyzed in real-time, and the software adjusts your instruction to match your abilities.

Adaptive learning gives you more control over your learning, and in our case, over your exam review. If you don’t understand a concept, you can take all the time you need to master it before moving on. This is something that cannot be achieved in classrooms (virtual and physical) as students are forced to progress at the same pace regardless of whether or not they understand the material.

Sets You Up For Success

Why does ExamMatrix use adaptive learning software for its reviews? Because it sets students up for success. When you’re able to work at your own pace and stay focused on a concept until you master it, you’re far more likely to pass whichever exam you’re preparing for. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses ensures that your study sessions are laser-focused on areas that will improve your scores.

Classrooms all over the country are adopting adaptive learning programs, but this same concept can help students in higher learning prepare for exams in an efficient and effective way.


Studying for Two Exams in One CPA Testing Window

There is only one thing to factor when deciding whether to study for one or two CPA Exam sections in a single testing window is time.  How much time can you commit. Studying for two exam sections at the same time can be problematic, but studying for the first exam in the early part of the testing window,  and then taking your second exam late in the same testing window can be done if can make the required study time work. With the CPA exam review studying for a single exam section for the first time can take over 100 hours to complete, so if you are studying for two sections you are looking at least 200 hours of study. 

If you were wanting to sit for both of the exam sections, say, in July and August of a testing window, you would need to plan to start studying June 1, and sit for the Exam on or near July 15.  That is a little over two hours of study per day, seven days per week.  Take July 16 off to decompress, then start studying again for the second exam section, taking the exam August 30 or 31.  If you don’t mind giving up a summer, you can spend it with the ExamMatrix CPA Review and knock out two exam sections!


Failed CPA Exam Section – Now What?

Failing a CPA Exam can be a lot like walking from Los Angeles to San Francisco:  Just as you are about to finish the trek, you are told you have to start all over.  The thought of having to start over with your studying and test review process can be overwhelming.

What do you do with a most reviews except just start all over, right?  If you switch to ExamMatrix, that won’t be the case.  Instead, our adaptive learning will isolate your problem areas and create study sessions that are focused on those areas.  In other words, we make you study more in the areas that you scored low in on the actual exam.  And instead of just starting all over and doing the exact same with the CPA Review course that did not work for you the first time, we will help you find those missing points you need to pass the exam.  An instead of studying again like you are walking from Los Angeles to San Francisco, we will start you off in, say, Daly City instead.