Should I Start Studying Now for the CPA Exam?

Updated:November 20, 2018
Jason Galaif, CPA

In a word, yes, you should begin to study. And yes, the CPA Exam is changing, but that’s not a reason to put off studying. If you want to become a CPA, stop procrastinating and start today. The CPA Exam went through some pretty significant changes that will begin April 1st. One of those changes won’t be immediately reflected in the exam—it’s the exam’s continued evolution.

The AICPA is implementing processes gained from its practice analysis to make gradual and continual changes in the CPA Exam. This means the exam will be updated every two years from now on.

Preparatory Review Courses

Now is the best time to start studying.I get a ton of emails asking me whether or not the review courses will be relevant for the upcoming changes to the CPA Exam. The simple answer is yes. The companies you’ll find reviewed on this site are chosen because they offer the best CPA review courses that will help you prepare for the exam. I go through each and every one of them to ensure they’re good enough and I can assure you that they are on top of the CPA Exam changes.

Instead of focusing on whether or not a course is going to be updated (because they will) focus on which one better suits your learning style. They each have their own pros and cons, so figure out what’s going to better align with how you prefer to study. The content will match up with what you can expect on the exam, and the best companies work closely with the AICPA during the practice analysis to help determine the best means of assessing and what should be included on each section.

Exam Windows

The CPA Exam is offered the first two months of each quarter with the third month being a blackout month (except for the first ten days of the month, during which you can sit). So, you need to figure out how long you want to take to study for each section. And, you definitely need to commit. I can tell you from experience that if you don’t commit and get serious about your studying, you will fail and you will waste tons of time and money.

I wasted over $400 on testing fees for failing to take two of the sections after paying for all four at once. Then the first section I passed expired in the 18-month window. I failed two more sections while passing one in between, and had another section expire before finishing the rest. After all that I passed three sections in two months because I couldn’t stand all the partial successes ending up as failures. This accumulation of failures followed by a rapid success to complete the journey has helped me become an expert in the CPA Exam.

The Application Process

The first thing to do is make sure you’re qualified to take the CPA Exam. The process varies from state to state, but the majority of what you need to do is the same across the country. I’ve outlined the entire process here. The biggest takeaway I can give you about the process is to not wait. You don’t need your NTS (Notice to Schedule) to start studying. Choose a review course that’s in line with your learning style and get started. Use some supplemental learning resources and begin your journey immediately! Trust me. I’ve made all the mistakes one can make and I cannot stress the importance of not waiting enough. If you have any free time, then there’s no excuse. Start studying for the CPA Exam now. Good luck!



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