Taking the CPA Exam with Kids

Hi. I need some advice. I am using Wiley and I am getting good scores on the software, but am not passing the exam. I watch the lectures and do the MC questions and SIMS. I am pressed for time as I have 2 young kids and work FT. Any study tips you have that you can share would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! - Kris H.


They say if you can teach it then you truly understand it. It's possible you've started to remember at least some of the answers but aren't completely grasping the why or how. I know how you feel, 3 kids, 1 FT and 1 side business but they only way I've passed and have gotten past that 75 was to review the answer keys and jot down VERY short notes, as if you were only able to glance at them for a presentation. Then act it out as if you're teaching it. I know it sounds silly but if you catch yourself unable to take a small tidbit of information and explain it to someone who doesn't understand, even if that person is fictional, then you haven't fully grasped it. I passed REG after 2 attempts bc I like taxes lol, but AUD took me 3 tries and I just passed BEC on my 4th, 4th attempt at FAR next week and I can tell you that, for me, I didn't pass until I wrote down small notes and pretended to teach someone. Also a BIG difference is I've taken off the day before each exam and spent the whole day doing this. It's made a tremendous difference. Then on test day I get there by 9 after dropping the kids off, grab breakfast and a snack (to eliminate unnecessary breaks) and review those notes in my car until my test at 1. But when I review, I briefly explain it, I do NOT reread the notes like a zombie. That won't help. Doing this is hard, add kids and jobs and you'll think you were crazy lol! - Tara C.

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Free Access to Professional Literature

Did you know CPA Exam candidates can receive access to professional literature via the AICPA?

CPA Exam Candidates: Free On-line Access to Professional Literature Package

CPA exam candidates can get a free six-month subscription to professional literature used in the computerized CPA Examination. This online package includes AICPA Professional Standards, FASB Original Pronouncements and FASB Accounting Standards Codification.

Only candidates who have applied to take the CPA exam, and have been deemed eligible by state boards of accountancy, will receive access to this package of professional literature.

NASBA: Subscribe here to request your free professional literature

Access to Professional Literature (AICPA)

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Choosing the Best Study Materials

As you can imagine, this is a big, BIG question at the study groups.  I'll be dropping member's feedback here ... check out the comments and feel free to contribute!

(via Amanda W.) Honestly, I think any of the major providers work, the more important thing is your study strategy and the time dedicated. Practicing MCQs and Sims more than anything else, vs. focusing on reading and memorization, etc.

I think practicing MCQs and Sims is a better use of your time than reading and memorizing, at least for FAR because of how much material you have to go through. Best, then, to get self-study material that will allow you to use something like a Study mode (where, after finishing a single Sim or MCQ, even if not done with the set, you will see an answer and explanation). Any that don't allow that are fine if you can take 1 question MCQ or sim with them. The important thing is immediate feedback, which fosters immediate/faster learning.

But, again, it depends on what you want to be your main method of tackling the material. How soon do you want to feel like you're "getting" somewhere. How you want your study objectives organized. What "extra" stuff you want the package to have to help you with your method.

As you can see... it's complicated. I know where you're coming from, though. But honestly, you can succeed with any major CPA package... it's how you use the resources that matter, more or less.

(speaking so big and confidently even though she hasn't even taken the exam yet and is totally not ready for this, haha) - Amanda W.

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The Uniform CPA Examination® consists of several question types that test the knowledge and skills required of entry-level CPAs. You can familiarize yourself with the format and functionality of the exam by practicing with the sample tests for each section and reviewing the tutorial topics, which are found under the “Help” button within each sample test. - AICPA

You can find the sample tests and tutorial topics here: 

CPA Exam Sample Tests and Tutorial Topics


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