It takes time and hard work to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) recommends studying for at least 300 to 400 hours to pass the CPA exam. Naturally, some people will need to study more or less, depending on how quickly they pick up the material.
Regardless of how long you need to study to pass the exam, becoming a CPA requires dedication, commitment, and plenty of time. Not just to pass the exam, but also to complete the educational requirements, work experience, and additional study throughout your career.
In short, you won’t become a CPA in six months. However, there are people who have passed the exam in nine months. You may or may not be able to achieve that speed, but there are ways you can fast-track your career, and it all starts with taking a CPA prep course.
What is a CPA prep course?
A CPA prep course takes the four main sections of the CPA exam and breaks them down into smaller sections with targeted lessons designed to make learning the material easier. Each section is accompanied by a series of practice exams with questions that will truly prepare you for the real exam.
With some CPA prep courses, you’ll get the material, and then you’ll be on your own to study and pass the practice exams; you won’t be able to ask questions and get individual support.
With other courses, like the Wiley CPA prep course, you’ll get access to 1-on-1 support provided by industry-recognized professionals. If you’re going to pass the exam on the first try, it’s recommended to have a mentor to help you identify areas of weakness to focus more on those areas.
CPA prep courses are better than a study group
Most CPA prep courses are administered online rather than in person. Although, you can probably find an in-person study group if you look hard enough. However, prep courses are more efficient than study groups.
Study groups tend to be more like social groups that share ideas while studying together, yet each person studies using their own methods. There’s no real direction or intention when consuming information. That’s not always a bad thing, but you need targeted strategies if you want to get your CPA license quickly.
CPA prep courses provide high-quality questions
You’ve probably taken several practice tests that used watered-down, vague questions that didn’t take much thought to answer correctly. These types of practice tests seem like they’re designed to pass the time rather than truly prepare you for the real test.
The practice exams you’ll take in your CPA prep course are different. In fact, the top prep courses provide more than ten thousand practice questions that mimic what you’ll find on the real exam. The questions will make you think, contemplate, and use your knowledge to solve problems.
CPA prep courses use up-to-date study material
When you utilize a study group to prepare for the CPA exam, you won’t have access to the latest information. Your text books could be out of date and your study mates might not have revised materials, either.
A CPA prep course will provide you with up-to-date materials that comply with the highest standards in the industry. When you take a prep course from a reputable organization, you’ll know you can trust the content you’re studying.
A CPA prep course prepares you for the required work experience
Passing the CPA exam is just one step in the process of becoming a Certified Public Accountant. You’ll also need around two years of work experience in a related field. The specific requirement varies by state.
By taking a CPA prep course, you’re not just cramming information into your head so you can pass the test. The prep course will help you truly learn the information, so you’ll be able to apply that knowledge in real-world situations.
This level of learning will prove critical when you get your first job in the field. You want to arrive on the job with true knowledge, not just a surface-level memorization of data.
Fast-tracking your CPA career begins with efficiency
A CPA prep course is the most efficient way to study for the exam. The faster and more efficiently you can absorb the information, the sooner you’ll get certified and will be on your way to building your career as a CPA.