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This Is the One Time You Study to the Test

Posted by Dr. Phil Yaeger on May 25, 2019 10:00 AM

This Is the One Time You Study to the Test

If you don't read this whole post, remember this: Even if you don't use us, use the blueprints. They're important. They're a great tool. They will help you pass the CPA Exam and become a CPA.

When studying for any one of the CPA Exams, the sheer quantity of material available to be tested (and therefore material to study) can be overwhelming. Meanwhile, it's no secret that the intensity of the exams is a simulation of the real world and a practitioner's life in accounting. You WILL need to know this information in your life as a CPA. Luckily, you'll have reference materials available for use after the Exam. That's is why I will tell you to study to the test - and be specific. As specific as possible! And no, we don't mean "buy our materials because they're the best" (this is not a sales pitch); it's a declaration. I'm taking a stand, and it's not about my review school or me. I'm sick and tired of candidates not going into the Exam adequately prepared.


What are the AICPA Blueprints?

Short answer: They are a roadmap to the CPA Exam that are written by the AICPA (you know, those people that write the CPA Exam) that can be downloaded here.

In more detail, the blueprints are a skill framework developed based on the Bloom Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (to nerd out on the details of what exactly Bloom's Taxonomy is, check out the wikipedia page) to "assist candidates in preparing for the exam by outlining the knowledge and skills that may be tested." The approximately 600 representative tasks (covering all four exams) of the blueprints are designed to test each candidate on the skills needed to perform the work of a newly licensed CPA.


Why do the Blueprints Matter?

In layperson terms, the blueprints help narrow down that massive breath of material to tell candidates what tasks they will need to perform on the exam. That doesn’t mean one of the blueprints will be “know GAAP and IFRS” - that blueprint would read “determine the impact of the differences between IFRS and U.S. GAAP on the financial statements” (we didn't make that up, that is an actual blueprint: FAR III.L.2).

The blueprints don't stop after giving you a topic. This great tool tells you to what extent or what depth you need to know the topic!

Example: FAR III.L.2 is an application blueprint, so be prepared to take the GAAP / IFRS difference from concept to calculation.

From this information, you know that this topic isn't something you can memorize the rule and move on. You have to understand how to solve the problem, applying the concept. Critical thinking skills are required, and a real understanding of the not only the concept but also how to apply the concept, as well as how your result affects other parts of the financial statements, will be required to correctly answer that blueprint.


How do I use the Blueprints When Studying?

By paying attention to the blueprint topics AND level (remembering and understanding, application, analysis, or evaluation), you can focus your studying and make the most efficient use of your study time. That's why I'm going to say this again:

Even if you don't use us, use the blueprints. They're important. They're a great tool. They will help you pass the CPA Exam and become a CPA.

Study to the TestWe recommend that every candidate prints out a copy of the blueprints, especially if your course doesn't fully integrate the blueprints into all of their materials like Yaeger does. As you hit each topic, ask yourself if you understand each blueprint and what the level is asking for. Anything that you feel unsure of is a good place to focus additional study time on.

The blueprints are an amazing tool to help you study and we believe that EVERYONE should use them. That’s why we fully integrate the blueprints into all of our materials- books, lectures, flashcards, everything. Check us out when you're looking for CPA exam review materials, or as a supplement to your existing course. You can find all of our products (and check out our new subscription plan) at

Note: Some of you may realize that this sounds familiar to an update I wrote recently. This is the original version - what you read was shortened so meet the character restriction requirements on various social media platforms. This topic is important enough that I wanted to share my thoughts in their entirety.

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