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Setting Study Goals without Overwhelming Yourself

Posted by Dr. Phil Yaeger on Oct 09, 2020 11:00 AM

Setting Study Goals without Overwhelming Yourself

You’ve decided to get your CPA license, and now it’s time to begin studying for the exam. Congratulations! But when you see the amount of content covered on the CPA Exams, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the material. One of the first things to do is to set study goals for yourself.

Setting Study Goals without Overwhelming Yourself

Study the Numbers

Research shows that the average study time per exam is between 80 and 100 hours. You may fall outside this range, but it’s a helpful place to start budgeting your time. For the first exam, we’d recommend tracking the amount of time you spend studying.

Hand holding a stopwatchSpecifically, test drive a week: see how much study time you can put in during this week. Then reflect:

  • Was that week representative of your life?
  • Do you see areas you are wasting time?
  • Do you see ways you could optimize your study time, such as by rearranging your schedule or relocating your study zone?

Use this as a basis for determining how much time you can commit to studying.

Know yourself

Do you study best when you have a deadline? If so, map out the number of weeks you need and then schedule your exam early to force yourself to stay on track. Or does that cause you too much stress? If so, you may be better off not scheduling your exam until you feel close to being ready to take it.

It’s great to have a plan and a rough outline for passing all four exams, but give yourself some flexibility in case you don’t pass them all on the first try or another pandemic disrupts the system again.

Use the AICPA Blueprints (i.e. a good CPA review course)

Any good CPA review course out there is based on the Blueprints, so if you follow your course, you should hit all the key topics. Also, review courses specialize in helping students pace their studies, so take advantage of their time management tools. Finally, they will keep track of goals for you, such as:

  • The number of modules to complete in a week
  • When to start taking practice exams, how many to take, and how you are scoring
  • Your overall progress towards goals
  • Weak areas to revisit

We’d highly recommend Yaeger for all these purposes and more! Take a look now.

Work Smarter

Photo of a goal calendar

Make time to reflect on your progress each week. This exercise will give you a chance to set new goals, adjust your current ones, and highlight areas to improve. Doing so could save you dozens of study hours by making you more productive when you do study.

Also, remember you can only do one thing at a time, so focus on the task at hand.


Final Tip

Be okay with passing. Scoring in the 90s is fantastic, but how important is that to you? No one knows your score once you get that CPA license, so set the goal of passing. You may surprise yourself by scoring even higher, but don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself!

Interested in using Yaeger’s top-rated course as a guide in setting your study goals and schedule? Check it out here.

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