Skip to main content

How to Prepare for the CPA Exam (Podcast Show Notes)

By August 27, 2019March 13th, 2022CPA Exam News

Do you want to know what the best way to study for the CPA Exam is? Wondering how much attention you should pay to grammar and punctuation on BEC’s written communication? Wondering how many students pass the CPA Exam on the first try?

To explore these questions and more, I interviewed Mike Decker on the CPA Review & More Podcast.

Mike is the Vice President of Examinations for the AICPA, in charge of the team of people who write the CPA Exam. Mike has been with the AICPA for over 11 years, working as the VP of Examinations for the last five.

Below you’ll find a brief summary of our interview topics with time stamps. To hear the entire episode, click here or stream it on Spotify, iHeart Radio, iTunes, and most Android platforms.

<<white paper / pdf link>>

Guest Introduction, AICPA Examination Team Overview – 1:41

A brief discussion about Mike’s background, including various positions that he’s held within the AICPA, as well as a breakdown of the Examination Team structure.

How The Exam is Built, Scored, And Graded (Bonus! How to Pass BEC’s WC) – 4:02

Mike and Phil discuss how the Exam is built, score, and graded, and how students should prep for BEC’s Written Communication section, including ESL students. Phil shares his favorite tool to improve grammar and sentence structure.

What Are The Blueprints, And To Use them – 10:30

Learn what The AICPA Blueprints are and why they are essential to studying for the exam. Mike shares how the Blueprints were constructed them and how candidates can use them to pass the CPA Exam.

Studying With Multiple Choice Questions – 14:52

Based on focus groups and test data, Mike shares his opinion on the best way to study for MCQs based on test data. Also, learn the origins of the MCQs that candidates use to practice with.

Task-Based Simulations – 19:26

Mike offers his advice on studying for task-based simulations and developing critical thinking skills for the exam.

Passing Rates – 24:35

How many candidates who sit for at least one Exam section end up with a CPA license? What is the pass rate for each Exam section? What percentage of candidates pass all four sections on their first attempt?

What’s The Deal With The Diagnostic Report – 28:21

How do you use the diagnostic report to help you study for your retake exam? Learn what the “weaker, comparable, and stronger” terms mean in the diagnostic report. Also, is time a factor in grading the test?

Should We Re-evaluate The CPA As A License For Public accounting? – 36:26

With the rates of the number of CPA Candidates dropping over the past several years, where is the CPA License heading? Are we to expect changes to the CPA Exam from The AICPA?

To hear the full interview, listen to the Podcast now at or stream it on Spotify, iHeart Radio, iTunes, and most Android platforms.