It's Not The Best Test Taker...

From Joe: On the way home one night, I listened to a Miami versus Boston pro basketball game. From what I could tell, it was a great game. Both teams played incredibly hard and really played at a high level.

To me, there is always the fascinating question – how do people get to be so very good at something? How did these individuals become some of the best basketball players on the planet?

Sure, pure talent is very helpful. We all know that. But there are a lot of very talented players in pro basketball. What makes some of them winners more than others? More...

I think if you had asked those players on Saturday night how they managed to get there, you would hear a lot of them say things like:

--I spent an incredible amount of time in the weight room last summer – pushing myself to get stronger.

--I ran a thousand wind sprints in the off-season helping myself to get more endurance.

--I ran the same play over and over hundreds of times in practice so I could get it right.

--I watch what I eat very closely so I don’t gain any unnecessary weight that will slow me down.

The point is obvious. Success is not easy. Success is never easy. It takes a lot of hard work. And most of that hard work takes place weeks and months in advance at a time far removed from the glory.

Yeah, once you walk into the room to take the CPA Exam, it is important to stay calm. It is important to read the questions carefully. It is important to think back to what you’ve learned. It is important to think about the rules and how each question relates to those rules.

But (and this is especially true for those of you who have not taken the CPA Exam previously), nothing beats hard work for success. People often talk about passing or failing the CPA Exam based on what they did once they reached the test site. Nonsense. Virtually everyone passes or fails the CPA Exam based on what they did in the 1-2 months leading up to the test. On the day of the exam, you can probably move your grade up 4-5 points or down 4-5 points based on how strong you are on that day– how focused and careful you are. But the other 70 or so points all come from the work in the month or two leading up to the exam.

That’s where the hard work pays off.

That’s where the sacrifices make a difference.

That’s where avoiding distractions helps you to succeed.

If you want to be the best, you have to learn how to be the “best preparer.” My guess is that, in anything in life you want to do, if you can become the “best preparer,” you will become an out and out success. People will look at you and just be baffled: “How did he (or she) manage to get so good?”

That’s easy – it is not being the best test taker that counts. It is being the best preparer.

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