Tips for Success - Part 5

(21) – If you have read my weekly email lessons for any period of time, you know that I am a strong believer in internal motivation. Unless you really, really want to pass the CPA Exam, it is just difficult for you to do the work necessary to pass. You’ve got to want it so badly that you dream about it.

(22) - When studying for the CPA Exam, The following are a continuation of tips to help you pass the CPA exam from Joe Hoyle, co-founder of CPA review for Free:

However, at times, we all wear out and need a bit of an external push – something to get us pumped back up. Feeling down occasionally is natural. There is nothing wrong with looking outside for some motivation.

For me, some movies will get my energy level back up. I love “Rocky” and “Hoosiers” – both stories about underdogs who come through like champions. But, my favorite motivational movie is “Stand and Deliver.” It is a story about a high school math teacher who works in a very rough and tough high school and convinces his students to work as hard as they can to pass their AP (Advanced Placement) exams. It is hard to watch that movie and not want to go out and study for an exam.

But that is me. Yes, you need to get most of your motivation from your own heart. However, there are times when an outside push really helps. We are all human. Think about what gets you pumped up and make time for that now and then as you go through your work routine.

If you miss questions and get upset, it does you no good. If you miss questions and don’t pay close attention to the answer, it does you no good. If you miss questions because you were careless when reading the answer, it does you no good.

Some questions are tricky and you just never see how they work. That’s life. That’s why you don’t shoot for 100. But, when you miss a question and analyze the answer and suddenly see exactly how it is done and say “Oh, I see how it works now,” then you really have made progress. And, passing the CPA exam is all about making progress. As with any journey, if you make progress, you will eventually get there.

(23) – I was at a friend’s house a couple of days ago and noticed on his computer that his screen saver was the simply phrase: “Expectations Become Reality.” Interesting idea to remind yourself of several times each day as you look at your computer screen. What are your expectations? Do you fully expect to get the CPA Exam knocked out in a reasonable period of time? Do you fully expect to be organized and effective as you prepare? Do you fully expect to accomplish great things over the coming year 12 months?

Honest expectations that you are going to succeed are very helpful as you go through each day. If nothing else, they just give you energy.

However, expectations that you are going to come up short and fail can undermine every single thing you try to accomplish in life. It is extremely difficult to climb tall mountains if you really expect to be lazy, distracted, and careless. It is always tough to become the winner if you expect to be the loser. As you look forward to the next 12 months, work on having positive expectations for yourself and dash away any and all negative expectations. Remember, if you cling to those negatives, you are probably helping them to come true.

I’ll leave you with a great baseball quote from David Oglivy, a well-known advertising executive: “Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals.”

(24) – Here is one of the best tips that I can ever give you: learn to work/study when other people are not. It shows that you really do have the burning desire to reach your goal. It shows that you have the self-discipline to reach your goal. And, if you have both the desire and the self-discipline, the world opens up to you.

You don’t have to work 24/7 but if you can pick up just an hour or two each week when no one else is adding points, it puts you way ahead of the pack. Friday nights, Saturday mornings, holidays – there are so many times when people normally don’t get any work done. If you can turn on your computer and answer a few of our questions and carefully read our answers, you are adding points.

But it is more than that. You will also feel better about yourself; you just feel stronger. “I can do this!” is a wonderful thing to say as you work along. And, if you can do the work with a bit of joy and energy and not whining and fussing, that is an even better sign.

(Time for a break – keep in mind, in college the teacher wants you to answer every question on every test just perfectly. On the CPA Exam, you just want to get enough points to make 75 and pass.)

(25) - When I taught live CPA Exam review classes, I stressed that virtually every question on the exam is testing your knowledge of one particular rule. For example, with a bond, what is the rule on how interest expense is calculated? For consolidated statements, what is the rule on determining goodwill?

As you read each question, think about what rule is being tested and whether you know that rule well enough to arrive at the answer. Then, as you study each answer, look for any parts of the rule that you are unsure about. Think of your preparation in terms of learning how each rule works. I am convinced that a person could write down a couple hundred basic rules and be able to pass that particular part of the CPA Exam.

So, as you take notes, avoid long rambling explanations that will quickly be forgotten. Try to boil your notes down to 10 words that answer the essential question: how does the rule work here?

See Tips for Success--Part 6

Go do it!


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