Tips for Success - Part 6

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

(26) – When they talk about preparing for the CPA Exam, a lot of people tell me “I just have trouble getting started. I need something to motivate me.” At such times, I am always reminded of the quote from one of the best-known artist of our day, Chuck Close: “Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

I think there is something important about making work a normal part of our lives. Yeah, there are days when you really do feel inspired to leap tall buildings in a single bound. But, most days are not like that. If you are going to pass the CPA Exam, you cannot constantly wait for some great surge of energy. If you can get into a regular routine (“I try to study one hour each day, no matter what,” as an example), I think studying becomes much easier. You don’t have to think about it; you just do it.

I like to tell people that “hours equal points” and I believe that is absolutely true when you are preparing for the CPA Exam (and most other things). I think the sooner those hours become a fairly regular pattern in your life, the easier it is to do the work necessary to add those points.

(27) - Candidates often get so busy studying for the CPA Exam that they stop exercising. Bad idea. Several times each week go out and get in 15-20 minutes of exercise. Take a walk, ride a bike, jump rope, jog a little. You don’t need to get obsessed---but 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a week can be a great help to your score. It will ease your tensions and give you more energy. It gets your adrenalin pumping. It will make you feel better about yourself. It only makes sense: If you can gain more energy and more good feelings about yourself, you are miles closer to passing.

Most people will respond to this particular piece of advice with: “I just don’t have time.” And, my response is always the same: “Well, make time!!!” Exercise will help you pass the CPA Exam. There is no excuse not to do it. If you don't exercise, you really aren't willing to make the sacrifices necessary to pass.

(28) – About 30 years ago, I read a book titled Psycho Cybernetics which really has had a positive influence on my life. The book basically said that you could do almost anything better if you mentally visualize doing it in advance and work to visualize doing it especially well. You are training your mind and body to replicate that feeling. So, before a class or a speech, I visualize going through my words and my ideas and focus on everything working extremely well. In fact, I did this recently before giving a speech in Philadelphia.

For my students, I always suggest visualization at two specific times. First, on days when you are planning to study, spend some time visualizing a successful study experience. Try to get a feel for reading questions where everything is crystal clear and understandable and you know what they want and how to get it. Visualize that you study for a long period of time and continue to stay strong. We’ve all had that type of experience while we study; why can’t we have it every time we study? Visualize success.

And, then, before you actually take a section of the CPA Exam, visualize an absolutely perfect experience. Your mind is clear and sharp and you see the words with clarity and understand each question and how to get the answer. Again, visualize the feel of success.

A lot of athletes visualize having a successful game before they actually play it.

Okay, you cannot turn a lack of knowledge into brilliance in this way but you can maximize your own knowledge. Most people know enough to pass the CPA Exam; they just have trouble getting it out of their brains successfully. Visualizing success can really help.

(29) – When I taught live review classes, I had a “you need to get serious” discussion at the end of the first day. One of my suggestions, while you prepare for the exam, is that all major distractions must be put completely out of reach. I usually closed that pep talk with the plea: “take a big sheet of paper and tape it directly over the face of your television and leave it there until you pass the exam.” Today, I might update that to include computer screens, smart phones, tablets, video games, and beer.

The truth is that life is just full of wonderful distractions that are constantly calling us to come out and play. Many of us have become addicted to distractions. It is easy to let those distractions eat up all of your valuable productive time so that, at the end of the day, we have accomplished nothing real.

Make a list of your favorite distractions. Yes, you do know what they are. Then, decide how you are going to limit the amount of your time they consume. If you cannot control your own distractions, you might as well forget about the CPA Exam or any other true accomplishments in life. There are only 24 hours in a day and every minute you allow yourself to get distracted is a minute less that you have for the CPA Exam. Make it your goal, starting right now, to identify your personal distractions and begin to put a limit on them. In today’s world, this might be my very best piece of advice.

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See Tips for Success--Part 7

You can do it!


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