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Preparing for the CPA Exam

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When you're preparing for accountant employment or are looking for accounts jobs, one of the things you are going to have to do is to prepare for the CPA exam. The CPA exam, formally known as the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination, is just one part of your preparation, of course; you'll also have to make sure you have all the required experience and education.

The CPA exam is not easy, that's true, but those who are on the road to accounting careers already know that, and you probably do, too. Nonetheless, it's something you have to take and pass in order to become a certified public accountant, or CPA.

What are the parts of the exam and required percentages to pass?



The audit section requires a 49.1% score, business environment concepts 47.49%, financial accounting and reporting 49.21%, and regulation 48.74%.

It behooves you to prepare carefully for the CPA exam well in advance of taking it; here are some things you should know.

Where you get your accounting degree counts

When you are going to enroll in an accounting program, make sure you check first to see how many graduates from the program pass the CPA exam. Those institutions with the most rigorous programs have the most graduates from the programs pass the CPA exam.

Use your learning style to best advantage when you're preparing

There are lots of different CPA exam preparation methods out there, so choose the one that will fit your learning strengths best. For example, if you retain information best by reading it, buy DVDs or texts. If you have trouble organizing your time, taking traditional, formal, ''in classroom'' classes may work out best for you, so that you have to show up and actually put in the time. Or, if you have a mix of different learning styles, you can take an Internet-based course and read the textbook, too, plus do drills and practice online.

Check the price

The CPA exam has a new four-part structure, so when you check programs, ask about each program's success with the new four-part exam format. The study program you buy should offer a money back guarantee and let you return materials, too.

Getting review materials
You can also check out Amazon or eBay for used review materials if you want to save yourself some money, but make sure that they are current enough that they match the current version of the test. Some of the most popular companies that offer these review materials include John Wiley and Sons, Rigos Professional Education Programs, Lambers Review Courses, Kaplan, Gleim Publications, Bisk Education, and Becker.

Only you can study

Finally, remember that because the CPA exam is so rigorous, only you can put in the study time necessary to be prepared for the test. If you've been serious enough to pursue an accounting degree in hopes of an accounting career, you shouldn't slack off now and think that you can simply glide through the test. Experts say that you should put in between 450 and 500 hours of study time for the test before you take it. Over a period of about four months, that's about 30 hours a week of study time. Rigorous! Yes, but worth it if you want to pass your CPA exam in order to be prepared for accounting careers.
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