EagertoLearnMore wrote:What would you suggest doing to study? There are courses offered by Becker as well as buying books and studying on your own.
Is one way better than the other? Are there online study guides for CPA exam as well?
I took the live-class version of Becker and I definitely recommend taking them. It is expensive, there is no doubt about it, but I think Becker was essential to my success. First, the material you get in Becker is up to par, totally what you need to study for the exam. The sample questions, final exams, tests, and simulations look just like the CPA exams you take and so you're not shocked when you first take the test, that plus a lot of of the questions were similar if not exactly like that on your problems. Becker works tireslessy to update all your software, questions, materials and so you're up to date on all your materials.
I took the live-class version (Saturdays for eight hours) mainly for the motivational aspect. By taking the live classes, I was forced to keep up with the reading and do the homework before the class met again so I wasn't putting things off and I wasn't prolonging each test. Each class section is about a month long with fifteen days until the next section begins. That was the time I gave myself to study and take the exams and not get behind because it is extremely easy to get behind. The teachers are also spectacular, they're all CPAs out working in the field, they have great experience, and they know the material like the back of their hand. They tell you which areas to really focus on and explain things differently from the book which makes certain areas faster to grasp than if you read the books. They also show you how to approach the questions and not get distracted by the amount of information in the question. A lot of the CPA exams is learning just how to read the question and answering it without getting distracted by the numerous amount of information they put you in to trick you or get you distracted. Some people work better by themselves and don't need the live-class version and if you're disciplined and you know that you can study and keep up by yourself, you don't need the live-class version, since it is more personal preference than anything. What they teach you in class is exactly what you get in CD-version.
As far as how I personally approached the exams. For each section, I first read each chapter in it's entirety and answer the questions (not worrying if I can them wrong or right) just to get through the questions. This takes time, there are lots and lots of question and they take hours to answer. I do this for each class, staying a step ahead of the section we cover. Once the class is over, I then re-read the chapters again as boring as it is, then re-do all the questions. Then I start testing myself on the little quizzes until I get them right. After this, I just start doing the questions over and over again until I'm getting 100% on everything. I don't take the final exam until two-three days before actually sitting for the exam. I just work on all the problems other than those. I probably do the final exam about two times, three if I have the time then review what I'm not comfortable with and whether I'm ready or not, sit for the exam.
Each person is different to their study habits. I study 7 days a week with no break. Monday's through Fridays when I work, I study no less than 5 hours a day usually till midnight once I get home. Saturday are my eight hour classes and I just attend the class and take the rest of the evening off and Sundays, I study about 6-8 hours. It's hard, especially when you work, have class or a family, but there is no other option unless you give yourself more time. I doing each test in a month and half. You have to spend at least 30 hours a week studying minimum and when they tell you that you won't have a life, It's true.
If nothing else, read your material and do all the question over and over again. Good Luck.