As another school year gets underway around the nation, another breed of aspiring accounting and finance professionals begin their search for their next step. Whether it’s applying for an internship, completing the masters of accounting program, or preparing for the CPA or CFA exam, these young professionals and students rely on their education and intelligence to take them to the next level.

Burchard & Associates is a proud affiliate member of the American Association of Finance & Accounting (AAFA). Through this affiliation we have partnered with Becker Professional Education to provide candidates discounts on its CPA and CFA Exam reviews.

There’s no sugarcoating it—reviewing for the CPA exam is a difficult, stressful and often overwhelming experience. The process is going to get trickier, as well, with the significant changes to the exam in 2011. Whether you study with Becker or any other review provider, it’s important to create and adhere to a productive and manageable study routine that works best for you. To be successful, you have to know more than just the materials— you have to know the basics that people often forget. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind.

  1. Everything starts with a plan. Your parents and teachers always stressed organization and time management. Well, this is the time to put these tools to use. Develop a realistic study schedule that you can stick to. Establish daily and weekly goals. Having structured study habits will do wonders to lower your stress levels.
  2. Practice. Your review guides provide practice material for a reason. Tackle the questions, wipe the sweat off your forehead, and tackle them again. Stay persistent with your review questions. If you start to stumble, take a break and try them again. The adage “practice makes perfect” hasn’t lasted this long for nothing!
  3. Stay sane. You’re allowed to maintain somewhat of a life while studying for these exams. Take breaks—exercise, go to a movie, even have a cocktail or two at happy hour. It’s important to stay on the right path and keep an eye on the goal—but stopping at a rest stop every once in a while will boost your morale and confidence.
  4. Be patient. It will be easy to get frustrated at your review guide or yourself. Things won’t make sense and numbers will blur together. Just remember to be patient, take a step back, and start again. Also, be patient when waiting for scores. There’s nothing you can do once you finish. Either begin studying your next section or, time permitting, take some time off.
  5. Believe in yourself. This may seem obvious, but it must be reiterated. If you are studying or taking the exam with the mentality that you are not prepared or will do poorly, you’ll probably be right. If you are well-prepared, confident in your abilities, and believe in yourself, you will be one step closer to becoming a CPA.