Skip to main content

10-Day CPA Exam Review Study Strategy

Preparing for and passing all four parts of the CPA is a long and strenuous process. It takes serious commitment and discipline to pass the exams and earn your CPA license. Remember to stay focused and committed to your study plan and goals. You will pass your next CPA exam!

I want to share my 10-day CPA exam review strategy. In my study plan, I categorize the CPA preparation into the learning stage and the review stage. The learning stage involves listening to the lectures, taking notes on the lectures, and answering the multiple choice questions. Follow the link to see my do's and don'ts on how to best study for the CPA using Becker. Once you have covered all the material and formed a strong learning foundation, it is time to move onto the review stage! I will cover in detail my review stage study strategy for the CPA exams.

Becker, which I used as my CPA exam review course, recommends two weeks to review the material before taking the exam. I believe that is too long; instead, I highly recommend spending 10 days to review the material. Below, I will detail my 10-day review strategy to help prepare you for the CPA exam. My 10-day review strategy utilizes Becker CPA review materials, but you should be able to relate the review guide to any other CPA review course. Additionally, please see my guide on how to study for the CPA exam using Becker because I rely on steps discussed in the post during my review stage. My CPA material review strategy should effectively and efficiently prepare you to take and pass each section of the CPA exam. Please follow the detailed review steps below.

Related Posts
Preparing for the CPA Exam: How to Study for the CPA exam using Becker?
20 Study Tips & Tricks for the CPA Exam
What to expect when becoming a certified public accountant

Tax Credits for Students
Education Tax Credits: The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit Explained
Education Tax Credits: The American Opportunity Tax Credit Explained

10-Day CPA Material Review Strategy

Day 1 - Day 4

During the first several days, you will review your handwritten notes. I suggest reviewing two chapters a day. In order to do so, simply read over your notes, highlighting and further annotating the important note sections. Additionally, it is helpful to flip through the textbook and read over the in-text examples and in-text problems while reviewing the chapter modules.

When you finish reviewing your notes and examples for a chapter, take a practice test (not a simulated exam). Set the practice test to 10 MC and 0 simulations. If you score a 70% or higher, move onto the next chapter or end the study day. Repeat this step for each chapter. The amount of days required for the initial review will vary per test (three days for AUD & BEC, four days for REG, and five days for FAR).

Day 5 (assume we are studying for REG)

Once you finished reviewing your notes and working the in-text problems, it is time to take your first simulated exam. I like to review the material before taking a simulated exam because it allows you to refresh your understanding; therefore, the results of the simulated exam better reflect your strengths, weaknesses, and progress. During this day, complete the entire simulated exam. This should take you three to four hours to finish. After finishing and giving yourself a break, review the results of the exam. Go through each multiple choice question and takes notes on the questions that caused confusion. Additionally, review the simulations, taking notes on the general concepts tested in the sims. After completing and reviewing the simulated exam, you are done studying for the day!

Day 6 - Day 8

Now it is time to start the Becker Final Review. Divide the sections into three days, which should be a manageable task. When reading a section, highlight and annotate the Final Review textbook. I prefer to read the textbook myself rather than to listen to the lectures. Additionally, complete the in-text multiple choice questions and simulations. When you finish a section, complete all the section multiple choice questions located on Becker's downloadable Final Review software. Repeat this step until you finish the Final Review textbook. I find that reading and annotating Final Review solidifies my understanding of the topics presented. It is my favorite step in the CPA exam review stage.

Day 9

Take another simulated exam. However, when taking the second simulated exam, only complete the multiple choice questions located in the first two testlets. Once you complete the multiple choice testlets, skip through the rest of the simulated exam. After finishing, review the multiple choice questions. Determine the areas you need extra practice in by analyzing the simulated exam results. You should spend a couple hours practicing and reviewing troublesome areas today. 

Day 10

Continue to review and practice the troublesome topics. Spend the day focusing and mastering these difficult topics. Make sure you feel comfortable with all the material and use your final day wisely. It is also important not to panic today. You know more than you think you do. Remember to get a good night sleep and wake up ready to take on the CPA exam. Good luck!

In conclusion

Studying for the CPA exam is no easy task. I would be skeptical about any three-week or less study plan. Please remember that my 10-day CPA exam review strategy occurs after the learning stage, where you build a learning foundation of the tested material. All in all, you should feel confident on the exam day after following my 10-day CPA review strategy. 

Please let me know what you think of the study strategy! Also, share the strategy with your friends and family who may benefit from learning how to effectively and efficiently prepare for the CPA exam. Please share any and all comments, questions, and concerns below. Happy studies and good luck on your next CPA exam!

Please email me if you are interested in a free PDF printable CPA exam checklist!


  1. Thanks so much for the tips! I am currently studying for FAR and am using the tips you gave in your other post. I had some concerns about the simulations. Do you think that just covering simulations during the final review stage you have planned out is sufficient enough to master sims?

    1. I apologize for the delayed response. While everyone is different, my opinion is that simulations are not an efficient use of your time. I do suggest familiarizing yourself with the format of CPA exam simulations, which you can do by completing a few (on a mock exam, in final review, or just in general). If you know the material, you'll do good on the simulations.

    2. I am revisiting this guide as I'm now studying for AUD. I used this guide last year and passed FAR thanks to the tips offered on this page. Quick question for audit as I'm currently in the final review stage. I haven't done any simulations or skills master videos throughout my studying. I did the same approach for FAR and just did simulations/skills masters specifically for areas I was weak in after my first mock exam. Do you think I should follow the same approach? (I test on January 8 and just finished chapter 6 today. Moving onto final review book tomorrow.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Gambling Winnings & Losses: How to report gambling income and losses

People love to gamble.  During the past NFL Super Bowl (2019),  gamblers wagered approximately $146 million in Nevada’s sports books, which fell short of the record set the year before of $159 million. The gambling industry continues to grow as U.S. legislation becomes less restrictive relating to the gambling industry.  Because of the size of the gambling market, the IRS set forth guidance to control the tax treatment of gambling winnings and losses. I will discuss income and losses, record keeping, reporting forms, and special rules. If you participate in gambling activities, it is important to know the unique personal tax rules. The term 'gambling' applies to a wide range of activities, including: sports betting, casino games, lotteries, etc. You will need to follow the established gambling tax rules when reporting winnings and losses from gambling activities. Related Posts IRA Income: Must know tax rules relating to your IRA Are your income items taxable? Gamblin

File your taxes online for free: The IRS Free File Program Explained

It is officially tax filing season. While many people dread filing their tax return, I have some good news that may cheer you up and save you some money during this tax filing season. For those that meet the requirements, you may file your tax return for free via the IRS Free File Program! What is the IRS Free File Program? The IRS Free File program is a partnership between the IRS and leading tax-preparation companies. The partnership states that these tax-prep software companies must provide free online tax preparation and electronic filing for those who qualify for Free File. What are the requirements to qualify for the IRS Free File Program? You may file your taxes for free using the Free File software if your income is $72,000 or less (for tax year 2020). By qualifying for Free File, you may choose from several brand-name tax software companies. The software will guide you through the tax preparation process, ultimately preparing and printing your tax return. If your inc

20 Tips & Tricks for Studying for the CPA Exam

For those on the way to becoming a certified public accountant, you now know it is a long and difficult journey. For those just beginning, good luck! The most difficult and time-consuming task is passing the CPA Exam. CPA candidates must spend hundreds of hours preparing for all four sections of the CPA. Each CPA section represents an entirely different topic, creating a daunting task for anyone looking to start studying for the CPA exam. I passed all four sections of the CPA with an average score of 91. Luckily, I did not have to retake any of the exams, which is a common occurrence as the average passing rate is around 40-50% per exam. Having personal experience dealing with the CPA exam process, I want to share valuable tips for conquering the CPA exam. I want you to feel confident and comfortable during the CPA exam process, and so, I believe the following tips will help you during the CPA exam process. Lets begin! Related Posts -  Preparing for the CPA Exam: How to Study