How to Prepare for the CPA Exam

When you decide to pursue the CPA license, it’s a significant decision that can lead to a rewarding career with expanded opportunities and great earning potential. But, before you focus on your first step of passing the Uniform CPA Examination®, you should prepare by developing your own personal Exam strategy.

Understand candidate requirements

Education, Experience and Exam: These are the three E’s of every candidate’s journey. Many jurisdictions also require a fourth “E,” an ethics exam. Learn about your jurisdiction’s specific candidate requirements, so when it comes time for testing, you’ll understand what’s ahead and what’s expected of you.

Know the Exam content and how it’s tested

It’s important to understand the content and skills to be tested on each section of the Exam. Put yourself on a solid foundation by starting your studies with the CPA Exam Blueprints. The document offers detailed look at each Exam section.

Along with knowing what the Exam tests, you should also familiarize yourself with the Exam’s format and functionality. For this, practice with the sample tests for each section. You can also review tutorial topics that are found by clicking the “Help” button in each sample test. Understanding how the Exam software functions will let you focus on the important part of knowledge and skills when you’re testing.

Manage your time wisely

Passing the Exam is an 18-month process, so develop a realistic schedule that will take into account the necessary study time and when you’ll take each section. Remember to set aside time for personal and professional obligations during your Exam journey.

When it comes to test day, you should know the Prometric test center’s DO’s and DON’Ts before you arrive and have a plan for how you’ll tackle each section’s four hours of Exam content.

Form a support network

Your Exam journey doesn’t have to be a solo act. Look to others to support you during this important time. Get advice and encouragement from your personal network of colleagues, mentors, study partners, friends, and family.

Your employer can also play a valuable role in supporting you. Some employers provide time off to study, financial assistance, or just general guidance throughout your Exam journey.

Rely on Exam partners

The AICPA, National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), and Prometric are here to help. Visit our pages for the most accurate and up-to-date information throughout your Exam journey.

We encourage you to follow our social media channels as well:


Need more information about the how to get your Exam journey started? Check out the Exam Process.