CPA Exam Preparation and Review

Taking the CPA Exam can be a big step forward in your path toward a career in accounting. This professional certification is designed to assess your knowledge, and ability to provide accounting services to the greater public. This professional certification can also help expand your career options. For example, there are some accounting positions that may only be open to people who have passed the CPA Exam.

In order to tackle this exam, you should build a strong foundation in various accounting skills and techniques. One option is to do CPA Exam preparation and review, which can include taking CPA prep courses, learning study techniques and more.

If you’re thinking about doing CPA test prep, we've outlined a few helpful tips that could be of use when it comes to preparing to take the CPA Exam. We'll explore these tips as well as some other important topics in the following sections:

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Guide for the CPA Exam

When it comes to doing CPA test prep, there are several things you should keep in mind. Here are some useful suggestions that could prove helpful during your CPA prep time:

  • Use the right study material to prepare for the CPA Exam: This tip may seem obvious, but it can be the first step towards a successful CPA Exam review process. At DeVry, some of our accounting courses include elements of Becker Professional Education's CPA Exam Review curriculum. Becker has a long history of helping students with CPA test prep and their materials are designed to help you prepare to tackle the exam.

  • Have a consistent, daily study plan: One helpful strategy for any sort of review is to establish a routine. By establishing your study routine earlier and sticking to it, you’ll not only increase the amount of time you have to prepare for the exam, but it can help prevent the stress of a last-minute cram session. Even more importantly, repetition of the material over a longer period of time, even if your study sessions aren't as intense as a cram session can help the information stick in your mind more effectively.

  • Use online CPA practice tests to get comfortable taking the exams: They say that practice makes perfect, and one of the most productive ways to get practice for you may be getting acquainted with the actual test format. Online CPA practice tests can help you familiarize yourself with both the material and the test format at the same time. As you take the practice tests more frequently, you may want to time yourself in order to get an even more accurate sense of your performance moving through the various parts of the exam.

  • Take a CPA review program or course: A CPA Exam review course or program can help you familiarize yourself with the material that may be covered in the CPA Exam itself. These courses present the material in a classroom or online setting, and often contain tips or insight from people who have passed the CPA Exam in the past. Some CPA exam preparation courses such as the Graduate Certificate in CPA Exam Preparation at DeVry include elements from Becker Professional Education’s CPA Exam Review curriculum.

  • Keep CPA exam passing requirements in mind:As you study, make sure you remain aware of what it takes to pass the test itself. The AICPA’s website lists the educational requirements for passing the CPA Exam, and you may also want to check if your state has any other specific requirements as well. The test is also timed, so it may help to practice strategies that allow you to improve your accuracy while reducing the amount of time it takes for you to answer each question.

How Do I Start Preparing for the CPA Exam?

There are several ways that you can start preparing for the CPA Exam, and many them can be effective solutions depending on your personal learning style. Preparing for the CPA Exam by taking a CPA Exam preparation program or course might be a good place to start, as they can help you build the skills that you'll need to study for the exam on your own.

If you opt to take a CPA prep course or program, you can use the strategies from the class to help you study for the exam itself. As previously mentioned, some strategies include taking practice tests and establishing a routine for your study time to help you focus using consistency over intensity.

How Difficult are the CPA tests?

As with any test, the difficulty of the CPA exam will vary from person to person. But with the right amount of preparation, you can equip yourself to be ready to take on the exams.

To help streamline your experience, consider these tips:

  • Choose a section of the exam to focus on first. Some students choose to tackle their most challenging subject area, whereas others take on their easiest subject.
  • Study, study, study. The more time you spend learning the material, the more likely you may be to remember it when you’re taking the exam.
  • Take practice tests. Since they are designed to mirror the exam, consider timing yourself as you complete them to create a mock exam experience.
  • Don’t give up. Not everyone will pass every exam on the first attempt, so keep studying and keep trying!

How Many Years Does It Take to Become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)?

To become a CPA you need to have a minimum of 150 credit hours and a bachelor's degree. Some states may allow you to take the exam after earning 120 credit hours, but the 150 credit hour threshold must be met before applying for a license. The length of the process can be influenced by how long it takes you to earn your bachelor's degree. While traditional bachelor’s degrees can take 4 years to earn, DeVry’s Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting can be completed in as little as 2 years and 8 months, or even more quickly with qualifying credits1. From there, it depends on the time taken to earn additional college credits, do CPA Exam prep or the number of times it may take you to pass the CPA Exam.

Interested in Taking the CPA Exam?

If you're thinking about taking the CPA Exam, or want help with your CPA test prep, DeVry can help you prepare. Our Graduate Certificate in CPA Exam Preparation integrates elements of Becker Professional Education's CPA Exam prep to help you feel more confident as you prepare to take the CPA exam.


1Not including breaks. Assumes year-round, full-time enrollment.