Friday, April 10, 2009

Familiarity = Disaster on the CPA Exam

Learn the material and know it. Go beyond being familiar with various topics. On the CPA examination, familiarity is insufficient; you must know the material. (Wiley)

You hear this advice all the time. From your review course instructor, written in the review materials themselves, from other CPA candidates and from people who have passed the Exam. You have to KNOW the material; Familiarity with the material is not good enough.

That’s where I always get into trouble when studying for the Exam. I am familiar with the material after studying it (and also from work or doing well on that topic in school many years ago) and I mistakenly come to the conclusion that it will be good enough to pass the Exam.

That’s why for Audit, as much as I am getting sick of doing questions, I will continue with my study plan and doing every question in the book twice. If I can get > 80% of the questions correct, then I can conclude that I KNOW the material.

What is the most useful advice you have received related to studying for the CPA Exam? Please share.


  1. My problem is the same as yours. I sometimes wish the exam was an IQ test instead of tedious studying over a long period of time. Seriously.