How to pass the CPA Exam – the five M’s

Woman studying

Hi, future dream CPA! I passed the CPA Exam in 2020, and I want to be the one to let you know that you are wildly capable of passing the exam too. I learned so many valuable lessons while studying for the CPA Exam. Today I’m excited to share some tips — what I call the Five M’s — to help you pass the exam: 

1. Mindset 

As a CPA candidate, you must maintain an unstoppable mindset throughout your CPA journey and on exam day. Your mindset will set the tone for your entire CPA journey and motivate you to master the material, stick to your daily study habits and pass the CPA Exam. Having an unstoppable mindset means staying mindful of your values and your purpose. Your values are what is important to you in how you live. Living by your values will help you stay grounded. Ask yourself what your purpose is, and keep it top of mind to motivate yourself. This could be the impact you want to create in the world, setting yourself up for financial freedom, moving up in your career or supporting your family. You know what’s amazing? You can use the mindset you cultivate during your CPA journey in every aspect of your life to achieve your goals — career, finances, personal life, health and lifestyle. Cultivating an unstoppable mindset is what separates the best from the rest! 

2. Mastering the material 

To successfully master the material, you must know your best learning style. Identify the study methods that work best for you, whether it’s learning from videos or audio, writing or typing notes, or practicing repetition. You are the only person who knows how you study and learn best. When mastering the material, do progress tests daily to see how well you’re retaining the material. As a Becker student, you have access to unlimited practice tests, mini exams and simulated exams. While you’re studying for the exam, remember to be patient with yourself. It’s not the quantity but the quality of study time that helps you truly understand the material and concepts. And remember: Practice makes perfect! 

3. Movement 

To be the best prepared CPA candidate, you also should incorporate wellness into your daily study routine. The gym was my favorite place to take care of my body, regain my mental strength and take a break from studying. Prioritizing movement can be as simple as going for a walk during your lunch break or going to your favorite workout classes. After all, health is wealth! 

4. Meditation 

Practicing mindfulness meditation transformed my confidence and mindset, and I know it will elevate your life too. Meditation is a mindfulness practice that helps you develop a mentally clear headspace. When I was studying for the CPA Exam, meditation helped me immensely. And even now as a licensed CPA, I cannot live without meditation. Meditation can help you destress, boost your confidence and positively transform your mindset.  

5. Mentorship 

Having ongoing mentorship throughout your CPA journey will help keep you accountable (or shall I say “ACCOUNTANTable”) throughout your journey. Your mentor is there to give you guidance, direction and support at every step of your CPA journey. A good mentor will push you forward beyond the challenges and obstacles that could get in your way. Having a strong support system while you’re a CPA candidate is so important! 

You’ve got this 

You really can do anything you put your mind to. Just think about the limitless opportunities you’ll have as a licensed CPA. I am so proud of you for embarking on this journey, and I promise that it will be so incredibly worth it in the end. 

What did you think of the Five M’s? Do they resonate with you? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

If you have any questions about the CPA Exam or would like to connect with me, follow and send me a message at @thecoolcpa on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter or Facebook! You can also tune in to The Cool CPA Podcast Episode #26 “How to pass the CPA Exams: the 5 secrets you need to know that nobody talks about” on Apple, Spotify and Google podcasts for more content on the CPA Exam, finances, wellness and memes! 

Lea Atienza, CPA (About Me)     

Lea Atienza is the founder, creator and podcast host of The Cool CPA (@thecoolcpa). Lea is a CPA in the state of California with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of California, Riverside. Lea started her career in the audit practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the entertainment and technology industry in Los Angeles. As founder of The Cool CPA and The CPA Exam Masterclass, she’s passionate about elevating accountants by bringing an innovative perspective to the accounting and finance space. She creates content and opens the conversation about everything from the CPA Exam to wellness and lifestyle. In her spare time, you can find Lea attending Lakers games, hanging out with friends and family, experimenting with what’s new in the wellness scene or spending time at the beach.   

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