If you’re getting ready to take the CPA exam, chances are you’re spending a good portion of your time panicking or banging your head against your desk repeatedly. The sensation of pure, unadulterated panic starts to bloom in your stomach as you realize you’ve been studying for hours and you haven’t retained any of the last 50 pages you just read.

However, studying doesn’t have to be like that. With some tips and tricks, you can cut your CPA exam study time in half. Don’t think that “cut in half” really means “a few hours”; studying for the CPA exam takes a great deal of time, effort, and hard work. But, there’s a difference between working smarter and working harder. These tips will help you work smarter, so you can utilize the most efficient studying techniques instead of wasting time.

Use the Right Tools to Study

The number one secret that will cut your study time in half is to sign up for a CPA Exam Program. Unless you have a photographic memory (and most of us don’t), signing up is a necessity, not a luxury. Choose a comprehensive, intensive course that will give you excellent value for your money and offer study guides and resources to use at home, too. The tools and skills you will gain from a CPA exam prep course will be invaluable when you finally take the exam. The right CPA prep course will give you the tools you need, help you grasp theoretical concepts, and then teach you to apply those concepts and tools to practical problems on the exam.

Make an Attainable Study Plan

Many people are tempted to make overly optimistic studying plans that include 20 hours of studying each day, followed by 8 hours at work, and then another 10 hours of studying at night while simultaneously sleeping. Crazy studying plans like that just don’t work-;so don’t overload yourself by making unrealistic studying goals and then feeling lousy when you can’t keep up. Set goals that challenge you but are still attainable. If you don’t, you will burn out very quickly, and that’s not how you pass the CPA exam. If you think that you won’t have enough time between now and your scheduled exam date to study thoroughly, it might be worth considering rescheduling for a later date.

Take the time to sit down and look at your personal schedule. How much free time do you have? How much can you commit to studying? Are you willing to cut out some social time and devote that to studying? Effective time management is a vital part of studying, but it takes real commitment because there’s no doing it halfway. If you want to succeed, you must be willing to put the time aside and study even when you don’t feel like it. Work out a studying schedule that doesn’t extend yourself. Burning the candle at both ends never helped anybody succeed.

Don’t Spend Hours Retaking Practice Tests

Practice tests are a valuable resource; there’s no denying it. However, taking them over and over again trying to get a perfect score is counter-productive. The important part is not getting a perfect score or even over a 90% on the practice tests. Many people try to “memorize” the answers so that they can get a high score. The point is to understand the underlying concepts, take the same techniques and methods, and apply them to the actual exam.

Put in the Time and Effort to Study for the CPA

Studying for the CPA exam is something that takes hard work, time, and commitment. However, you don’t have to spend hours studying for the exam and going over the same material repeatedly. The number one secret to cutting your studying time in half is signing up and attending a CPA exam prep course. It’s a proven method of learning the tools and skills needed to pass the CPA exam. It’s also important to set realistic and attainable studying goals and not spend hours retaking multiple choice practice tests to get a perfect score. Using these methods, you can cut your studying time and pass the CPA exam if you’re willing to put in the time and effort required.