Making the decision to purchase exam prep materials is the first step in preparing to pass the exam. Once you have purchased your materials, what should you do first? For the purposes of this exam tip I am going to assume that you purchased HOCK Complete materials, but the same general ideas apply to any materials.
In the first week, you should familiarize yourself with the materials, in a sense an installation and fact-finding week. I suggest that you do the following, though it doesn’t have to be in this order:
- Read the different study tips that we have written at: www.hockinternational.com/category/exam-tips/. These tips and ideas will help you understand what you will be doing and how you will do it.
- Download the textbook, and page through the textbook to familiarize yourself with the topics and layout. Read a couple of pages in a few topics that interest you and look at some of the examples.
- Look at the videos that are available, and watch the first video. Then, watch part of a few videos from different topics to get a sense of the style and content of the videos.
- Access the question bank, and do a few practice questions. It does not matter now if you understand what the question is asking. Spend some time experimenting with the interface and learning how the questions are organized.
- Download the flash cards, and familiarize yourself with how the flash cards work in PowerPoint. The flash cards are an excellent review tool.
- Set up your PassMap in My Studies with your target exam date. The PassMap guides you through using the materials, one topic at a time, and gives you target dates for studying each topic. See www.hockinternational.com/exam-tip-scheduling-for-success-peace-of-mind/ for more thoughts on why a schedule is important.
Once you have your schedule and have studied for a couple of weeks, you should stop and evaluate your studying. Are you staying on track with your study plan? Has it been working like you thought it would? Are your blocks of study time too long or too short? Are you trying to study too much each week? If necessary, revise your PassMap. Re-evaluate every month or so to see how you are doing with your schedule and make further adjustments as needed.
Remember that the study process for any professional exam is a marathon, not a sprint. It does not matter how fast you start studying, but rather that you study fully and completely so that you pass the exam. Having and following a study plan will ensure that you are successful in passing on your first attempt, which is why you purchased materials in the first place!
Brian Hock, CMA, CIA