Exam Tip: I purchased exam prep materials, now what?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Access the videos page, look at the videos available, and watch the introduction video. Then, watch a few videos from different topics to get a sense of the style and content of the videos.
  4. Install the ExamSuccess software on your computer, and/or become familiar with how ExamSuccess online works, and do a few practice questions. It does not matter now if you understand what the question is asking. The questions are the same in both ExamSuccess and ExamSuccess Online, so you can use whichever one is more convenient.
  5. Download the flash cards, and familiarize yourself with how the flash cards work in PowerPoint. The flash cards are an excellent review tool.
  6. Create a study schedule and set up your Personalized Study Plan (on the Textbook page of My Studies). You should decide when you are going to study each week so that you have time set aside for studying. 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 Personalized Study Plan. 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


  1. Todd on January 21, 2016 at 4:28 am

    Thanks Brian, we’re starting courses for exam 1 and exam 2 next month, I’ll share this link with my students.


    • Nastassia on February 3, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      Where are you starting courses at Todd?

  2. HOCK international on February 3, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Nastassia: Thomas runs classes in Khartoum, Sudan.