CPA Notes – The Best Material on the Internet to Help you Dominate Your CPA Exams in 2019

You’ve made the choice to do your CPA, now maximise your effort with a distilled set of notes

Studying for your CPA exams is tough. You’re working full-time to pay the bills, but also want to get ahead in your career and adding a few letters to the end of your name ain’t a bad idea. It’s not cheap though. With courses starting at $1,500, and other services going beyond $3,000 each, add to this the opportunity cost of your time, and pressure from your family, and society. It can all start to feel too much.

At Nexus Notes, we focus on sourcing one thing and one thing alone. We find the best notes written by the highest-achieving students on the planet and share them with you. We do this to save you time and money so you can completely nail your exams.

The following notes have been written by our best ever CPA student who absolutely slayed their CPA exams. They haven’t been written by an academic, they have been written by a CPA high-achiever. The goal of these notes is to filter out the noise in what is a dense and complicated course to help you focus on what you’ll need to ace your exams. Don’t go into your exams with a 500-page tabbed dossier. Use these beautifully distilled notes to maximise your time and get the best grades. You won’t find better CPA study materials anywhere on the internet.

  1. CPA Ethics and Governance
  2. CPA Financial Reporting
  3. CPA Strategic Management Accounting
  4. CPA Advanced Taxation
  5. CPA Advanced Auditing and Assurance
  6. CPA Global Strategies and Leadership

Now, let’s answer some common questions we receive from our community about how to crush your CPA exams. We’ve crowd-sourced these answers from the most successful member of the Nexus Notes professional community. Feel free to leave comments below with any other questions you want our gun CPA students and alumni to answer.

How many hours a week should I study for my CPA?
The CPA study guide recommends 10-15 hours per week of study.  As I was studying 3 subjects per semester, this would mean I would need to spend 30-45 hours per week!  As such, I employed a different and more effective strategy to studying the CPA and maximising exam performance – I cleared CPA in one year.  The key to my success was to realise I only needed to retain information in my short term memory long enough to sit the exam, rather than my long term memory.  Therefore, I did not need to spend 30-45 hours per week committing the knowledge to memory.  Instead, I would spend 10-15 hours per week (or 3-5 hours per subject) writing targeted notes from the study guide for weeks 1-7.  However, for weeks 8-10, I would increase the hours to around 50 (or 16 hours per subject) by making use of study and annual leave.  During that time, my goal was to commit my notes to short term memory.  As my notes are generally around 50-100 pages of targeted exam style questions compared to 500 pages for the study guide, I efficiently and effectively armed myself with examination-relevant content.

Is it possible to pass the CPA exam without studying?
Absolutely not.  I scored a perfect VCE accounting score and graduated top of the year with a Bachelor of Commerce Medal from Melbourne University.  I also had extensive experience working in accounting and finance so if anyone could pass the CPA exam without studying, I should be well qualified.  The reason it is not possible to pass the CPA exam without studying is because the CPA study guide material provides you with the principles and a framework to understand the accounting concepts.  When reading the exam questions, you need to see the world from the perspective of these principles and  frameworks, rather than based on your experience.  As an example, while there are many ways of allocating a cost across different units, as activity based costing (ABC) is taught, you will generally find this to be the most robust method when answering questions.  If you did not study and make up an ad-hoc approach, this would be a dangerous way of answering the question.   

Can I pass the CPA exam?
Yes – it is 100% doable and it is very much achievable clearing CPA in one year while working full time without the help of external tuition companies.  The people I have seen fail are the people who lose focus.  If you consistently work, write up a good set of notes and commit those notes to memory, there shouldn’t be too much to worry about.  

How do I study for the CPA exam?
This depends on what you want to get out of studying the CPA exam.  For me, my main interest was clearing the exams as fast as possible and with minimal effort, rather than learning it for academic interest.  Hence, my approach to studying was 100% exam-focussed.  My general methodology is very simple and contains three steps.

1. Read the study guide material
2. Understand what the study guide material is saying
3. Given you have read and understood the material, think of how this particular piece of information could be examined.

My study notes are effectively structured this way.  If you were to do the same, this would ensure that everything you do would help you score top marks on the exam.  I did not invest my time in anything I did not think would help contribute to exam marks (eg. reading the original papers on the reference list).

Which CPA Review is the best?
I would naturally endorse my own CPA notes (melbournenotespreparer).  A lot of the other notes on other websites are just index lists or summary notes.  Of course, different students have different study requirements, but in terms of a targeted exam question and solution to note taking, my notes are unparalleled.  My notes allowed me to learn the bare minimum of what I needed to know to ace the exam. 

The issue with index lists is that it takes time (time you don’t have in the exam) to flick to the right page then read the material before answering the question.  The problem with summary notes is, while they may be well-organised according to the study guide, they’re not organised according to converting that knowledge to answering exam questions.  The innovation of my notes is that they combine the best of both worlds; they summarise the study guide according to possible exam questions with page references for further details.

Which CPA exam is the hardest?
Most people find Financial Reporting the hardest due to understanding the Accounting Standards.  With my note taking approach, I found it actually quite a comfortable exam.  I found Taxation the hardest due to the amount of work that needed to be done (study guide contained over 1000 pages) and the fact I was studying 3 subjects in that semester. 

Is the CPA exam the hardest professional exam?
I can only talk from personal experience.  I’ve sat professional exams from multiple bodies.  It really comes down to knowing what to do to pass the exams.  Different professional exams are going to require different techniques to pass the exam.  The hard part is working out the techniques, the rest is just hard work.  I was fortunate to work out my question-and-answer technique relatively early so accordingly found the CPA exam very manageable, even 3 subjects per semester.

How long does it take to pass the CPA?
While it is possible to clear the exams in one year, you would still need 3 years of work experience.  There is generally a six year period to complete the exams, but please check the CPA website for the latest details https://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/cpa-program/cpa-program-candidates/your-enrolment/rules-and-regulations

How long does it take to finish CPA?
While it is possible to clear the exams in one year, you would still need 3 years of work experience.  There is generally a six year period to complete the exams, but please check the CPA website for the latest details https://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/cpa-program/cpa-program-candidates/your-enrolment/rules-and-regulations

When should I start studying for the CPA?
You should study the CPA when you are ready.  I found the best option is to get your employer to pay for your tuition fees.  However, some people start in their final year to give them that edge when finding a graduate role.  My advice to you is to wait until you get your job then sit the qualification that is most recognised in your work place.  This is so you get recognition when you pass your exams. 

Can you start studying for the CPA while working full-time?
Absolutely.  Life can get quite tough, especially if you are a graduate trying to make an impression.  You would need to learn to accept short term pain for long term benefits.  Signing-off as a CPA is a fantastic feeling. 

Is the CPA exam multiple choice?
It depends on the subject. It is generally a mix of multiple choice and long answer.  

What CPA course is the best?
Depending on your work, different modules would appeal to different people.  My interest was qualifying as fast as possible so I can have the CPA designation and move on with life. Hence, the best part was when I can sign my name as a CPA.

What’s the passing rate for CPA?
It depends on the subject, but the pass rate is generally 60-70%.  To get a high distinction you would generally need to be top 3-10% of the cohort.

Is passing the CPA harder than being accepted to the bar?
I can only talk from personal experience.  I’ve sat professional exams from multiple bodies.  It really comes down to knowing what to do to pass the exams.  Different professional exams are going to require different techniques to pass the exam.  The hard part is working out the techniques, the rest is just hard work.  I was fortunate to work out my question-and-answer technique relatively early so accordingly found the CPA exam very manageable, even 3 subjects per semester. 

How many times can you take the CPA exam?
You are generally limited by the time frame of six years rather than the number of attempts.  See website for details: https://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/cpa-program/cpa-program-candidates/your-enrolment/rules-and-regulations

Is passing the CPA harder than passing the CFA?
I can only talk from personal experience.  I’ve sat professional exams from multiple bodies.  It really comes down to knowing what to do to pass the exams.  Different professional exams are going to require different techniques to pass the exam.  The hard part is working out the techniques, the rest is just hard work.  I was fortunate to work out my question and answer technique relatively early so accordingly found the CPA exam very manageable, even 3 subjects per semester.  .

Can you get CPA without having a degree?
No. It is a requirement to have a degree (or postgraduate award) before commencing CPA.  See https://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/about-us

Do you need a CPA to do taxes?
No – there are multiple pathways to becoming a registered tax agent in Australia.  See https://www.tpb.gov.au/qualifications-and-experience-tax-agents

How much does a CPA make per hour?
This really depends on your employer.  Depending on your experience, company, skills and job title, this would vary.  See  https://www.hays.com.au/salary-guide/index.htm for details.

Good luck with your studies and exam preparation, and remember, we’re here to help!

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