Gawd, still with this holiday crap. Thank goodness we're in the home stretch and can soon go about our miserable lives like none of this ever happened.
Until then, here are a few resolutions you should make if you plan to take the CPA exam at any point in 2014.
Don't bug out about changes
Guess what? The exam changes twice a year, every year. You know what else? Even with significant changes like the addition of international standards the exam does not change much at all. Those tried and true questions on areas that hardly change year over year aren't easy to come up with, and the AICPA isn't about to trash them if they don't have to. Instead of freaking out over a small change, focus on all of the material and review it as if it's all new to you. Or, you know, you can panic, burn your 2013 books and run around screaming like a moron. The choice is yours. Here is a summary of the 2014 changes from the AICPA, and no, it's not 300 pages long so take a deep breath and chill.
Make a commitment
There are two ways you can do this: you can get to the exam when you get around to it and realize some time in October 2014 that you screwed off the whole year or you can plan out your year and stick to that plan as best you can. Capitalize on that exhilarating feeling of a fresh start in January by not only telling yourself you'll schedule exams but actually scheduling them as early as possible. Get an NTS if you need one and get to it; it's easier to buckle down if you have an actual countdown to exam day.
Stop talking about studying and study
I laugh when I see people who clearly spend far more time on CPA exam forums and using the #CPAexam hashtag than they do studying complaining about how they can't pass. Gee, maybe because you spent 2 hours this week sharing CPA exam memes, 4 hours bitching, 2 hours participating in a CPA exam chat, 1 hour Instagramming your highlighted books and Starbucks, and 1 hour stalking Peter Olinto on Facebook. STOP IT. Forums and virtual study groups are great for support but get too caught up in the community and you're wasting quality time you should be studying talking about studying. Last I checked, bitching about the CPA exam on Twitter is not tested on the CPA exam.
Use blackout months wisely
I spent long enough working with CPA exam candidates to know many of them are quite skilled in the art of waiting until the last possible minute to get prepared and then freak out. Still don't know how California's 2014 educational requirement will affect you? WELL IT'S TOO FREAKING LATE, YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS ALREADY. Seriously, you had all of December (or at least most of it) to Google, call the State Board, and ask your state society of CPAs, why the hell would you wait until the day the new rule takes effect to ask what it means for you?
Just do it
Listen, we could sit here all day talking about it, or you could just open the damn book, hit "play" on the video, put in your 400 hours of studying and BE DONE WITH IT. There are thousands — maybe even millions — of tips and tricks out there but bottom line is you only need one tip: study. Just like with forums, it's easy to get caught up in the "how" instead of actually doing it. So don't get obsessed with trying to figure out the best or the smartest or the most efficient way to pass. Only you know what you need, so figure out what that is and make it happen.
Remember, the exam isn't a 100 yard dash and setting realistic goals will help you get to the finish line. Take care of yourself, do what you have to do and next thing you know, you'll be done. Or, like I said, freak out like a chicken with its head cut off and you'll be the guy in the forum bitching about how you've taken FAR 17 times and still can't pass but can't figure out why.
And hey, if you don't want to make any New Year's resolutions, there's always SALY. Let us know how that life as an A/P clerk works out for you.