I found out about the Densmore Blog yesterday and read all 3 pages of blog posts in one go. There is a lot of useful content with a focus on the CFE so I highly recommend you all check it out. Even if the CFE is more than a year away for you like it is for me, it is still worthwhile to find out how the 3-day exam is structured. Disclaimer: I am still a little confused about the format (not Densmore’s fault but the exam format is simply complicated) but you don’t know what you don’t know.

One post, in particular, caught my attention and it was the post about choosing an online study partner (for CFE). It got me thinking about how I studied for Core 1, Core 2 and most recently, Finance. I started Core 1 with a weekly meet up with 3 people I met in college which didn’t quite work out (due to study pace, learning styles and conflicting schedules). I then studied on my own from there.

Note, this post is meant for your CPA journey from Core 1 to your last elective. For Capstone onwards, my research tells me a study partner is non-negotiable. I will not find out until 2021 so, until then, here is how I have been studying for CPA PEP Modules without a study partner.

Group Chat for Moral Support

I don’t know what I would do without my Whatsapp group chats dedicated to CPA. We went to the same college (for my diploma in Accounting, not my Bachelor’s Degree) and I was in classes with most of them at some point. We all started Core 1 at the same time (definitely went crazy together during Core 1) and are now at slightly different points on our journeys. For the larger group, there are 8 of us (1 isn’t actually doing CPA right now) so you don’t need a large group.

We rarely meet in person but the group chat is active weekly. We don’t normally go off-topic but we do talk about everything CPA-related. We also branched off to smaller groups when some of us are taking Tax and other Finance.

If you have started and don’t currently know anyone who is also going through CPA, I suggest reaching out to your CPA Mentor who might have a broader professional network of other mentors who have mentees themselves. The CPA Canada subreddit is also a good resource to find fellow students (YMMV as the subreddit is not super active). My last suggestion would be to connect with someone on Twitter (or me) as I connected with a few CPA candidates there as well.

If you are still in school, exchange numbers with a few classmates in your advanced pre-requisites courses (PREP)! Chances are they will be starting CPA around the same time you do.

~ More CPA Posts ~
CPA PEP Core 1 – How to Study for the Module and the Exam
CPA PERT – Ultimate Guide on How to Get Your First Experience Report via EVR Approved
CPA PERT – Enabling Competencies Examples
Densmore for CPA PEP – Are The PEP Essentials Packages Worth It?
CPA PEP Module – Regular Module or Extended Module?

Study Schedule

Who is your study partner if you don’t actually have one? You!

I have the habit of talking myself into and out of things so I am actually a very compatible study partner for myself (pardon the crazy-sounding statement). My alter-ego, like me, uses Google Sheets to keep myself in check.

Shortly before or at the beginning of the start of a new module, I would go through all the chapter readings and find out the number of pages for each week. I then plug the data into my tracker along with due dates for the assignments and MC. Once the list of items is complete, I will then schedule my next 8 weeks (regular) or 20 weeks (extended).

Click here for the free template

I enjoy extended modules because they give me a lot of freedom to schedule rest days. However, my initial experience with Core 2 taught me that scheduling for extended modules was as important as it was for a regular module. Planning ahead is the only way you can truly take advantage of an extended pace so you will not feel stressed or burned out.

With regular paced modules, if you don’t have a plan then you most likely will feel stressed and fall behind very quickly. The worst part? Nobody will be there to remind you because you don’t have a study partner.

YouTube Videos

If you are used to going to live lectures (in-person or online), you will find CPA PEP modules very different. There is no one “teaching” you for 3 hours a week so you are left on your own most of the time. There are resources provided by CPA like your module facilitator, discussion board and supplementary materials. However, in addition to that, I find YouTube videos very useful. In fact, I shared the list of videos I used for CPA Core 2 in a previous post here.

The discussion board on CPA D2L and your facilitator are both valuable resources but if you are stuck on a concept and would like to find the answer right away, Youtube might be your best bet. Note, as I have also cautioned in my Core 2 video post, the risk of using unregulated online materials is that it might not be relevant and/or accurate. That is why I always use it as a supplementary source and never the only source.

Conclusion

The CPA journey is long and challenging and only you could decide how you want to do it. I shared what has been working for me so far and they might work for you or they might not. The important thing is to keep experimenting and know that everyone learns differently. Having an incompatible study partner might be worse than not having one as it will waste your and your study partner’s time and efforts.

I would love to know what you think about a study partner – yes or no? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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