how to study with surgent cpa

Having studied and passed the CPA Exam, I can tell you one thing: note all CPA review courses (Roger, Wiley, Gleim, Becker, Surgent) are not created equal. Some CPA Review courses have cut-and-dry, one-size-fits-all programs while others are highly tailored to the individual. In any case, you need to know how to take advantage of the prep course software to help you pass the CPA Exam as quickly as possible. If you’re studying with Surgent CPA Review Course (or you’re considering studying with Surgent CPA Review), you’ll need to know about the adaptive learning technology (A.S.A.P. Technology™) and how it creates individualized study materials for your particular needs. To help you take advantage of Surgent’s CPA prep course software, let’s talk about 5 tips on how to study with surgent CPA Review.

1. Complete the Entire Assessment Phase

The Assessment Phase consists of 450 practice questions over 10 quizzes. The point is to test your base knowledge and understand your starting point. You’ll do one assessment phase for each of the four exam sections.

While 450 practice questions seems like a lot, completing the Assessment Phase is essential if you want to have a solid knowledge base. The questions are across all AICPA designated exam topics areas, and the number of questions gives an accurate read of your baseline subject knowledge. That’s why it’s absolutely essential that you complete the entire Assessment Phase before starting to study.

The Assessment Phase is used to determine your strong and weak areas. If you don’t complete it fully, the software won’t have an accurate read of where you need to study and where you just need reinforcement. At the end of the Assessment Phase, you can run a diagnostic report showing you where you’re strong and where you’re weak. As time goes on, you can monitor this report to see any changes.

The Assessment Phase also builds your baseline ReadySCORE™. This is an estimate of what your score would be if you sat for the CPA Exam the day of your Assessment Phase, and it’s updated as you continue into the Study Phase. Having an accurate ReadySCORE is essential; it will help you know when you’re ready to sit and pass each section of the CPA Exam.

Doing the entire Assessment Phase is truly time well spent, because it’s the baseline for all study related to a particular exam.

2. Mark Questions as “Guessed”

Sometimes you’ll come across CPA Exam questions and you’ll have absolutely no idea what the answer is. It’s always a good idea to guess on these types of questions because you have a 25% chance of getting it right. Surgent knows these types of questions may pop up, so it’s created a feature where you can mark a question as “guessed.” This alerts the software that you weren’t 100% sure of the answer and you just picked one. The software takes this into consideration as you move forward in your studying, and will help you work on your particular weak areas.

3. Monitor Your Performance Reports

Like we talked about above, when you finish the Assessment Phase, you can view a diagnostic report of your exam proficiency. You’ll see which areas you struggled with, as well as areas where you’re strong. The diagnostic report is broken down by exam topic, so you can see exactly which areas you need to work on and the weight of these areas on the exam.

During the Study Phase, you can run progress reports to see how you have progressed within any given exam topic. As you go through the multiple-choice questions, the simulations, the video lectures and reading, you’ll be able to see how your personalized study plan is working for you.

While the diagnostic and progress reports are a great tool to see how you’re trending within exam topics, the best part is you don’t have to actually create a study guide; the software automatically adapts to these stronger and weaker areas based on your study planner. Your Daily Surge will continue to help you improve on weak areas, and you’ll be able to see this when you run progress reports over the course of your study.

4. Take Advantage of Resources

Surgent offers a variety of resources, ranging from help on specific topics to general CPA Exam strategies and tips. One of the best resources available to students is the on demand webinars. These help students with specific, exam-related topics such as solving a Research Simulation Question.

Surgent offers a user-friendly Flashcard App, a CPA Exam Guide, CPA Exam Strategies and Practice. Also, since you have unlimited access to the full course materials, Surgent offers resources to help you keep up with any exam changes. You also have access to Surgent’s CPA Exam blog, which covers several topics and strategies for the CPA Exam.

5. Utilize Your ReadySCORE™

ReadySCORE is one of the best course features of Surgent’s A.S.A.P. Technology. Being able to have a pretty good idea if you’re going to pass before you even sit for a section of the CPA exam will take a huge amount of pressure off your shoulders and help you feel relaxed and confident on exam day.

As we said above, ReadySCORE is an estimate of what your score would be if you sat for the exam on any given study day, and is a unique feature of Surgent CPA Review’s adaptive learning software. You can see how you’re doing cumulatively, or by topic area, and you can also see how you’re doing by question type (multiple choice questions and task-based simulations).

To ensure you’re in the best position to pass the exam, drill into your ReadySCORE and make sure you’re at an 80 in every content area and topic, as well as every question type. This gives you a great chance of passing the CPA Exam when you actually sit. In fact, students who achieve a ReadySCORE of 75 or more have a pass rate of 88%. By keeping your ReadySCORE up in all content areas and question types, you can ensure your success on exam day.


If you’re using a Surgent CPA review program to study, these 5 tips will help you take advantage of the software and the pass guarantee, and be as prepared as possible on exam day.

Megan Bierwirth graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2013 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting and passed the CPA Exam within 6 months of graduation. She worked in both public accounting and industry while becoming a CPA and now runs a virtual bookkeeping company focused on preventive, integrative and complementary medicine professionals.