Understanding How Humans Learn
Look for a CPA tutor who has created CPA study materials that lean into how humans learn. For example, did you know that we understand and retain knowledge better when given examples of the information in practice? Scientists believe that this is because the information is being built upon existing knowledge and our personal experience.
Another interesting learning fact is that the human attention span is 10-15 minutes when it comes to learning. Teachers and tutors need to switch things up every 10-15 minutes to help their students retain knowledge. This could be as simple as moving to practice questions after 10-15 minutes of learning or it could be switching to a new topic.
So, what does this mean for you when you’re choosing a CPA tutor? You need to find a CPA tutor who is dedicated to helping their students understand the accounting concepts rather than just giving them CPA study materials to memorize. The best way to do that is to look at the information they give away for free online.
- Do they explain things in a way that you can understand?
- Do they use examples to illustrate their points?
- Do they introduce novelty to keep your brain engaged?
Understanding Your Learning Style
The next thing you need to look at when choosing a CPA exam tutor is if they teach in a way suitable for your learning style. There are 4 learning styles according to the VARK method.
- Visual – If you are a visual learner, you absorb information better from diagrams and pictures. Let’s say someone is giving you directions, a visual learner would need to look at a map and visualize the directions (or be shown on a map) to understand where they need to go.
- Auditory – If you are an auditory learner, you work well with verbal instructions like lectures or instructional videos. Unlike the visual learner, if someone gave you verbal directions to where you needed to go, you would be able to remember and follow them well.
- Reading and Writing – If you are a reading and writing learner, you probably excel at self-study. Reading a textbook and making notes helps you to absorb information best and you like to take learning at your own pace.
- Kinesthetic – If you are a kinesthetic learner then you have a hands-on approach to learning. In everyday life, you gravitate towards tactile activities like sports or art where you can try things out. In CPA exam preparation, this means that you like exercises and practice questions so you can attempt things for yourself.
Your learning style does not represent the ONLY way you can learn. Your learning style is just the way you absorb information the best.
The VARK method has been around since 1992, so schools, workplaces, and CPA tutoring create lessons that are suitable for all 4 learning styles. Think about the way you were taught math in school. The teacher would explain the basics of whatever you were learning and walk you through problems on the board. Then you had some self-study time where you worked through the textbook and some practice questions. This is how I conduct my CPA exam tutoring.
My students work through the week’s CPA study materials to prepare for the Zoom tutoring sessions (group or private based on their preferences). The CPA study materials are color-coded and full of diagrams and examples, so they are not “dry” for visual and kinesthetic learning styles. In the Zoom tutoring sessions, I work through further examples by explaining and showing my work. Students have a chance to ask questions and we work through some more practice questions to check their understanding.
One of the most effective parts of my CPA exam prep course is working through multiple choice questions at the end of teaching each topic. It helps to learn by doing so the knowledge sticks a lot better. I remember when I was studying for my CPA exams I would watch 3-hour lectures or read a whole chapter and then the next day I would try the multiple choice questions and get them all wrong. Not only was that method BORING, nothing was sticking. That’s why I gave up a lucrative career at PwC and became a CPA exam mentor. I created a learning method that was more effective and less dry and my students loved it so much that my CPA exam prep course had a waiting list.
Before hiring a CPA exam tutor:
- Find out how they tutor their students
- Read reviews from students about their tutoring method
- Book discovery calls to ask about how the tutor works with different learning styles
The top CPA exam tutors have more to offer than just CPA exam study materials. I can’t speak to what other CPA tutors offer, but my students get CPA exam mentorship when they work with me.
- Encouragement and support from fellow CPA exam preppers in the membership group
- Exam skill tips to help them with time management and testing jitters on exam day
- Career tips so they can land a job after they pass their CPA exams
- Study skill development to help them develop effective study habits (no memorizing textbooks here!)
- Assistance with applying for exam accommodations if applicable
One of the things I am most proud of is that most of my students go on to land a job at one of the “Big 4” accounting firms. If you read my LinkedIn reviews, they are all from people now employed at EY or Deloitte. Nobody takes the CPA exams because they enjoy taking exams, they take the CPA exams because they want a rewarding and lucrative career as a CPA. In my opinion, it makes sense to offer career advice and support as a CPA exam tutor.
If you’re looking for a CPA exam tutor, there are a few different ways you can find out more about my tutoring services:
- Read my services page to learn about my tutoring methods
- Book an intro Zoom call to discuss your needs and how I can help you prepare for your CPA exam
- Join my free Facebook study groups to trade study tips and chat with people who are also preparing for the CPA exam.