In a manner of speaking, there is still plenty of time until the end of December 2013 for tax professionals who wish to do so to prepare for and pass the IRS competency exam CySA+ Exam. However, for candidates who are yet to schedule their exam, there is always the possibility to be lulled into a false sense of security because the deadline is 12 months away. A wiser approach could be to just look for a window in time, either before the tax season is in full swing or shortly after April 15, to focus on preparing for and passing the RTRP exam.

For most tax professionals, preparing for the IRS competency examination should require no more than a few weeks. Taking the exam begins with a commitment to do so by simply scheduling an exam date with Prometric. Then it is just a matter of freeing up some time from manageable responsibilities and from distractions, and focusing for a while (maybe three to four weeks) on preparing for the exam. A systematic study plan will increase the chances of covering the material outlined in the test specification outline and passing the exam on the first attempt. While preparing for the exam, the candidate’s main focus ought to be on optimizing the use of the allotted time slot, practicing in a computerized testing environment, putting aside all distractions and subduing any sign of procrastination.

It will help to look at the IRS competency exam as an excellent opportunity for the tax professionals to discover ways to better serve their clients and to add value to the services provided to them. This mind set will help the RTRP tap into a positive mind-set that will make the competency exam preparation journey a lot easier to bear.

We suggest use of what might be called the DPC formula for Registered Tax Preparer Candidates.

The D stands for DECIDE.

Before even starting to prepare for the exam, the RTRP exam candidate should decide unquestionably to pass the competency exam on the first attempt. Such clear-cut decision makes all the difference. Taking any exam is the kind of experience most people want to enjoy but once. There are good moments about it, like when the preparation effort leads to success, but also not so good moments such as when a candidate has to repeat the exam.

The P stands for PLAN.

The successful exam candidate must have scheduled daily study sessions, for the entire period deemed necessary to prepare for the exam. Such a plan will help the candidate organize and optimize available study time and include in it scheduled breaks and timed practice sessions. The good part of the plan is that if applied consistently it should take only a few weeks (three to four weeks) for most candidates to prepare for and pass the exam. If there are unscheduled interruptions in the plan the results attained may be less than satisfactory.

The C stands for COMMIT.

A commitment is much more than just a wish. If the candidate only wishes to pass the exam, he or she will easily allow obstacles to convert into excuses. But if the candidate is committed to pass the exam, he or she will go around, over, or through obstacles that may surface along the way and make a successful outcome of the exam happen. Such candidate will become obsessed with obtaining the planned outcome and won’t “negotiate” it with any obstacles that may stand in the way. The committed candidate will do whatever it takes to pass the RTRP exam on the first attempt.

So, the secret for candidates to be successful in their competency exam is to first, schedule the exam date with Prometric, making sure to put enough daylight between the date the scheduling takes place and the exam date, to allow for preparation; choose an exam preparation package well suited to their study habits; create and execute a effective study plan and follow the plan to the letter; become familiar with the Prometric test center, before the exam day; report to test center on exam day with enough time to spare; enter the exam room confident that, upon completion of the exam, they will have attained what they came in for, namely a passing score in their RTRP exam.