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The Steps I Took To Pass The CPA Exam

Frequently Asked CPA Exam Questions

Is passing the CPA Exam worth it?

While passing the CPA exam is not required to become an accountant, there are countless benefits to becoming a CPA. These benefits include making $1 million+ compared to a non-CPA over their career (according to Becker CPA Review). I personally added $25K/yr to my annual salary in just two years of passing. You are also much more likely to be promoted to senior positions whether you are in public accounting or working for a private company. Passing the CPA exam is all about your career goals. If you want to some day become partner or CFO at your company it will be an uphill battle without your CPA license. If you determine the CPA is not for you there are other accounting certifications you should consider.

What are the CPA exam requirements to sit for the CPA exam?

Signing up for the CPA exam can be incredibly frustrating because each state has different requirements you need to meet in order to qualify to sit for the CPA exam. You need to understand your states specific CPA exam requirements before you apply in order to ensure it is a smooth process and can be completed in a timely manner. At a high level, you need to have at least 150 credit hours with a healthy dose of accounting credits whether its from obaining your masters or through a double major. Check with your state's board of accountancy to ensure you understand what you need to do before signing up to sit for the CPA exam.

What do I do if I failed a section of the CPA Exam?

Failing the CPA exam is practically a "rite of passage." According to GoingConcern.com, approximately 80% of CPA candidates will failed at least ONE section of the CPA exam. The key to recovering from failing a section of the CPA exam is to have a retake strategy. You need to identify what went wrong and then improve.

How do I study for the CPA Exam?

If you think studying for the CPA exam is going to be like a college exam, I have some bad news for you. The CPA Exam will be the most difficult test (heck probably task) you ever take. It will require 100% mental focus and preparation and will require 400-800+ hours of your time. With that being said, there are steps you can take now to reduce the amount of time and money required to pass the CPA exam. You need to find a CPA exam coach who has been there and done that. I put together 21 of my best CPA exam study tips and tactics you can steal to get a HUGE head start on prepping for the CPA exam. Check them out here.

Which section of the CPA exam should I take first?

This is one of the most common questions CPA candidates ask when signing up for the CPA exam. The simple answer is that there is only a WRONG choice. That choice is to procrastinate on signing up for the CPA exam. If you want a more scientific way to pick the best section to take based on your situation I did put together a detailed guide on the best way to pick the order you should take the CPA exam. Read the full guide here.

What is tested on the CPA exam?

As you know there are four sections of the CPA exam that cover a WIDE range of topics and concepts that you will need to understand and be able to apply.

Here are some quick links to the breakdown of each section of the CPA exam and what you need to know:

FAR: Financial Accounting & Reporting

REG: Regualtion

AUD: Auditing & Attestation

BEC: Business Environment Concepts

Full breakdown of the CPA exam structure and content

How do I study for the CPA exam during busy season?

With the 18 month requirement to pass the CPA exam once you have passed your first section, studying during busy season may become necessary. I discovered 17 ways to effectively study during busy season. Utilize these methods here.

What are the pass rates of the CPA Exam sections?

The average pass rate of a section of the CPA exam is only 49%. The chances of passing the CPA exam without failing a single section are even lower coming in at around 20%. No doubt the CPA exam is incredibly difficult. I breakdown the CPA Exam pass rates of each individual section here.

Should I use a CPA exam final review or Cram Course?

Your standard CPA Review Course should be enough for any CPA candidate to pass the CPA exam. As long as you stay focused and motivated and understand how to study the right way. If you are struggling with the CPA exam, then a final review or cram course will absolutely help and might give you the organization you need to bump your score above a 75. Compare all your options here!

Do I need CPA exam flashcards?

I can personally attest to the fact that I would NOT be a CPA today if it wasn't for the flashcards I used to study. The real question is do you MAKE your own or PURCHASE flashcards. My take is that making your own is busy work that isn't efficient. Buying pre-made flashcards and then creating your own on topics that really trip you up is the best way to go in my opinion. Here are my most recommended flashcard options

When Are CPA Exam Scores Released?

Every quarter there are typically two major score release dates you need to know. The hardest part of taking the CPA exam is waiting for your scores, but it's crucial to stay focused during these wait times and continue studying for your next section, regardless of whether you think you passed or failed. Check your upcoming score release dates here.

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