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CPA Exam Failure: Three Things you Should do to get Back on Track

CPA Exam Failure: Three Things you Should do to get Back on Track

January 12, 2010

Your heart races with anxiety as the score page from NASBA loads.


Well, nothing except Error: Score not found. Please verify Section ID Number and Date of Birth format and re-submit, which is the same thing it has said the past five times you’ve checked in the last hour.

A few minutes of casual internet browsing pass and you come back to the score page to check “just one last time.”

Elliott, Jeffrey: 71

Hours of preparation and sacrifice down the drain. Thoughts of vacation days wasted, and weekends absent from friends and family add insult to injury.

Here are some tips for dealing with failure on the CPA Exam:

1. Honest evaluation of yourself

It’s time to come clean – at least to yourself. Did you give 110% or was it more like a 65% effort? While you were “studying at the coffee shop” were you watching CPA review lectures or was it YouTube? The frantic typing on your laptop that could be heard from 2 tables away – were those CPA Exam notes or where you commenting on pictures of your friend’s weekend indiscretions that were posted on Facebook? While your spouse was watching the kids – did you turn up the heat and knock out a section of FAR or did you take a “much deserved mental break” and watch TV episodes on Hulu? Just asking.

If you started to feel a little guilty reading this…you already know what needs to be done.

2. Honest evaluation of your review materials

Are you trying to study Auditing with 2007 books that you purchased off of eBay? Are you crazy? – those were written in 2006 and you’re taking a 2009 exam. Did you go cheap when you bought your flatscreen TV? No – you just had to have a 52-inch 1080 instead of a 46-inch 720. Yet, for some reason you’re sitting there studying for this beast of an exam using 3 year old study material…ironically with your expensive flatscreen blaring in the background.

Throw that garbage away and get NEW CPA Exam review materials. You’re studying outdated information that could very well be the difference between passing and a 74. Go cheap on that engagement ring – NOT your CPA review materials. She’ll never know it’s a CZ anyway. Her friends won’t be able to get over how shiny and perfect it looks and you’ll be a hero…AND a genius because you passed the CPA Exam…which means you must be “really good at math.”

3. Honest evaluation of your schedule

So, you work 45 (or 65+ during busy season) hours a week and try to get in a little study time between going to the gym, the TV shows you recorded on your DVR, and seeing family and friends.

Great – at this pace you’ll be ready for FAR in 6 months. It’s time to get medieval on your study schedule.

If you’re not studying 20 hours a week…you’re not studying.

How to Really Study