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Advice on taking the CPA exam?

Q211995Q211995 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
Hi! I am planning to take the CPA exam within the next 10 months, I haven't applied to the board or registered for the sections yet. Should I start studying as soon as possible? or wait until I get approved and have a set date for the exam? How long should I have between sections? What can I do to maximise my chances of passing all sections within the next 10 months?

I would appreciate any advice or tips on the CPA exam.

Replies to: Advice on taking the CPA exam?

  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 22,909 Forum Champion
    I'm a CPA and my S became a CPA a few years ago. The process changed a great deal over the years. Here is what I can tell you about how my S approached the exam.......

    First step is to check with your state board. See if you have completed the requirements to sit for the exam. And see how long an approval to take the exam is good for before you apply -- every time you have to apply it costs money so you want to try to minimize the costs (even if it will be reimbursed by a firm). My S was at school when he did the application process but I think it took a couple of months to get it done. Of course other states may be more efficient in terms of processing the requests so it is hard to know exactly. There may be some information online or you may want to call the state board to get a sense of how long it takes to get approved.

    In terms of studying, my S took the online Becker course which he found very useful. Fortunately he had a job lined up for the fall and his firm paid for the course. I also remember that he used the Becker schedule of in-person classes to get a sense of how long he would need to study for each section of the exam (some sections take more work than others) -- for example if the Becker business law section ran X weeks he would leave himself about that long (usually with an extra week or two) to go through the online course and study for that part of the exam. He also gave himself a week or two off between the different parts of the exam to decompress. I think he scheduled all four parts of the exam at once using that schedule as he though things would be busy in the summer and he wanted to lock in his preferred time and location. FWIW I think he started taking the exam in April (started studying in March) or so of his grad school year and he finished all of the parts by late August. He was very dedicated and diligent about studying and keeping to the timeframe he had set out for himself. The huge benefit was that he was done with the exam before he started work.

    It is a tough exam and it important to study hard. Best of luck.
  • Q211995Q211995 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    I agree, it's a huge plus that he was able to get it done before starting work. I will be using the Becker review course as well so I might schedule my study time the same way. It seems like your S passed all section on his first attempt, I'm debating whether I should shorten the time between the tests incase I need to retake some, and if I should apply for two sections at a time incase I go over the six month validation period.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 22,909 Forum Champion
    Yes he worked very hard and did pass all of the parts the first time (he did better than me in that regard LOL). He thought the Becker online course was hugely helpful so I'm glad you have Becker as well.

    I can only tell you how he planned things out which was scheduling all four exams out in advance. My S likes to have deadlines set up (or else he said he would always feel that he could study more for any given part). I imagine that a number of people do schedule one exam at a time so you need to figure out a system you are comfortable with.

    Good luck.
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