HOW TO PASS THE CPA EXAM
PLAN TO SUCCEED
The first step to becoming a CPA is deciding that this is what you really want to do. It is a major commitment. I would also recommend finding friends that have been through the process and/or are going through the process currently. Also, make sure you have time to invest in studying on top of your normal daily tasks. I would recommend studying for 3 hours a day or 20 hours a week.
In order to sit for the CPA exam you will need to meet very specific requirements which vary from state to state. You will most likely need a bachelor's degree with 150 hours of specific credits, or a Master's degree in accounting before you can sit for the CPA exam. Look up the requirements for your state here. This is the hardest part of becoming a CPA.
To apply for the CPA Exam, you must submit forms and transcripts, along with fees (ranging from $900 to $1,000), to the state board or its designee. The best way to become a CPA is to do so for free. Most well-known accounting firms will cover CPA exam fees for employees. You may apply to any state or jurisdiction, but may only register to take the exam in one jurisdiction at a time. Applications can be submitted at any time during the year, and the process usually takes from four to six weeks for first-time candidates. More info at Becker.com.
STUDY STUDY STUDY
I used Becker CPA Exam Review online to pass the CPA exam. Tip, work for a CPA firm that will pay for your study materials. Plan to study for 3 hours a day or 20 hours a week. Plan to study for 6 - 8 weeks on average for each section of the exam, plan to study an extra 2 weeks for FAR. Make sure you try to study every day, including weekends. Watch every video, take handwritten notes, do as many practice questions as you can. If you understand the concept well move on. If you don't understand a concept then go back to your notes or instructor videos to figure out how to get the questions right.
SCHEDULE YOUR EXAM
Once your application has been processed by the state board, you’ll receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS) which is required for you to schedule your CPA Exam at a Prometric Test Center. Generally, you’ll need to sit for your first exam within six months of receiving the NTS, although this can vary by jurisdiction. The CPA Exam is offered two out of every three months of each quarter. The months when testing is available are called "testing windows." You may schedule the exam parts in any order, and one at a time. I took my exams in the following order: FAR, AUD, BEC, REG. Testing is available in January & February, April & May, July & August, October & November.
SIT & PASS
Hopefully you’ve worked hard and prepared diligently. Take the exam, try to get as many points as you can. If you don't know an answer on test day then skip it, answer the ones you know first. Once you pass the first part of the exam, you’ll have 18-months to apply, prepare, schedule and pass the other three parts. Hopefully you can successfully complete the entire CPA Exam process within one year!
The current requirement in Texas is one year (or 2,000 work hours) of full-time non-routine accounting work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed CPA.
CPA Candidate Bulletin
The Candidate Bulletin is the official handbook for individuals who plan to take the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination. It covers such topics as how to apply, how and when to schedule the examination, what rules are in effect at test centers, when to expect scores, and what topics are covered on the examination. It also includes information about the examination structure, the roles and responsibilities of CPA Examination partners (the AICPA, NASBA, and Prometric), and board of accountancy contact information.
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