What’s your CPA Exam Story?

  • Creator
  • #3309568

    So I know we’ve all got our stories to tell about the exam. Share them here!

    I’ll go first.

    I graduated college in 2019 with 150 credit hours, so I was good there. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life, so I took a year off from studying until a mentor of mine talked me into taking the exam. I decided to use Surgent and supplement this with Ninja. This was April 2020, right as the world was starting to shut down. I started with FAR since I felt like it would be the longest. I didn’t get to sit for the exam until September 2020 because of the pandemic. Wound up passing on my first try. Then it was on to AUD! Things got a little rocky here. My test date was December 2020. Between passing FAR and starting to study for AUD, I decided to move states, change jobs/industries, and got COVID 2 weeks before my exam. I went ahead and took the exam because my notice was about to expire. I applied for FAR and AUD together. Needless to say, i did not pass. I made a 65. I decided to put AUD on the back burner and give BEC and REG a shot. Meanwhile, things were not going well at my current job. So, again, I decided to make a change in employment (the exact right decision for me given my current situation at the time). Now it is March 2021. I applied for BEC and REG in December 2020 so time is ticking. I took REG in April 2021 and passed. Then with a quick turnaround took BEC before I had gone through my study materials and failed, this time a 66. I scheduled my retake 2 weeks later, finished my review course and passed! Just the fickle mistress that is AUD now. In July 2021 I got Covid again so studying was put on hold for a little while. Once better, I studied a LOT this go around, bracing for the worst…. and made a 74… I was heartbroken, wanted to quit, and considered giving up. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed. I retested a week after receiving my results and passed! I also took some time to study and pass my real estate exam in Summer 2021 (it was refreshing to learn something not accounting lol). I received my results in November 2021, then applied for licensure in December 2021. Big mistake. My application was lost in the mail, along with the supporting documents. Luckily, as i was preparing a new application, the original was found and delivered. It was accepted and my license went active 12/28/2021! What a ride it was, but man was it worth it. For those of you in the thick of it, keep your head up! You can do it!

    Veni, Vidi, Vici

    CPA in Louisiana

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  • Author
  • #3309853

    Hi Mookie,

    I realize this is completely out of the blue, but I saw that you used Surgent to pass the CPA exam, so I wanted to know if you had any insight. I’ve only been studying for about a month now, for FAR. First one. What was your approach to studying with Surgent? With the book, videos, MCQs and SIMs? You obviously had a lot of success, so I’de be happy to take any pointers that you have!

    Ive essentially been going through the material in a linear fashion, watching every video, doing the questions and supplementing with the book. I know ninja says to read the book cover to cover for two to three weeks but it’s soooooo detailed and it would take me over a month to do that alone! Also, what was your opinion of the ReadyScore feature? Did that seem like a pretty accurate gauge of your actual test performance? I’ve really wondered about that.

    Also, full disclosure, I’ve been out of college for 15 years and a stay at home mom for the last ten, so yeah, definitely not a traditional approach here!

    Thanks so much for your feedback!


    My goal with Surgent was to watch every lecture, complete 75% of the available MC questions for each section, and work about 50% of the available sims. I would then read the Ninja Notes at least once in the days leading up to the exam. Every time I hit these milestones I would pass.

    I didn't take notes on the sections, rewrite the ninja notes, or read the text book; but I am more of an auditory learner. If I hear/watch the lectures and then practice with the questions I knew I would pass. But that's me, you have to figure out how you learn best.

    For ready score, I would try to get at least 82-85% on every section. And then score in the 85-92% range on practice tests. I don't think Surgent's practice tests are particularly effective in that they have questions you have already seen. But other than that, I thought it to be a great course!

    Veni, Vidi, Vici

    CPA in Louisiana

    Stephen Kofa

    I started my CPA journey sometime around November 2019, after a long period of hesitation due to fear of failure. However, I’m glad I finally jumped into the water and decided to swim. It has been a pleasurable experience ever since, even though the road has been nothing short of rocky (sure most CPA candidates can relate). As of this writing, I have two sections (FAR and AUD) under my belt. My confidence has been lifted with those successes, but again I’ve hit another bump in the road with BEC (failed twice already). Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and I’m getting nervous about losing credits. But I’m hanging in there and praying. With God all things are possible!

    Ninja Albert

    Hi all

    I started right after my college career ended, struggled for a while using one other course then hopped on Ninja and was pretty helpful especially the sparring vids, and communication with Ninja Mike! The CPA journey is not an easy task to get done, I am now studying for Reg going for my third try after 2 fails of 73 and 69. It can be stressful at times, but just thinking about those three letters pushes me not to give up!

    @Stephen Kofa I also get that the clock is ticking but 18 months for 3 exams is a lot of time if you don't waste any! keep on studying and retaking right away not to forget any material and good luck!


    I graduated college with 150 credits in 2014 but state board would not accept jr. college credits and my 4-year wouldn't accept them either. I reached out to the Big 4 that had made an offer to me and asked about deferring for a year so I could pursue my MBA which they were happy to oblige. I crammed a 12-course MBA into 12 months and started work in July of 2015 with the plan to take the CPA immediately. I signed up for FAR with Becker because my firm provided materials through them and I studied for a bit but was not mature enough to give up my extracurriculars and eventually cancelled the test without sitting. Fast forward to November 2020 and with the Pandemic raging I figured now was as good a time as any to try and start. I also had a work review around this time and was informed the only thing keeping me from a promotion was the CPA. I now live in NY and have passed BEC (1st attempt in March 2021), FAR (1st attempt in July 2021) and REG (2nd attempt in November 2021). I am regrouping for AUD after failing in February 2022. Within a couple days of finding out I had passed BEC and starting my timer, my wife and I found out we were expecting our first child. Little girl was born on 12/16, the same day I found out I passed REG. Studying with a newborn and working overtime has proved the most difficult balancing act of my life, because studying often plays 3rd fiddle, but I am scheduled to retake 3/28 and feeling more and more confident with each MC set I do.

    AUD - NINJA in Training
    BEC - 78
    FAR - 75
    REG - 79

    My GPA in accounting courses was 2.0, and I passed three parts of the exam in one shot, and
    passed the remaining one (Law) on the next try.

    So, what else do you need to know?

    Just shut up and do the work.


    Happy busy season (not)

    Graduated with Accounting & business-econ degrees,

    Found an entry level accounting job which was mostly data entry. Not a terrible job, but the pay was terrible as i didn't have any accounting experience (somehow they still ask for a year of experience for a first year accounting role). I was still pondering if i wanted to take the exam when i first started working there because i was intimidated and didnt want to spend the next year and a half studying and “missing out” on stuff.

    I don't even think it took a month for me to wake up and order Gleim. I wanted to make sure to get FAR done first, studied for about half a year, nailed it, then BEC, REG, AUD while working a normal work schedule.

    Random REG Exam experience: I forgot to click on “Start Break” between testlets, came back from my full fifteen minute break and realized the timer was still running and started to panic. Pretty embarassing when it was my third exam and making an amateur move like that.

    But now been at a CPA firm for about two and a half years, salary is worth it despite all the current inflation issues. Passing the exams is definitely worth it.

    AUD - 81
    BEC - 83
    FAR - 81
    REG - 85
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