8 Tips for Passing the CPA Exam

March 30, 2011 Study Tips

Brad is a weekly Club 75 Blogger as he documents his journey through the CPA Exam.
He has been a member of Another71.com’s Club 75 since November 2010.


Time to celebrate passing the CPA Exam and count my blessings!

Today I got the results for the FAR section and found that I passed with an 85. With this pass I have now passed each of the 4 major sections. I still have the ethics test and need my company to sign off on my hours. After that I will send in my application to be a CPA. I am very excited and relieved to be done.

Here are some key points that helped me in passing the CPA Exam:

1. Study hard and smart, I recommend no less than 120 hours per test. Find the areas you are weak in through your studying and cover those areas. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. I do this a lot. I did this to start when I began taking the CPA tests. If something is not working for you change your approach. You can’t just know the material well but you also need to be good at taking tests. They try to trick you on the questions on the test.

2. You need a support system of friends, and family. Many areas in your life drop off to make time for studying, and this support system is critical to help you not lose your brain. A large part of my success was because of my support system at work and home. I had a flexible job that allowed me to come and go as long as my deadlines were done. My wife also supported me in allowing me to study lots of hours when she really needed help with my son. We both dug in deep and pushed on.

3. Find a current study program to assist you in understanding the material. I used Yaeger CPA Review and relied on another71.com for extra help. Yaeger uses the Wiley books.

4. Follow Jeff’s Free Study Planner.

5. Read Jeff’s Free 50 Things you Must know about the CPA Exam.

6. Take notes of areas you are struggling with throughout your studying and review many, many times.

7. When taking a CPA test for the 2nd time remember you don’t need 1 or 2 more points but you need to 75 more points. If you take a test for the 2nd time it will be completely different. Study everything again as if you are taking the test for the 1st time and pay special attention to your weak areas.

8. The week or two before the test cram like crazy and lighten down the studying a day or two before the test to allow your brain some time to absorb the information before the test.
Passing the CPA tests is one of the hardest ordeals I have faced in life. For me it was harder than graduate school. Do not take the CPA tests lightly and don’t ever get cocky. I wish you all well in your efforts to become a CPA. I am grateful to so many people who have supported me through my journey of becoming a CPA. I am grateful to my wife family, friends, and especially God. I couldn’t have done it with out them.

Take care,
Bradley Bateman



  • Jade

    Congrats!!!! You deserve all the success and doors that will open up for you!!!! Kiss your wife and kids and celebrate!!!!

    YAY!!

  • Barry

    Congrats on a job well done!!!

  • Allyson

    Good tips. #8 is very important as we tend to forget to rest our brain enough in the home stretch.

    Best wishes to you on your next endeavor, Bradley Bateman, CPA!

  • You Can Do It

    Congrats! And thanks for the very sound advice. I am currently 0 for 3 and really need to change my approach. Your words ring so true. I really like your comment about taking the test seriously. I thought I could “finesse” my way through this test; boy was I wrong. Congrats again!