Confessions of a CPA Exam Candidate

23 Feb 2011

Guest Posts

By Laura

Virginia is a weekly Club 75 Blogger as she documents her journey through the CPA Exam. She has been a member of's Club 75 since December 2010.


I have unfriend-ed or “hidden” Facebook friends that bragged about their CPA success. I was constantly failing by just a few points for nearly two years and those that flaunted their success became my secret enemies.

Did you ever have a friend send out a mass text “I PASSED BEC!!” or something like that? Gosh, he/she quickly became less of a friend. I promised myself after a few of these episodes, whether coworkers or Facebook friends, I would never be that person.

The first passing score I received I was beyond excited and relieved. I wanted to call anyone and everyone, but I sat back and took it in. I passed for me and me alone. No one else understood my personal struggle or would understand how much that passing score meant to me.
I still get very frustrated with coworkers that feel the need to flaunt their CPA success. I have yet to come up with a good response that is professional and yet says “the last thing I want to hear about is how awesome you are when it comes to the CPA Exam.”

All this reminds me of a few questions or comments that I have come to dread over the past few years. I get stressed when I’m studying hard core and working, which is obviously common to all CPA exam candidates. I feel like it’s so hard to keep my cool, though I do, with some of the things people insist saying/asking.

“How did your test go?”

Generally, I find that people who ask this question don’t actually care. Either they know you just took a test and are being polite by showing they remembered that fact, or they feel like it is a question they should ask. Truth is, I’ve been stressing over whichever part of the CPA Exam for weeks, probably months, and the last thing I want to talk about is that exam after I take it. After I take an exam, I know there’s no sense on dwelling on how I did, I’d like to move on and put any negative thoughts behind me. Oh, but thank you, for being so polite and bringing it back up (sarcasm).

“The computerized exam is so much easier than the old exam.”

Wow. Thank you for telling me that. Now I feel even better with my handfuls of failing scores. I seem to get this comment a lot from older people in my office, and older clients I work with. I kind of laugh it off when they say that, but really why the need to make this comment? Does it make them feel better about themselves? Do they think it will help me with my already-struggling CPA Exam endeavors? I always want to shoot back with an IT question, like, “Really? Do you know the difference between a field, node, record and byte?” Of course though, I politely smile and make a professional comment and move along.

Those are only a few of the many, but I think you get the idea. In the mean time, I really am loving the lack of studying, so much so I’m worried I might not be able to get back into study-mode if need be.

Very often, when I have my iPod on “random,” my CPA Exam study MP3s come up. I quickly hit the “next” arrow and think of how glad I am I don’t have to listen to those right now.


Leave a Reply


Shelby 13 years ago

I agree totally with the "how'd you do" comment. If it is a friend I can be truthful - I just tell them that I don't want to think or talk about it now that it is over...thank you for asking. I will not find out my score for a while now" haha. They get the point fairly quickly!

Barry 13 years ago

You are soooo funny but very truthful.

Il_CPA 13 years ago

I do exactly the same thing as Shelby mentioned.. I also agree with Virginia's secret enemies comment. So don't worry Virginia.. it happens to all of us..

Jaime 13 years ago

Hi Virginia, Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with everyone. I would like to respectfully disagree with you. I think it is great when I hear of one of my fellow CPA candidates pass!! Even when I didn't. I have passed three sections thus far (on the first attempt and extremely proud) and unfortunately did not pass my last section which case I retake Monday. Just as I shouted "I Passed FAR, AUD, and BEC...I cried "I FAILED REG". Believe me...Everyone wants to hear when you pass. Especially the people who have had to deal with you for however long the process has been. My husband and sister will attest to that statement even though they do not have a clue what the CPA exam really consists of. Please don't take other people's excitement for bragging. As we all know, this is an extremely hard task and deserves some recognition even if you are in the shower alone screaming it to your self. I hope the best for your journey!! Good Luck!! We are all in this together!! I promise!!

Lamar 13 years ago

Virginia, I totally feel your pain. Listen, I readily admit that I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I failed all parts of the exam three times before I finally passed. Believe me, it was tough. You endure the questions and you also "feel" like people are whispering about you behind your back. Whether they were or not is not important. Most people mean well. Some will enjoy your misfortune. But in the end, what is most important, is that you did the work, you studied, you persevered, and you were successful. There is nothing like pure inner total satisfaction. You know what you did. Good luck.

BluMerle 13 years ago

Timeless post! :o) By the way, now that it's over (at least I hope it is), I dare someone to tell me that the old version of the exam was harder than the computer based version. CBT was no walk in the park and the new CBT-E version every bit as challenging as its predecessor. Oh and since we're confessing... here's something I never thought I'd say. I miss the written communications part of the exam.

Dennis 13 years ago

The more and more you work towards and take the CPA exam, the more you realize just how much of a marketing/advertising gimmick it is for the AICPA. Funny, most other licenses dont cost half the CPA, and its probably due to AICPA's nonstop bombardment and advertising claiming how important CPA's are. I really believe that, especially how important they were to Enron, Worldcom and Madoff. I found the 18 month stipulation particularly contrived and bureaucratically based, especially for those who dont take more than one part at a time (b/c the grading is so slow)

Tatiana 13 years ago

Hi! Thanks for your post! I am just starting to study again for my CPA after failing it the first time. Can you tell me about your "CPA Exam study MP3s"? What are those? And how and where they can be purchased? Thanks!

Amy 13 years ago

I felt like I wrote this post myself! The comment about older coworkers saying the test is somehow easier now made me chuckle. You're exactly right, it IS a way to make them feel better about what they did (or didn't do) back in the day.

IL_CPA 13 years ago

Is Ethics pdf exam same as the online one questions wise?