My Advice for Passing the CPA Exam: Keep Going

I will miss being a blogger for Another71.com, but I am happy that the reason it is ending is because I’m done with my exams. It wasn’t until I found Another71 that I stopped feeling alone in the CPA exam world.

I remember reading Jeff’s post about how he received back to back 74s which made him lose credit for FAR but that he didn’t give up. I needed to know there were others out there like me.

For almost two years I took and failed exams by a few points. I had no passing scores and I struggled to keep going.

My advice is this: Keep Going.

I knew if I stopped I would always regret it, and it would be harder later in life to try and get my CPA license. The day I received my first passing score made all those days I felt down and out about the exam worth it.

I needed to find other candidates who were struggling to pass, but who weren’t giving up, in order to keep myself going. In the Another71 Forums, I found candidates who received way too many scores in the low 70s like I had, but these brave souls didn’t hide it. They posted their scores on the forums and proclaimed what they were going to do differently to pass.

A manager at my firm told me that if he could chose, he’d rather have the CPA that struggled passing their exam. He wanted the CPA who, as a candidate, received 74 after 74, but never gave up. He told me that not only did someone who received multiple failing scores know their stuff, since they were constantly studying, but they had the motivation and determination to keep going. Failure was never an option for these candidates.

I have loved being a blogger for Another71. It was a way I could vent, reach out and maybe even laugh at the craziness that was my life as a CPA exam candidate to people who actually knew what I was talking about.

People who knew what it was like to remember whether student interest expense was an above or below the line deduction, but couldn’t remember how old they were turning on their upcoming birthday. Candidates who spent too many late hours wishing they were anywhere else but buried in their books.

I know what it is like to receive failing score after failing score; questioning the whole process and yourself. I also know that it is hard to receive encouragement or motivation from others that just don’t get it. So I wanted to leave you all with something, especially for those of you who recently found out you did not pass a section or two.

One day, after I was struggling to accept a failing score, a coworker, who had also struggled to pass, said to me “What do you call a doctor that graduates last in his class?” I told her I didn’t know, and she replied “a doctor.”

She is right. In the end, it’ll say “CPA” after your name. It won’t say how long it took you to get there, or whether you passed with a 90 or a 75; it just matters that you passed. In the end we’re all just doctors … err, CPAs.

In the true, Another71 Forum classic signature, I will end my post today with joy:

AUD: 51, 78
FAR: 61, 73, 79
REG: 74, 70, 66, 83
BEC: 70, 68, 71, 72, 82
Ethics: 100

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16 comments

Jeff - another71.com 10 years ago

You were a great find, Virginia! Your pithy writing style will be missed. -Jeff

Ellen 10 years ago

Its nice to hear someone struggled with bec as much as I did. Everyone says its the easiest exam but for me it was the hardest. Congrats!

Shawn 10 years ago

I've enjoyed reading your posts. Congrats Doc.!

Justin 10 years ago

This is an amazing post... really hit home for me... thanks for the comments!

Dung nguyen 10 years ago

I'm jealous w/ u !!! Happy ending to you.

Yelitza 10 years ago

Gracias...Seguire Luchando.

Matt 10 years ago

Your comments where spot on for me. I'm in the process of printing it to use as motivation while I continue on. Thanks.

JoMarie 10 years ago

I'm so happy to hear you passed!! It brought tears to my eyes. Congrats!!

Sara 10 years ago

Really enjoyed reading your posts!

David 10 years ago

Virgina, I have especially liked reading your posts this year. They have been helpful, and quite frankly you have inspired me! Congratulations on your awesome accomplishments!!

Allyson 10 years ago

Tis a bittersweet farewell, my fellow blogger. I couldn't be happier for you. You have a way with words and accounting. All the best, Virginia, CPA!

TARA 10 years ago

Great Post! Keep this motivation through out the life :) best of luck for future!!

Bradley 10 years ago

Congrats on passing the exam! I also enjoyed reading your blogs. What was the secret to the big jump in your REG score? Good luck going forward!

TEXAScpa 10 years ago

Virginia, You are a great blogger, keep it up! I also finished up the CPA exam this window with a similar experience as yours, and with almost the same exact final scores on all exams. Weird how close some people experiences are with this exam! I hope for the best for you in your life as a CPA. You are a hardworking, beautiful CPA. Job well done!

Angie 10 years ago

Congratulations Virginia!!

MOMCPA2B 10 years ago

OH NO what am I going to do? You will be truly missed but at least it ends this way and not on a sour note. Good Look to you CPA V! And you need to put that writing to go use. Maybe write some articles for magazines or something. Like -- The life according to Virginia. Good Look