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CPA Exam Failure: How to Recover

Jeff Elliott another71This is from the CPA Exam Survival Guide, which is a free download to all Another71 readers.

I know that right now is a miserable time and it is easy to start believing thoughts that simply are not true.

Thoughts like you're not smart enough to pass, accounting isn't for you, the AICPA hates you and does not want you in the profession, etc.

I personally felt all those emotions and had those thoughts going through my head as well. A few years removed from the exam process, I can tell you that being on the other side truly is worth it.

My problem was always commitment to the exam. I wanted to be a CPA, but I didn't really want to be a CPA. (I had better things to do after a long day of public accounting like play Madden.)

Picture yourself three years from now.

Will this momentarily failure – be it a 55, a 71, or a 74, mean anything?

No. It will be a distant memory and like most things, you look back at tough times with a fondness that wasn't there when you were in the middle of it.

This very well could be one of the toughest times you encounter in your career outside of getting downsized or laid off.

Stay with it.

It will pay off in the end. Just the sheer fact that you got this far tells me you are more than smart enough to pass this exam.

Get up and dust yourself off. You're tough. You'll be fine. Anyone can quit this thing. Quitting is simply not an option for you. It just isn't.

You scored a 60 or less:

Is it hopeless? No way! It happens all of the time. It may seem like you're the only one scoring this low, but I promise you that it happens more than you would think because I get the e-mails. They can't talk to their spouse (who isn't taking the exam). They can't talk to their co-workers or boss (too ashamed). They e-mail me.

They work through it. They pass.

You scored a 71-ish:

Are you 4 points away? No. There is a significant hole in your conceptual understanding of a few topics. You know what they are if you're honest with yourself. They are those sections of your exam that you pray you don't see on Exam Day.

Start your study prep over and don't cut any corners whatsoever.

The same goes for a 74:

Many people start looking for information on how to appeal an exam score when they score a 74 (or even a 73). Forget it.

It's fruitless.

You could take another exam and get your score back by the time you get your appeal results.

Let's face it: there is a next-to-nothing chance the AICPA is going to overturn your score.

I've certainly never heard of it happening, and if it did happen, I would have heard about it in the Another71 Forum.

fail the cpa exam

As you re-study, remember this:

You're not one “point” from passing.

You're 75 “points” away.

You scored that 74 more than a month ago.

Start over and hit it hard. Figure out what your weak area is and own it.

Destroy it.

As the late Zig Ziglar said, “Remember that failure is an event, not a person.”

Never forget that.

Final point: If you fail an exam, aside from a spouse or loved one, it's no one else's business unless you decide to make it their business.

Tell your nosy co-worker to pound sand.

(I have an attorney friend who says that a lot and I like it.)

You lost an exam credit:

My story…

Losing credit for a passed exam is terrible. I know this first hand.

I was so elated over passing FAR that I literally took a year off from the exam to celebrate.

Not a smart move.

After I started rolling and passed BEC and AUD, I came to my nemesis: Regulation.

I had previously scored a 74 on REG and I was back for vengeance. My FAR credit was also on the line.

Pass REG and I was done with the CPA Exam.

Fail REG and I was back to having passed only two sections.

Stakes were high.

I fired up my laptop.

Hit refresh on the NASBA Score page.



Held my breath …


I stared in disbelief. I wanted to throw my computer across the room.

Not just across the room – I wanted to throw it through the wall.

Is this a mistake?

It wasn't a mistake. I missed the mark.

It took me several days, but I eventually owned my failure.

I pretended like I didn't have to pass FAR again because I dreaded re-studying for that thing so much.

Given a choice between being water boarded and taking FAR, I would have taken the former.

I hated FAR. I blocked it out of my mind.

I realized a harsh truth about failing REG: I was failing because there were a few areas that I flat-out refused to study.

I knew which ones they were, too: AMT, Like-Kind Exchanges, and 1231, 1245, and 1250 Assets. They were boring. I didn't want to study them.

I forced myself to study them and re-studied everything else again.


I also re-passed FAR on my next attempt.

Back to you…

If you lost an exam credit, it only seems like it's the end of the world.

Mentally, you have to take inventory of what exams you've passed, not what you just lost.

You lost credit for one, but you still have two exams passed.

A lot of people would give their left pinky to be in your shoes.

CPA Exam Fail: Recovery and Retake Recap:

If you just failed an exam, it's no one's fault except your own.

I don't care what happened at the exam center that day.

I don't care how crazy work got the week prior to your exam.

I don't care how insane the simulation topics were.

It's your fault.

Be accountable. There are no bailouts.

Study Hard.

If you fail … Study harder.

If you fail again … Study even harder.

I too struggled with the blame game but the faster I got over it, the faster I got back on the road to a 75 .

(or a 92).

Jeff Elliott is a licensed CPA (KS) and author of the CPA Exam Survival Guide, which is available for 3 easy payments of free.

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  1. Jackie
    February 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Thanks, sometimes you just need to hear that from someone who has been there and knows what being a CPA really means.

  2. Kevin
    February 5, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    The odds of passing all 4 in a row are something like 6% – that means virtually of all of us have been there. Hang in there! I just failed my last part with a 74 on Monday, but if I got this far, I can definitely go all the way and kill this year-long demon. You can, too.

  3. AccountingNerd
    February 5, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks Jeff. Picked me up. Dusted myself off. Back on my feet. 🙂

  4. JPO
    February 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Thanks Jeff, I liked that! I failed AUD last October and I still haven’t gotten back on my feet to studying again. It’s dreadful. But, like you say, the sooner I get back to it, the sooner I’ll be back on the road to a [insert passing score here]. Thanks!

  5. ME
    February 5, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    I really needed this!
    This morning I found out I failed BEC for the third time! I was devastated and the exact thoughts crossed my mind: not being smart enough to pass, this not being the right career choice for me, feeling ashamed. It is very difficult to pick yourself up again and again especially after taking a total of 5 exams and still no credits! I am
    going to take your advice and study even harder now. I want to devour this exam!
    In addition, It is comforting to know I am not alone on this journey, however long it takes me. Thanks for sharing that post.

  6. Carlos
    February 5, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    very inspiring. Thank you Jeff!

  7. Jen
    February 5, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Me too, I failed BEC twice. This time I’m officially a “71-er”. I was praying for a 75 but I knew I would not try harder if I had passed. Sure I was disappointed but just for a little while. I know this journey is not about failures but it’s about getting back up to try again and again and again until I pass. I refuse to let all my struggles and sacrifices melt away like the snowman on my doorstep if I give up now.

    Thanks Jeff for this playground to share our thoughts and motivate each other. I just love coming here. I can’t wait for a BEC retake but I have FAR to beat in 3 weeks. BEC, we’ll meet again in the Spring.

  8. Rose
    February 5, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Thank you Jeff! Even though I’m fine with the exam, it’s nice to be reminded of what we have to go thru in order to pass this exam. Just like you I’d happened to lose not just one, but two credits (FAR and BEC) to REG. It really felt like the end if the world, but I couldn’t look back, so I had to pick up and move forward. Never ever give up.

  9. Rose
    February 5, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    This should have said “done”, not “fine” :)) Phone acting up.

  10. Pinky
    February 5, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Very inspiring Jeff. I did pass REG this time but it was my fourth attempt so for all who did not pass this time, keep pounding, you’ll get there. You just have to stick with it. And it sure as hell is no one’s business whether you pass it or not because intended or not they make you feel like crap. Surround yourself with forums like these and keep positive.

  11. Freddled Gruntbugly
    February 6, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Certainly enlightening. Thank you. Just received my score for my first exam – Audit, 74. A blow to my ego as I had a 3.87 GPA (summer ’13). I am not stupid: old, bald, fat and short certainly… but not stupid. I am frustrated and trying to figure out what I missed and how to improve my study methods. Didn’t help that CPAexcel drilled and drilled on AU. Ah well, I think I know how to fix that now.

  12. BasemElgamal
    February 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    thank you my friend ,,,this is very inspiring 🙂

  13. Luluzinha Biologia
    February 7, 2014 at 8:00 am

    I just got my AUD results, I got a 62 may last year and january this year 62 again. I do feel I am not smart enough for this exam. I am originally from Brazil, have been in the US since 98 and worked very hard as a housecleaner and waitress to pay for school. Now I am facing the CPA exam drama and the challenges of starting an accounting career, it is very difficult to find an entry level job at 33 with no experience. I feel I should just be a waitress and give up but I want to believe I can go further…

  14. Ross
    February 7, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Hey.. how is the CPAexcel? I ‘ve heard of it and wanted to know more about it. is it worth it? since i am a full- time employee.. You’ll pass that AUD!

  15. Freddled Gruntbugly
    February 9, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    I like CPA excel because it breaks things down into very small sections. This makes it easy to study during the day’s interstices.

  16. Freddled Gruntbugly
    February 9, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Lulu, you can do it; you just need to persist. The language differences can be overcome with focus and the age thing can be an advantage. Heck, I am in my late 50s and I am NOT going to give up “until they pry my cold dead fingers from that #2 pencil…”

  17. Ross
    February 10, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Gotcha! Do you highly recommend this program? Im stuck between this and becker! Help!

  18. Freddled Gruntbugly
    February 10, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I have no opinion because I am not using Becker at this point. If I become dissatisfied with CPAexcel Becker is the next likely candidate (expensive though).

  19. staytuned
    February 10, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    I just got done with taking the REG exam. I took BEC twice, and got a 74 and then a 72. I was feeling pretty down for awhile. This is being written 3 hours after I walked out of my REG exam and I do feel that no matter the outcome of these exams, I know I can pass these. The questions are not that hard, its just a huge amount of information to absorb. That being said, I am going to continue doing Wiley Test Bank for 1 hour per day until I get my results so I can keep a minimal level of freshness in me in case I have to retake.

  20. Erin Lent
    February 11, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    On Feb. 4th, 2014 I discovered that I didn’t pass AUD. After the MCQ’s I felt like I had done well. Then the TBS’s blew me out of the water. I ordered the 2014 AUD book and am getting ready to study AUD again. I have taken REG before as well and didn’t pass that either. Has anyone studied two subjects at once? How did you manage it?

  21. Jeff @ another71.com
    February 11, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    I don’t recommend doing that Erin unless you absolutely HAVE to.

  22. Cpa to be
    February 13, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Luluzinha, I am from Brazil as well and certainly share your sentiments regarding working hard and going to school full time. But you can do it! And about the age… I used to get caught up on that too but you can easily enhance your strengths and your age will not matter at all! Remember, it is in Brazil that we have to put our dob on our resume… Not in the USA 🙂

  23. Penelope
    February 17, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Thank you for this comment. I just took REG for the 3rd time, I think I did well but who knows until you get the score. This gives me hope that if I take it a 4th time, I’m definitely not alone!

  24. Luluzinha Biologia
    February 25, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Thank you so much for the support. We will make it!!!

  25. Shallbeacpa1225
    February 26, 2014 at 10:56 am

    On Feb 25, 2014, I found out that I failed BEC. I have been eligible since 2008 to sit and I was completely afraid to sit. I final got up the courage to sit in January 2014 and had been studying for BEC since October 2013. I looked at the score yesterday and was completely blown away-I think that I even stopped breathing. I am battling alot of self-doubt right now; the parts that I really studied I did not receive one single question. The ones I did not put as much time in on were on the exam. I have already moved on to start studying for regs. Should I circle back and study for BEC again or just continue with regs and take BEC later? Any thoughts?

  26. Erin Lent
    February 28, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Thank you for your response. I think I am going to tackle AUD again and wait for REG. I am going to do my own version of NINJA notes since I don’t have the extra money to buy the NINJA Program. Also I am not going to go near a highlighter. LOL

  27. Erin Lent
    March 3, 2014 at 11:50 am

    My thoughts are to study BEC again while it is still fresh. I took AUD and didn’t pass. So back to studying AUD.

  28. Shallbeacpa1225
    March 4, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Thanks Erin for your advice

  29. Ed Rashid
    March 4, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Shallbeacpa, first what review material are you using? If you’re using self study like many of us, I will advise you to create schedule from now and plan to retest the first week of April.

    If you have extra money, then purchase Wiley Test Bank, and do tons of MCQ. You will be okay i believe.

  30. Ed Rashid
    March 4, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Luluzinha, don’t give up. 62 is only 13 point away from 75. AUD is very challenge for anyone, but if english is your second language like you and I that add salt in the wound. However, that is not the excuse. Here is my advise, first change your study plan, understand the material not just by memorize it, but by understand it. For instance Audit Sampling, you will need to know it front and end, not just by MCQ.

    Set a test date sometime in April and you will be fine. Goodluck my friend,

  31. Ed Rashid
    March 4, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Ross, If you like Becker teaching model then CPAexcel won’t be for you. I am using only Becker notes and CPAexcel study plan and that works for me. I hate highlighting staff and that is only reason Becker is not for me.

  32. Shallbeacpa1225
    March 4, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks Ed. Yes I am using the self- study and the product that I am using is Yaeger. I do need to purchase the Wiley test bank- because I did not do that this past go around. Do you have any tricks as to how to memorize all of the formulas?

  33. livacpa
    March 7, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    You are correct in saying that once you’re done and have the CPA license on the wall, this whole thing will seem like a distant bad dream, especially your failed exams. Ahhh what a feeling

  34. Suzy
    March 7, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Super frustrated! 2nd time taking Audit. I started studying last summer on Becker’s in-class plan which is about 6 months tops for all 4 sections. This didn’t work with my work schedule well so after failing all 4 parts last year I made my own plan for this year-giving each section 3 months roughly. I just got my Audit score (1st test this year) and my score in 10 points lower than last year. From a 69 to 59. I don’t understand. I spent hours not every night but most ever night studying & every weekend for at least 6 hours a day. I felt ready. I felt good after the test at least on the MC; maybe not the Sims. I feel like I should just stop the madness. I am questioning how worth it this is as I’m not a young kid & after being in school since 2006 to get my BS/Accounting & my MBA I’m just getting burned out. Any thoughts?

  35. Aga
    March 7, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Don’t use the language as an excuse. I know how hard it is. I’ve been in the US since 2004 and English is also my second language. I passed BEC on my first try last year, and recently just passed FAR on a first try too. If I can do it, you can do it! Just put time and effort and you’ll be fine. And imagine how proud of yourself you will be when you will pass all four parts and finally become a CPA with English being your second language! Nobody is better than us ! You can do it!

  36. Aga
    March 7, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Oh, I forgot to add that I have a full time job and even went through a job/company change while still studying full time for CPA. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it!

  37. labruja
    March 7, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    I just received my AUD score and I got a 61. I studied for five straight months 8 hours everyday. I felt pretty confident during the test. I watched all the becker lectures and I did all the multiple choice questions many times including the simulations. And, I am using wiley too. I am putting a lot of effort into this. I already passed FAR which will expire in feb 2015, but I am afraid I will lose this credit since I still have to take REG, BEC and retake AUD. So, this is my situation. Any advice anyone?

  38. BaxterCPA
    March 8, 2014 at 4:48 am

    Never give up! One of my favorite quotes: “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.” ~Mary Anne Rademacher

  39. Jenni C.
    March 8, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Just got my result yesterday on FAR. 74. I spent yesterday being sorry for myself and today I’m starting all over again… I’ll keep imagining the day I get CPA next to my name. Thanks for the article.

  40. Andrea Phillips Bowles
    March 10, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Just got back my AUD score last night… a 72. I guess I should have waited to schedule the next section. I wanted to spout fire from my ears. I really did. Today I plunked down more of my hard-earned cash to re-take it. Even without the details of what I missed, I am fairly certain where I went wrong. TBS’s, you will only temporarily ruin my life! Grrr!

  41. elizabethdelamesa
    March 10, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Jeff, would you think that im crazy if i dont want to see my REG score right now because i will be studying for BEC and i will not want to destroy my momentum?

  42. Jeff @ another71.com
    March 10, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Pretty common, actually. Go ahead and look. 🙂

  43. elizabethdelamesa
    March 10, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Thanks! I will look later after work – LOL

  44. elizabethdelamesa
    March 10, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Jeff good advise, i passed REG – 75!

  45. Ed G.
    March 30, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    I have taken Reg 6 times. About to take it this Wednesday. I feel more prepared than I ever have. So far I have Aud @ 76 and BEC @ 83 under my belt. Any last minute tips? My highest score for Reg was 72 the first time I took it. I have been scoring in the 60s ever since.

  46. Ed G.
    March 30, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    I have taken Reg 6 times. The first time I took it and got a 72. The rest were pretty much 60s. I feel more confident than I ever have this time around. Any last minute suggestions?

    I have AUD at 76 and BEC at 83 under my belt.

  47. Ed G.
    March 30, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Taking Reg this Wednesday by the way.

  48. Green G
    May 4, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Thanks for the website and this article; especially the part about not blaming anyone/thing else except yourself. I needed that after I saw “AUD – 63”.

  49. CPA 2014
    May 5, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    I am going through depression. Its tough to recover. For REG I scored 56, 72 and 68 (took April 04th, 2014). Found out my exam results on Friday. When I left the exam I was feeling so much confident than last time but scored even less. Not sure what to do. I am using Becker review course. I did all my homework and final review. Not sure what else I could do at this time. One truth to confess is that I am not good in math. Maybe it is the problem? I need to recover but how? I have Audit section scheduled for May 29th. Need to pull myself together. I hear other people passing and starting to think maybe I am not that smart since I am not good in math to pass these exams. I feel so helpless. I feels like it is the end of the world for me. Never felt this helpless! Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!

  50. Green G
    May 6, 2014 at 11:24 am

    I feel the same way. You are not stupid, these are HARD tests. I found with Becker I was memorizing more than learning the material, but since it was paid for…..I’m stuck with it. I have taken on additional tips from Ninja’s – which I applied as doing the becker highlighting, then RE-WRITE it (not verbatim, but the important stuff). It’s amazing how much more I’ve “learned” not memorized and I have REG on May 29 so I feel your pain, I just found out I failed AUD earlier this week. P.S. I thought I did pretty good.

  51. Nik86
    May 23, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I just got my score for BEC – 70….and I have AUD next week. 🙁 I’ve sat for BEC 3 times in the last 10 months, and 2 times were within 3 months of each other. I was upset yesterday, but I’m going full speed ahead with my review of AUD and hopefully I will pass it. BEC is the worst for me – all the topics I don’t like, such as Economics. Great advice you all have given – I will definitely use it going forward. Still 3 away from my license, but I know I can do it!

  52. Katie
    June 10, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Just found out I failed REG (my last part) with a 73. And it sucks. So bad. I’ve failed all sections at least once, except for AUD. And now have to re-take REG for a fourth time. Turning to NINJA for help this time!

    Blog posts like this one are certainly a great encouragement!

    “Don’t ever, ever ring the bell.”

  53. Cindy
    June 12, 2014 at 9:17 am

    I studied for 6-7 weeks for REG, but still felt like I wasn’t ready to take it. My friend, a CPA, said everyone feels like they aren’t ready for it no matter how much they study. I took the exam on Feb 27. I felt pretty good about the exam, wasn’t so sure about the SIMS, but knew I did the best I could do. I received my score on March 10, and felt like I went in shock when I saw “69… FAIL”!!!!! I went numb and couldn’t even talk. I stayed numb for awhile and cried when alone at home in my closet. I had already applied for the next section, BEC and it expires August 11. I tried to pick myself back up and just put REG on the back burner since I had already paid for BEC. I just couldn’t study though. I felt totally burned out and not able to read anymore, or do anymore MCQs. I took a break since March, and now I’m attempting to study for BEC to take it on August 8. I keep struggling within myself though, I love the outdoors, and it is summer now….I want to be outside, on the lake. I’m just having a hard time giving up my free time for it. Part of me wants it, and part of me says why try. I’m already a finance manager at a major university…but then I get to thinking about the new doors it could open for me. A co-worker, who is a CPA, told me that she really doesn’t use anything she learned from the CPA exam in her role, but it opened more doors for her.

  54. Ryu
    September 9, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Thank you jeff and all for sharing your stories. I just found out I scored 72 on FAR after putting in a ton of time studying. It is devasting but not the end of the world. Time to regroup and get it next time!

  55. Will
    January 30, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    I have a bad feeling I failed FAR and with the scores not being released until Feb. 24th, I am wondering what the best use of my time will be.

    Should I keep studying FAR, and have to pay for it again?
    Or use this month to take on a some what easier topic such as BEC?

  56. Jamie
    February 4, 2015 at 8:21 am

    This is amazing and exactly what I needed! THANK YOU! You’re awesome!

  57. February 4, 2015 at 9:34 am

    thanks for pulling me of the ledge Jeff, I just took FAR for the 3rd time, 65,69, and now 72. Needless to say, I’m pretty frustrated

  58. H Lee
    February 4, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    I took my exam about 5 years ago and my very first score (FAR) was 74. From there things just got worse with each part with my lowest score of 66. I was so discouraged and got busy with a new job that I didn’t even consider retaking them. I thought I just wasn’t smart enough but after reading this, I may give it another shot.

  59. Stefanie
    March 12, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    I am glad I stumbled upon this blog. I failed BEC again…with a 72…again. I have been angry for a few days. I was sure in the hours leading up the exam and the days leading up to score release that I knew at LEAST 75 of the test material. I still think that. But, this helped me realize it doesn’t really matter what I think. It’s my score that matters. So, I will pick myself up and start over. I have 58 days until I retake BEC. If I don’t pass this time, I lose credit for FAR. Here’s to digging in and really embracing the concepts in this part of the exam.

  60. GM in NC
    March 25, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Great stuff, Jeff. My story….passed BEC first time – 76. Bombed REG first time – 51. I prepared for REG the same way, but 2 cancellations due to weather and my brain was overloading on trying to maintain the knowledge. Looking at late April to retake REG. Need to hit the SIMS hard this time. Sort of felt the MCQ study would transfer over for the SIMs, but an AAA question crushed me. Still waiting on my score breakout…. Thanks for the motivation.

  61. Jenn
    May 6, 2015 at 11:38 am

    It looks like no one has commented on this in a while. I stumbled upon the article because I just lost my third exam so instead of having one left I now have three left. I am on the verge of giving up and I needed a lift. I have seen here where people lose one and keep on going but has anyone lost 3 and gone on to pass them all?

  62. May 6, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Losing 3 would be a very tough pill to swallow. I believe Angie lost at least 2 credits and came back to pass them all: https://www.another71.com/cpa-exam-forum/topic/congrats-to-angie-g

  63. Joan
    May 6, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    I took Reg three times in 8/2014,10/2014 AND 4/2015,

  64. Joan
    May 6, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    I passed other three exam and I took Reg three times in 8/2014, 10/2014 AND 4/2015. Score are 68/67 and 69. The first time, I didn’t study all business law but got 68 so I though once I study all chapters and did homework question then I can pass. While I failed again!!! I found a job and start work. In February 2015, I decide to retake the exam. I feel that I already try to remember all detail of books but I still failed!! I don’t know what’s wrong with my study method or what should I do for passing the exam!!

  65. Crystal
    May 27, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    I need some advice please.
    Got my BS in Accounting over 20 years ago and have only worked in the field for the last 3 years. To say I am starting from scratch is an understatement. Took BEC 3 times
    and got 73, 68, and 72. Using CPAexcel with Ninja Notes. I am thinking of taking a different part and see how I do. Maybe AUD or FAR? What would you do if you were in my shoes?

  66. Susan
    May 31, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    @Crystal – I, too, have not taken the exam since the late Nineties and graduated from college in 1991. I have, however, been working as an accountant in the private sector for twenty-four years. I have just now decided to try again to become a CPA. I’ve applied to take FAR and have received my payment notice from NASBA. Jeff’s advice in the survival guide said to take FAR first, so that’s the path I am taking.

  67. Crystal
    May 31, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Thanks Susan! I am going to sign up for FAR. It is nice to know someone is in a similar situation. Let me know how it goes. My email is lsucrystal@gmail.com

  68. Marisa
    June 25, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    I took off 5 months to study for the exam. I only passed one. Got a 74, 70, and 59 on the others. I start my new job next month. I also recently got engaged. I do not want to have to restudy while I am starting my new public accounting job AND planning a wedding/finding a house etc. Should I just wait to get some work experience before studying again? Any advice?

  69. n/a
    July 22, 2015 at 12:54 am

    Oh please! It isn’t about ‘fault’.
    Being a hardass never
    helped anyone! What’s with the
    hardass routine?

  70. July 22, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    “Fault” as in ownership of their results and not attributing the failure to external factors, which happens a lot.

    I don’t think the majority of people who have interacted with me on the site would call me a “hard ass”…I’ve been accused of the opposite (coddling, puppy dogs and ice cream, etc).

    Thanks for your comment, though – appreciate you reading the site and posting.

  71. lis
    December 6, 2015 at 2:09 am

    Thanks all..

  72. lis
    December 6, 2015 at 2:14 am

    I am an ACCA student…. I have failed too many times to count… I have lied to my parents and friends about it… am tired….. don’t kno wat Iv done wrong in my study method. .. I spend soo many hours a day studying… I understand it… I solve questions… but yet… I read this and am encouraged…. it will be better this time…. thanks for the encouragement

  73. Katie
    February 4, 2016 at 11:04 am

    I needed this. Failed REG for the second time, and I really think it was because I was so down in the dumps about my first failure that I didn’t put enough effort into my second round of studying.

    The whole “You’re not 2-3 points away, you’re 75 points away” really resonated with me.

  74. LuizBr
    February 8, 2016 at 6:39 am

    On February 4th I found out that I failed BEC – Got 72 !!! I was devastated and I was already studying for AUD (half book) and planning to take AUD begining of April. Now I don’t know what should I do, whether keep studying for AUD or get back on my feet and retake BEC first in April and AUD afterwards. I am realizing that AUD has a lot more reading. Anyone with similar situation? Thank you Jeff for making this blog available. I like your Ninja Audio too 😉

  75. Sean
    March 1, 2016 at 8:52 am

    I just took BEC yesterday and it was my first CPA exam ever. I walked out of the test room like “what the heck was that?” So many of the major topics I had prepped hard for were not on the test. I felt the majority of the questions were about things I barely paid attention to and seemed to have little importance for CPA competency purposes (compared to the harder subjects). I couldn’t believe how random the questions were. I felt it was only difficult in a sense of not being prepared to answer such questions.

  76. Pokey
    March 4, 2016 at 10:45 am

    I love your story – I started reading your forum about 5 months ago before I was accepted by the TSBPA. I had to finish 9 classes before being eligible to sit for the exam. I completed all 9 classes while working full-time and being a mom within a year. I finally was able to sit for my first exam in February 2016. It was an amazing moment just to walk into the test center. I’m encouraged by your journey and it actually gives me hope that I haven’t waited to long to finish what I started many years ago.

    So.. thank you and its amazing what you have built here for the rest of us.

  77. Sean
    March 10, 2016 at 9:15 am

    UPDATE: BEC – 79 2/29/16
    AUD – 5/23/16
    REG – TBD
    FAR – TBD

    3 more to go!! woohoo!!

  78. March 10, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Congrats Sean!

  79. May 24, 2016 at 5:12 am

    Good job, everyone! Thank you for your Survival Guide, Jeff! I crossed the 60 yard line in FAR lol with a 64, but that’s still 11 points from passing or 75 rather. Got to keep up the work in REG with a 43 last attempt as fast as possible to keep pull everything together. I wonder if I take the exam too seriously or not enough?

    BEC – 77 (4x) 8/29/2015
    FAR – 64 (3x)
    AUD – 59 (3x)
    REG – 43 11/30/2015, Retake by 7/30/2016 (scheduled for 8am)

  80. Venkatesh Subramanyam
    June 8, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    I keep coming back to this page just to get inspired. I lost my credits for BEC and AUD. I have hit 74 on my REG. Thankfully I still have FAR credit (well atleast until Jan ’17).
    Writing BEC, AUD and REG all in a gap of 5 days. Yes I know it is difficult. But I think I can do it :). I got no choice!

  81. Rosy
    July 13, 2016 at 1:29 am

    Sean- I am studying for BEC right now and have the test scheduled at the end of this month and am so scared. You said the questions seemed random and different than what you expected? How so? I am using Roger CPA.

  82. SIRI
    July 21, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Hello, I am writing to get some support. I just failed my REG and I feel I am not good enough. Having lots of anxiety at times, panic attacks. Today I have a headache. My grade was 68. Do not know what to do…

  83. Jennifer
    August 5, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    All I can say: Thank you.

  84. Shandah
    August 5, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks for the empathy and words of encouragement. I failed FAR for the second time (currently studying for BEC – not extremely motivated). I definitely know that it is me…I also graduated with honors…not feeling the smartest now, and I am dealing with the age factor. But….No excuses….let’s do this everyone. Keep on moving….handle the business. The only way we fail is if we do not try at all.

  85. Shandah
    August 5, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Siri…I hope you are better. Do not be too hard on yourself. Think of ways that you can change your studying environment and concentrate on the test. I am going to start staying late after work and use a conference room to study before I head home. I am having to change my environment because I am have a hard time focusing….leading to me getting frustrated…and adding to me being unmotivated. But, I have made up in my mind that I will not be defeated…keep going. You can do it. Remember that you are not alone.

  86. Sean
    August 5, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    Anyone else still waiting on their score from the August 4th release date????? It’s soon to be going on 48 hours and I do not have one yet for AUD… Never had to wait this long!!! Grrr

    AUD- 68, (waiting -_-)
    REG- Oct 2016
    FAR- Nov 2016 (yikes)

  87. […] Jeff, I came across your article about failing the CPA Exam. I've been there 5 times (2 for BEC and 3 for […]

  88. […] you have some BEC SIMS, but you needed to know those Cost Accounting concepts anyway. I would read this post on recovering from CPA Exam […]

  89. August 16, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Thank you for the post. I got extremely frustrated when I failed FAR multiple times cause all my friends passed it on first try, but I guess it’s my own fault hanging out with geniuses. Anyway still fighting here.

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