- This topic has 19 replies, 17 voices, and was last updated 2 years, 10 months ago by Anonymous.
October 24, 2017 at 2:45 am #1652639AnonymousInactive
I have been out of high school for 12 years. I decided to to take a break form the CPA exam to study for the GMAT for 2 weeks. It has been horrible, I don't remember any of the content, all of this stuff seams so foreign to me I don't know how to study, Plus im thinking about putting my cat down to sleep today, witch adds to the horror. I don't know what to do, I think I am just going to take the GMAT and see what happens….? Am I the only one who thinks the GMAT is harder then the CPA? Studying for this has given me so much motivation to finish the CPA, its unbelievable…October 24, 2017 at 12:33 pm #1652830CPA2BEEParticipant
Kind of tough to compare the two. The CPA exam is a pass/fail exam, where for the GMAT you want to just get the best score possible for when it comes time to apply for grad school. Maybe the material is more difficult on the GMAT, I don't know because I have only taken the CPA exam, but that doesn't necessarily make it harder because you're not in a situation where about 60% of the candidates every quarter are not going to receive anything for taking the exam. You can get a poor score on the GMAT and still have that score – if you don't pass a section of the CPA exam, you get nothing.October 24, 2017 at 12:53 pm #1652845M123Participant
No comparison. Both are hard.
I don't understand the idea that some people decide to change course in what amounts to serving two masters.
Start the cpa – finish the cpa. 2 weeks isn't enough for GMAT and will do nothing for studying the cpa.
CPA > MBA.
I can understand the Freudian thing going on – I would have preferred waterboarding to hearing one more “box off” or “highlight”.October 24, 2017 at 1:51 pm #1652885tskits75Participant
It also depends on how far removed from school you are. I took the GMAT 5+ years out of school and CPA 7 years out. I personally found the GMAT harder as I didn't use the material on a daily basis whereas I was doing stuff related to the CPA all the time.October 24, 2017 at 2:36 pm #1652912CSParticipant
I took a 6 week (once a week on Sunday – 3 hour session) Princeton Review GMAT prep course, and didn't do much studying if at all outside of the class session itself except for the week leading up to the test. Given that, I personally find the CPA exam tougher, as I found the key to the GMAT was essentially tricks/shortcuts. That being said, a major factor was the instruction, as I am self-studying for the CPA (which most, if not all, of us on this board are), whereas if I self-studied for the GMAT, it would be an entirely different story.October 24, 2017 at 3:47 pm #1652941AnonymousInactive
The CPA Exam is much harder due to the amount of material that must be mastered. No comparison at all. The GMAT even tests some high school subjects, whereas the CPA is mostly upper division and graduate studies. However, the GMAT has a more diverse set of topics, so it may take a little bit of time to get used to some of the old/unfamiliar subjects that you studied years ago.
Goodluck.October 25, 2017 at 1:44 pm #1653494TimParticipant
I found the GMAT pretty easy but then my undergrad was in engineering so the math was all simple stuff to me. I only studied maybe 10 hours before I took it and my grad school was extremely impressed with my score. This was several years after I graduated undergrad also. Not trying to brag but I think the amount of things you need to know in depth for the CPA exam makes it much harder.October 27, 2017 at 3:51 pm #1654718r00shineParticipant
Not to sound like bragging but i thought the GMAT was much easier than the CPA. It is more difficult if english is not your first language but the english for a native english speaker is pretty logical and the math is only up stuff most of us learned in high school. I studied about 2.5 weeks and got a 720 so it is possible.October 27, 2017 at 5:22 pm #1654853AnonymousInactive
GMAT is an entrance exam with no pass or fail. CPA is a professional licensing exam similar to the Bar. No comparison at all.
A more fair question would be:
Which is more challenging: Passing all 4 sections of the CPA Exam or scoring 670+ on the GMAT?
I’d still vote for the CPA due to the amount of material! The GMAT covers much less material, although some of the information has not been studied for many years.
Goodluck.October 27, 2017 at 8:46 pm #1654906SaveBanditParticipant
Gmat is an aptitude test. Cpa tests what you know. Apples and oranges.
That being said… I got a 550 GMAT which is not good. I passed all four CPA tests the first time with flying colors.
So, I would personally say the CPA is “easier”, but that is an unpopular opinion.October 27, 2017 at 11:37 pm #1654934AnonymousInactive
I took the GMAT 5 years out of undergrad. First exam was a 490. A month later I retook it and just got a 530. Thankfully my application was stronger elsewhere.
I personally think the material for GMAT was more difficult. Then again, I started studying for CPA halfway of my 14 month grad degree program so I guess the topics were fresh in my head. I think I liked studying for the CPA better than GMAT bc I at least saw I was making signs of progress with the passed exams. For GMAT I studied almost 5 months with a review program and scored only a 490 the first time. I was so bummed out.March 20, 2018 at 2:35 pm #1743629ReckedParticipant
Bumping this back to the top.
16 years out of school and need a GMAT over 650 to be considered for the PhD program.
What review course are people using for the GMAT?
Avg CPA score was 92, went 4 for 4. SAT's back in 1998 were 1250.
Is Princeton review good?March 20, 2018 at 2:44 pm #1743632DefoParticipant
Manhattan Prep was consensus #1 a few years back when I needed to take the GMAT.March 20, 2018 at 3:08 pm #1743693jdubParticipant
This is making me feel super inadequate about how little I took the GMAT seriously. I bought a Kaplan book and glanced at it for the GMAT and didn't have an issue getting accepted to MBA programs. I don't remember my score because it was that much of a non-issue.
However, the CPA exam.. woof. I passed FAR and BEC on the first time. REG took me 4 times, I lost my BEC credit. And I'm try #3 of AUD. I have 0 tax experience so that might as well be Spanish to me. And I'm pretty good at getting 74s because that's happened TWICE.
Different strokes for different folks I guess. But I think the two exams are kind of comparing apples to oranges.March 20, 2018 at 3:44 pm #1743758aaronmoParticipant
Having never taken the GMAT, I feel certain it's no where near as difficult because:
Most non-accounting business majors are just not very bright. That's your major competition. I include MBAs in that assessment. Before people get bent out of shape, there's a reason that one and dones usually major in things like communications and “business studies”. It's meaningless fluff. Apologies, but “Management Principles” isn't a rigorous academic course of study.
It was always sort of funny watching business majors in actual academic courses…they couldn't read.
The CPA license often counts as a waiver of GMATs at business schools. If you pass the CPA, it's more or less assumed you can do well on the GMATS.
Accounting is an actual skill set that involves being at least quasi-competent in several areas…at least to be good at it. You have to be able to read a little bit and think/analyze. It has a legal frame work.March 20, 2018 at 5:28 pm #1743944AnonymousInactive
CPA is way harder because you have to have some form of accounting background to begin with. While GMAT – Just know your algebra and practice a lot, you are set. Anyone can do decent on GMAT in a short period of time, but you can not say the same for CPA. Either way you really should not be comparing these two tests to begin with.March 20, 2018 at 7:45 pm #1744203MarcParticipant
First off, I doubt that any top school would accept the CPA instead of the GMAT.
The following comparison is for accounts taking both tests:
I'm echoing others here – it all depends on your goal. one more thing to note here, English is not my first language, which makes the GMAT significantly harder for me, both because I don't know all the math terms, and I'm not good in English language logic I guess.
If you are planning on a 720 – 750 score in the GMAT Its likely that you need to study in a structured matter to get the score, and you have to be smart too!
If you plan to use your GMAT score to be accepted in a program with low standards for accepting students, then you can probably wing it, or pass with a limited amount of studying. Unless you are really smart, you will never get a 700+ score with a limited amount of studying – at least I won't.
For the CPA exam, you don't really have to be smart, and if you know the material from school and study a bit – with some luck, you may be able to pass with a limited amount of studying – But that does not mean that you know the material very well – which may hurt you along the way. But if you want to use your to brag your way into a big 4 after college – that will certainly serve its purpose.
I aced the CPA, but never was able to ace the GMAT – Hopefully, I will when I study for it in the near future…
Good luck!March 21, 2018 at 8:36 am #1744775ReckedParticipant
It was always sort of funny watching business majors in actual academic courses…they couldn't read.
I went to either the #1 or #2 accounting school in the SUNY system. It was pretty close between Albany and Binghamton ranking for accounting back when I went, but Albany was closer with slightly better winters.
It was always interesting to me to watch the kids flunk out of accounting, so then they went to finance, if that didn't work they would drop to business in general and if that didn't work they would kick over to sciences like English Lit, Psychology or Sociology. All of those degrees I consider worthless unless you are getting either a Masters, or PhD.
It was a progression I saw over and over again.
SUNY New Paltz (closest SUNY “university” to me) will accept the CPA as a Macc or MBA waiver, but they are not a participating school for the AICPA PhD program.March 21, 2018 at 8:46 am #1744794aaronmoParticipant
Gonna have to disagree and say the average kid flunking out of business school has about 0 chance of getting through a major like English Lit. The only thing that might go a step lower is something like education/elementary ed. Sociology is even a stretch for most of that type. The average english lit student will crush the GMAT with a minimum of prep…they may be taking classes that “human resources professionals” don't value, but it's a smarter kid. Personally I'd argue that says more about our culture promoting “certified human resource professionals” over actually smart kids that can think than it does the value of liberal arts.
As far as the GMAT…I'm biased, I'm good at standardized tests like this that focus on “general” intelligence/test taking ability. The CPA is harder because it tests several different skill sets, general ability AND specific knowledge. I could see how that might be different for a non-native, and I'm always amazingly impressed by folks that pass the CPA in another language.
Most business schools have MBA programs that accept CPA as waiver…even supposed good ones. The simple reality is that “MBA” implies no standards and a whole lot of them are dumb as rocks and practically illiterate. I've met some lawyers that I thought were stupid…I've met some dumb CPAs…but the intelligent MBAs are the exceptions in my experience.March 21, 2018 at 12:51 pm #1745091AnonymousInactive
It's been years since I have taken the GMAT but I don't recall seeing any SIMS so I would say the GMAT is easier 🙂 However, seeing your score immediately after taking the GMAT is a plus over the CPA exams.
@ Recked I used Princeton and thought they did a great job, I just didn't put in the effort. AICPA PhD program??…Nice! Maybe I should dream bigger than just the CPA lol
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