CPA exam timeline while working?

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    What do you guys think about setting a 6 month timeline for taking all exams. I'm in industry and working from home for next year. Hours aren't that bad outside of quarter close. Thoughts?


    My personal view is 6 months may be a little tight unless you are able to study for several hours a day during the week. I have not been able to study more than 1-2 hours during the week. I have accepted that and planned my timeline accordingly.

    I work in IT full time supporting our company's ERP system , my stakeholders are all financial&accounting users in our company. I go into the office 1-2 times a week and have a 4 hour round trip on the days that I do go in.

    I just turned 50 earlier this year and decided to take up CPA more with a long term view opening up an avenue for me if I have to make some alternate career choice down the road. My son is a junior in college and my second son is a sophomore in high school.

    At the end of 2018, I finished a part time MBA from Virginia Tech, I also have a CPA and CIMA from India which unfortunately is not recognized here. So I started all over.

    I average about 6-8 hours of study in total during the week and about 10-12 hours/day on the weekend. That may seem very inadequate to some folks on this but it has worked for me so far. I started the process at the end of January and managed to clear first 3 sections in this order – BEC-95,(March), FAR -88 (May) and AUD-78 (AUG), I plan to take REG in October and hopefully be done.

    My undergrad was in accounting but my professional certifications were at least 27 years in the past, before I started studying for the CPA. So I had a decent base, BEC was fairly easy because I could use a lot of what I learnt recently in the MBA program. FAR and AUD was definitely way harder for me but I got through it decently.

    My priorities are different from most CPA candidates as I know I will not get any near-term benefit, so I took no pressure about the results. That mindset actually seems to help me as I feel “free”. I do want to pass but I am not consumed by the ‘need' to pass if you know what I mean.

    The reason I write such a long note is to give you soeme

    AUD - 78
    BEC - 95
    FAR - 88
    REG - 81
    Ethics -100
    Licensed Virginia -Nov 2020
    Glad to be done!!

    If you can devote 20-25 hours a week then 6 months is possible.
    But you can't slack, and there can't be any down time between exams.
    You need to eat, sleep and breath the CPA exam.
    Push and you'll get there. If you start and it's taking too long, you can always re-adjust your schedule and timeline.
    As you progress with your studies you'll figure out what methods work for you, and which ones don't.
    By the end I was stream lined to watching the video and working the MCQs. Your results may vary.

    Memento Mori - Kingston NY CPA & EA (SUNY Albany 2002)

    FAR-93 11/9/17 (10wks, 250 hrs, Roger 1800+ MCQs, Gleim TB 600+MCQs, SIMs)
    AUD-88 12/7/17 (3 wks, 85 hrs, Roger 1000 MCQs no SIMs hail mary)
    REG-96 1/18/18 (6 wks, 110 hrs, 1400 MCQs, no SIMs)
    BEC-91 2/16/18 (4wks, 90 hrs, 1240 MCQs)


    I don't recommend squeezing those into 6 months unless:

    1. You just graduated college and material is fresh.

    2. You don't care about a social life.

    3. You don't care about not getting 8 hours of sleep a night.

    4. You're not married.

    5. You don't have any little crumb snatchers(also known as children)

    6. You don't have a job-job.

    Otherwise, give yourself a year to keep down stress levels and maintain your mental health.

    REG - 60,73, Retake 02/2021
    FAR - 73,74,78
    BEC - 02/2021

    I have been on this journey off and on for over 10 years. I think it's about time that I wrap this up.


    I did it in a year with 40 hours of intense work shifts and three hours of daily train commute, studying maybe 3 hours a day. I don't think working from home or not make any difference. What matters if your availability, a functional brain (so you are not just blindly studying), and COMMITMENT.

    If you are willing to do a 24/7 quarantine with the CPA exam. You can do it (if you know how to study).

    NY - License Approved December 2020.

    It took me 10 months fresh out of school working a relatively stress-free, 40 hours/wk job and all I did was study in my off time. My delay was BEC, I had to study 12 weeks for that beast because the material just would not stick. Plus I didn’t prep for FAR at all, my fabulous passing score on that exam was due to school preparing me for that exam. So it took me 10 months to prep for 3 exams.

    8-10 weeks prep for each exam taken close to end of window to reduce wait for score release is a reasonable minimum amount of time. What you are suggesting is closer to six weeks prep for each studying part time. Sounds tough.

    I think shooting for a pass on each, with no retakes, and getting them done within a year is the most reasonable and least stressful approach.

    Why the rush? Good luck.

    AUD - 93
    BEC - 82
    FAR - 76
    REG - 88
    How have you been?
    Ninja book and MCQs and the forum, all first try! 2016
    Licensed State of Montana April Fool’s Day 2020
    State of Colorado June 2020 - AICPA Ethics 93
    Experience was the worst part of the journey for me. You?
    If you want things to change you have to do something different.
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