Advice for 36 year year old

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    Just need a little advice. I am thinking about hopping back on and studying again. Over the past few years I have put studying on and off and when I lose confidence I hold off. I have 4 kids and work full time and I am almost 37 years old. I have a decent staff accountant job, but I worked hard 4 years ago tp obtain my 150 credit hours. I failed AUD couple times and got scarfed off completely. That was 4 years ago. My hope was to be a CPA by now. I feel time is passing by.

    Any advice?


    Let's assume that you are going to retire at 67 years old. That gives you 30 more years of working. Would you rather be a CPA for those 30 years, and probably make a bit more money, or would you rather not be a CPA. Give yourself 1 or 2 years to pass the exam, get serious, study everyday and you will pass.

    AUD - 64, 80 Passed on 10/09/17

    BEC - 75 Passed on 12/09/17

    FAR - 69, 71, 73, 83 Passed on 06/10/18

    REG - 81 Passed on 09/10/17


    It won't be easy now, but the longer you wait the harder it will be. The CPA exam takes a great deal of time and sacrifice.
    I started the exams when I was 37 years old. It's very possible but you need to make it a priority.
    Good luck to you. Massive amounts of MCQs will be the key. Target 25 hours a week of study time.

    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’m 36 and studying. Have a toddler and work full-time. It’s not that bad if you can squeeze in some study time at work but most of your studying will be at night. I put off my tests for so long and finally put my foot down. I passed AUD (81) then FAR (80) with about 4weeks of study time each and now I am on REG, which I’m taking in less than 3 weeks. I’ve been using Gleim online materials and testbank and it’s been good for me. My background is audit and I’m a Controller, so I felt good about those two parts since I have a good amount of work experience. REG has been more challenging, but I feel like I should be able to pass it. BEC is supposed to be the easiest, so hoping a good month will do it. For AUD I give yourself 4 weeks but for FAR I’d probably take 6 weeks. I really crammed for FAR the last two weeks and barely finished the material and skipped stuff I already knew well.
    Bottom line- you can do it. Just takes time and a lot of effort but it’s worth it. I want to be a CFO so that’s my motivation. Good luck.

    AUD - 81
    BEC - 87
    FAR - 80
    REG - 82

    I started my CPA journey when I was… 29? Passed the exams by the time I was 31 and got my license right before turning 32.
    I give the same advice to anyone that asks.
    Unless you are one of those super smart kids who can pass all four exams in 3 months or less (I was obviously not one of those kids. It took me over a year and a half to pass all 4), you have to make sacrifices.
    Those sacrifices can mean several different things depending on your life. It could mean, no more late night parties… no more working out… maybe for someone who has 4 kids, it could mean even more less sleep in order to make time not only for your family, but also studying.
    W/o droning on further, you have to come to terms w/ the fact that you are not going to be able to do all the things you enjoyed. If what you enjoy is more important than getting your CPA license, by all means, it's your life and you should live it the way you want to. If you choose you want your CPA and are willing to make those necessary sacrifices, rest is pretty straightforward. Lectures, books, test banks, etc.

    AUD - 99
    BEC - 91
    FAR - 94
    REG - 96
    Done with exam. On with life.

    I would say BEC is the easiest @Bigstackk so dont underestimate it. I thought same thing and took it without pounding on mcqs and just barely watching lectures. I was told that it's super close to whats on audit, and there was some IT stuff but majority had nothing to do with what audit was about.

    Anyway, study your hardest for BEC dont think it's the easiest!

    FAR - 80

    AUD - 78

    REG - 76

    BEC - 56 (April 2019); CREDIT (September 2019)




    It’s always be something on your way , so just jump in and study hard if you’re thinking of it. I’m almost 36 and have 3 kids and working also, so my study routine is 3 hours every day 9-12 or 10-1 in the evening just no matter what. I’m passed REG, FAR and BEC and will take AUD in 3 weeks. Just choose your study materials, make a schedule and remember that quality of study time is more important than quantity. I choose to study when kids are sleeping to fully concentrate and not being distracted. I’m a late night person, so if you’re not I would recommend wake up earlier and study before work. Good luck!


    I was 46 when I passed all the tests and had a 6-year-old Daddy's girl at home. You will need a lot of support from your wife and you will miss out on some soccer games and such. But I increased my salary by roughly 50% in the 2 years after passing and landed in a job that allows me more time with my family. It was totally worth it.

    AUD - 79
    BEC - 81
    FAR - 84
    REG - 78
    Becker Self Study supplemented with Ninja MCQ's for BEC and REG.

    Licensed CPA in Louisiana.


    I am 43 and I don't speak English well. Plus, 2 little kids and full time job. I work as a Controller so I don't have an actual experience under CPA in the same firm, so I don't know why I am doing this 🙂 You are young, you just need to be prepared. I use Wiley and Ninja for each of the exams. Back in 2015 I go for exam unprepared and failed FAR with 62. Last year I started again, and passed 3 parts with 1st try. Ninja helped me a lot, but before I use Ninja, I learn everything in details. It took 1 year for 3 parts.


    Been in your shoes. The fact that you are on this site means that CPA license will probably always knock on you. I say it doesnt matter what the age is, if its something you truly aspire to be, go for it now vs always regretting/putting it away. We are in the accounting field so the CPA will always be useful. If you tell me you were a nurse but you just wanted to have one, then i would hesitate a little more.

    I failed A LOT…like extra failed, like super low score failed even when i tried (i was studying wrong). What kept me going was the idea that “who am i kidding”, it always was a little torn in my head to know that its doable so i might was well keep trying. Also, whats the worse that can happen? You fail? There's wife made it simple for me when i was super stressed about it, i said:

    Me: “omg im so stressed i will lose all my credits if i fail…”
    Her: “oh so if u fail, you cant take it anymore ever?”
    Me: “No, you can retake them, it costs money but you dont lose the ability to take it again..”
    Her: “oh then just take it again if you fail. Here fold the clothes”

    Meaning, to US it sounds like a big burden that we fail and fail but to our love ones, they dont see the barriers cuz to them we can always retake it. Life is always there. No one will fire us at our current job if we fail. Your kids wont love you less. You worked on the most important part i think which is having a life, the CPA will just be icing on the cake. Lots of people (including my self early on) burden themselves too much on work but truthfully life on this earth is short to super mega stress about a test that can be retaken over and over. I'm probably over simplifying it but take the hard journey as part of life rather than a burden.

    Time and effort is really whats lost since there is sacrifice but man it will mean even more once you passed it.

    You are very lucky to have 4 kids and a job while you do this journey

    Good luck and im rooting for you!!

    AUD - 77
    BEC - 75
    FAR - 82
    REG - 77
    -Becker (do all mcq, period),
    -Buy NINJA mcq (68% trend), and
    -PRINT trouble topics.

    -Also Used WTB mcq (68% trend).
    -Do 40-50 SIMs and read answers/try to learn from solutions like its a book example.
    -Lastly, when having trouble with same topic, go big picture and watch trouble lecture


    I am going to be 36 in the next few days. I can completely relate to this. I started the process of studying last summer and by that I mean I just bought the FAR study material and would avoid sitting down and studying. I didn't really take it seriously. Always found other things to do and it caused me great anxiety as I knew that I had to get this done. My situation is a bit different, I have one child and the company I worked for went out of business before summer. I am not working so I am studying every single day. I finally made the commitment in June when I booked the exam for July. That way I couldn't run away from it. I passed FAR on the first try. I am studying for BEC now. I can't tell you how many times I swear at myself for not getting this done when I was younger, before having a kid. It is hard to do this when you have a family. I've been a crappy mom these past few months and its been challenging with my family and husband as they have to step up and take care of him when I'm not around. I feel very guilty about it but I have to do this – I just push those feelings aside and focus. Its a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of my career.

    I have been out of school for 13 years. I started in public, worked in a fortune 500, then took a brief hiatus when I had my son. I stayed home for almost 2 years and started work again with a company that was struggling to scale. It was brutal and draining. Prior to my son, I always saw the CPA as a distant feat and quite honestly not having it wasn't impacting my mobility with the fortune 500 company. Deep down I always wanted to do it. I just lacked the discipline. Fast forward to the present I am seeing all of these job opportunities and I am getting low balled or passed on b/c I don't have it. I think the pool of jobs is smaller when you have 10+ years experience (management jobs) and not having the CPA is going to really impact the search. So here I am. If you're an accountant it is essential you have it. I wish you the best. It is not easy and you'll certainly questions yourself along the way but push forward anyway.


    I’m 31. About to turn 32. Passed all 4 parts in 5 months. Studied daily. Did MCQ all day. Lunch. Dinner. Etc. used Rogers. Made sure to score 90s on each chapter. Took far first. Study hard!!

    Jimmy Dugan

    I think I started when I was 35 and finished a couple of years later. It didn't have to take me that long but I passed an exam in March 2017 and got complacent about studying. Fast forward 15 mos. later and I all but forfeited that score because I knew I wouldn't finish the other 3 before it expired. I just started over and banged all 4 out in 6 mos., while working full time. I say all this just to set up the best advice I can give, and that is study every day (efficiently) and don't obsess over trying to know every little thing from the entire body of knowledge. Give yourself a month to make it through the course content (if that), then 3-4 weeks to review and hit MCQ's hard. Any longer than that and you are just falling victim to perfectionism and that's going to add a lot of time to how long it takes you to pass.

    AUD - 95
    BEC - 87
    FAR - 84
    REG - 90
    You're killing me Smalls



    @Nrlew28 my point of view is that as long as you are not retiring in the next 18 months, you are young enough to take the CPA exams. Time is going to continue passing, make the decision to become a CPA today.

    @ I would love to have a conversation with you! Just because my CPA exam journey is starting to look like yours. Like you, I have a supportive spouse just wish I can finish exams sooner rather than later so I can be more present.
    I go into every exam preparation super motivated. Its God’s best gift to me, I am motivated. I finally passed the stage of low scores but now I am hanging out in the 70s. I will look out for your post on how to get over 75.

    AUD - 73,
    BEC - NINJA in Training
    FAR - NINJA in Training
    REG - NINJA in Training
    Giving up is not an option.

    The question is not whether I will be a CPA or not, the question is when will I become a CPA.


    Hi Nrlew28. Ask yourself this question

    1. Where at you right now at your job? Are you anywhere close to getting promoted to a managerial? Where will you be if you continue to work at your current position (or any other easily transit positions in another firm) for the next 10 years?

    2. Is the exam the only thing that will be blocking you form the license? Or you must quit and also work on your experience requirement?

    3. If you get your CPA, do you have to switch out from your current employer in order to get a promotion (to an equivalent CPA pay). How hard would that be?

    4. Assuming you must quit to get yourself inline with either the CPA exp or to be with the appropriate salary range? Would you expect to face any family crisis, etc.

    5. Assuming it will take you 3 years to do this, where will your family be in 3 years, where will your kid be? Will you miss a part of their life?

    I struggled with this same decision for 6 years and finally decided to quit a very well pay job to work as apprentice in an accounting firm, hoping to fulfill the experience requirement. The accounting firm did not value my years of experience in accounting and leadership skills. I was only two years away from being promoted to management and was in charge of a several million dollars project. I had to take a pay cut, vacation cut, etc. If this is not what you wanted to do, think about it again.

    Also, keep in mind if you do work in an accounting firm, the first several years of your after-CPA life, you will still work like a dog and sleep in the office. Unless you will be working in the same office and be promoted upward. I know we all wanted our CPA license, but if you are already making a good salary and will be promoted soon (let say $100k), it might be okay to miss it and spend time with your family? How much do you want from your job? I was able to make a cut because I am only 27 and I am sure I will still make it to the $100k by age 40, it's just a delay for 3 years. I will be alright. (Plus, I'm single.)

    I never found studying the hardest part, since I leave in NYC and travel 2 hours to work (round trip), I did all my studies on the train and nothing else. I was able to study only 2 hours a day and passed all the section in 1 year. I lived through it without a textbook and did 200 MCQS everyday (100 each trip). I never missed any of my TV shows and games, plus, no coffee at all. Your accounting experience will help you get through the materials quickly. This is easier than dealing with all the bad clients at work…

    NY - Passed CPA. In searching for the experience.

    I'm 36 as well. Wife and 2 kids.

    As evidenced by the replies here, everyone works differently. For me, unless I've successfully repeated a task like 37 times, for some reason it just doesn't stick. So I took my time. Took the better part of 6 months studying FAR so I could go on the spring break and winter vacations. But at first the most important thing was figuring out when my brain works best. Turns out, it's not at 10:30pm on a Tuesday. It's early mornings. I can't make it to every gymnastics or karate practice on the weekends, but everyone is very supportive.

    It probably goes without saying since you're here, but buy a review course. Best of luck.

    There is no education like adversity.

    BEC – 85 (10/1/18)

    AUD – 91 (12/10/18)

    FAR – 92 (5/13/19)

    REG – 87 (9/9/19)


    I’m 41 and went back to school for accounting. I took AUD the other day and hope it’s my last one. It hasn’t been easy, but I think it’s going to be worth it.
    Your family will have to make the sacrifice with you or you’ll never get through the exams. It’s a lot of studying, you’ll need to be disciplined and set aside time every day for likely a year to get them all knocked out. You can do it if you want it. But if you don’t have a reason to do it, you will fail. So figure out your “why” and go after what you want.
    “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”-Marty McFly

    AUD - 85
    BEC - 92
    FAR - 84
    REG - 88
    I've found an anomaly in the Space-Time Continuum. NASBA and the AICPA are in the 19th century. They use slide rules to score the exam, and then they send the scores by Pony Express to the State Boards. That's why it takes so long for them to do a score release.

    I am 37, married with two kids. Passing comes down to two things – Support and putting in the time needed. I passed two, lost them both and started over. I am waiting on the results of BEC today and will hopefully be done… It has been hard on me and my family, but they stick by me. I have missed so many things but everyone knows how important this is for me. I am a morning person so I study from 4-6:30 AM, I get a bit of time at work to study and then I study ALL weekend long. Usually 8 hours on Saturday and Sunday, but right before an exam it is more like 12. I make a detailed schedule of where I need to get to each day and stick with it. I studied 6 weeks for all the exams except FAR. I gave myself 8 for it. If you put yours hours in you will pass, maybe not on the first try but you will get there.


    My first cpa boss that I work for was 75 years old and still working as she approaching 80. You’re still considered a baby in this profession

    AUD - 89
    BEC - 82
    FAR - 78
    REG - 84
    “He never failed because he never tried”
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