I failed, I can’t do it…

CPA Exam Forum I PASSED! HIYA!!! I Passed The CPA Exam I failed, I can’t do it…

This topic contains 26 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  Life_whereareyou 8 months, 1 week ago.

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    But I did =)


    It's strange, but I have been waiting for this moment for a long time. The moment where I am able to write a post on Another71. I'm sure you guys echo my sentiment, but when I am feeling particularly shitty after leaving one of those exams, I would quickly scour this site to see who:

    1) Getting the same feels as me
    2) Passed regardless of those feels.

    So thank you to the Another71 community. I am going to try my best to keep this brief, but I just have a lot to say about these damn exams. Here's my summarized version and then you can keep scrolling if you'd like for the deets.

    Testing period: May 2016 – February 2017

    The ugly stats:

    AUD – 67, 80
    REG – 63, 79
    FAR – 66, 63, 71, 73, 75
    BEC – 74, 72, 74, 78

    Saying I struggled through these exams is an understatement. I wanted to quit numerous times and contemplated why I even chose accounting as a profession. I failed five times before I finally passed my first exam. Unbelievable.

    If the struggle is real for you, you're not alone. Stop questioning your intelligence. You can and will get through this. Answer the questions below honestly:

    Why I failed / How to avoid failing questionnaire

    1) You've heard it before, but it's bears repeating. This is not a test of intelligence, it is about endurance. Can you create a study schedule that best suits your needs and stick with it? When you study, are you legitimately studying? If you hesitated, then the answer is probably no and you need to own your failures.

    2) When you finish a study session, stop and reflect. What did you get out of it? Did you meet your study goal? Could you teach someone that was new to this topic? If you were going to test the next day on that one topic you learned, could you drop some knowledge and pass?

    3) If you were on a CPA study island (HA THAT WOULD BE MISERABLE), who would be there with you to make it more bearable?

    I understand, if you don't want to tell too many people that you're testing or hear “How did it go?!” knowing full well that you have no idea. The ones that have been on this journey knows your post feelings about an exam doesn't guarantee a pass or a fail either way. But they're called a support group for a reason. Lean on them, let them help you hold yourself accountable. They'll be your biggest cheerleaders when you pass and compassionate when you don't.

    4) After reading A LOT of articles, another71 chat forums and listening to my friends on how you can study the best…at the end of the day, you know yourself the best. Do you need music, silence, your room, public places, etc? Do you like to listen to lectures first, take notes, or take a stab at the MCs so you know what you're looking for, etc?

    5) Ok I can't just state that and not say what I personally did. Take it with a grain of salt because we all study differently. –> Refer below for details if you care to read!

    How I passed the exams

    1) NOT CRAM
    2) Ok some cramming occurred because I work at one of the big 4s which sucks the life out of you.
    3) Run down on Becker – Did the bulk of my studying with this program. What finally helped was to:

    Listen to all the lectures,
    Take extensive notes (typing it out), pausing the video to make sure I got down the notes I needed and going at my own pace to absorb the info.

    After all of that, then I would attempt to do the multiple choice questions
    I didn't guess when I was doing MCs as homework. If I didn't know an answer, I would research with my notes or the book to figure it out. I didn't want to ingrain the wrong guessing habit and rely on just “clicking” anything to see what the answers were.

    BUT you do need to test yourself. Progress tests are key. It mixes of all the questions so you don't rely on a pattern to help you answer. I would do one chapter (Ch.4 for example), a set of 30 questions, then the next one would be a cumulative progress test (example, Ch,1-3) to make sure I wouldn't forget what I would learn.
    Practice exams helps. Do them early enough so you can shore up your weaknesses. Also, don't be too downtrodden by your scores. I felt like the real exams were more straightforward and becker questions can be very convoluted. No lie, i nearly failed every single practice exam :/

    Final review, oh yes. Costs more though. It's worth it to summarize all the information in a more manageable form. Plus, new questions to test the old thinker with.

    4) Becker was great, but it's not perfect. Information overload. It would focus on random details that didn't show up on any of my exams and left out things that could have helped me pass. Cue, Ninja notes.

    5) Ninja notes: high level review. I cannot attest to the entire program because I only got the notes and one of the lectures, but I loved how it summarized the information even more. I will say as a caveat, you cannot pass on this alone. Only after I learned the material through Becker was I able to take advantage of the summarization of Ninja notes. It's not detailed enough and the questions did not feel challenging enough to test my knowledge.

    6) When you fail so many times, you get desperate so I turned to Wiley as another source. At this point, I already memorized the Becker MCs so they no longer helped me. Wiley (just signed up for a free trial..trials because I used multiple emails =), provided another source of questions. I used this for BEC and it was refreshing to see different questions and hear different lectures on my weak topics. Still, I have to give a nod to Becker for providing the most detailed explanations for questions.

    7) Did I forget to mention that I wrote down nearly everything? My questions, the answers, the explanations, rewrote my notes, etc. I used yellow pads I klepto from work and probably went through 20 or more of them with my notes. You have to engage in the information as much as you can.

    8) I had study buddies that were taking the exam as well and we talked through some of the tougher topics. It helps to hear how other people retain information.

    9) My study schedule: ever changing. It had to be because I had to travel for work or some clients were more demanding than others. You just have to make it work and put in the hours. If you're studying less than 20 hours a week, you're not doing enough. I would vary between:

    Waking up early, 5:00am, studying until 7:30, head to work.

    Study during lunch for an hour

    Come home and study for two more hours after dinner 9-11pm.

    If I did this successfully M-Th, I would take off studying on Friday.

    Attempt to work out once a week. Gotta take care of your body so your mind can function.
    If I had a particularly crappy work week, I would study Saturday and Sunday in three hour blocks, 6 or 9 hours each day. It's not ideal, but it's even worse to not study.

    Change my study areas as needed. “Lighter” studying session where I'm just reviewing my notes and rewriting them, I go to starbucks. “Heavier” sessions where I need to learn a weak topic, I would study at home or the library to maximize the time and avoid the distractions

    10) This is where I messed up, I didn't give myself enough time to study between exams. I would try to test at the very beginning of one and take another at the very end. This would give me 4-6 weeks to prepare. I only skipped one testing period, I tested nearly every period during that time. I didn't want to miss an opportunity to pass but I should have thought, I shouldn't have wasted my time not going to the exam prepared. Study well and get it done the first time at your own pace.

    11) On the same vein, you never really feel 100% prepared when you walk into an exam. The key to making you are prepared enough and that you are able to think your way through the other questions is to give yourself ample time to review. I was learning topics the day before my exam, NO. That is not the time. Strengthen the things you know well and figure out how you can get as many points as possible on the weaker topics.

    12) Breaks are so important, but be deliberate about them. A two minute distraction via facebook /IG/ Snap x 50 is a lot of wasted minutes. I found myself deleting these apps and out of habit, clicking to where it used to be on my phone without realizing it.

    I get it. You see individuals who pass with flying colors the first go around and those who has taken five years and failed over 30 times.

    You made a conscious decision to take these exams to further your career or get three letters behind your name. Whatever your reasons are, write it down, refer to it, grit your teeth and get through it.

    Good luck! The grass is unbelievably greener on the other side, come join!



    Thank you, OP! Your post is very beneficial for me at this moment. I dont know why but particularly today I thought I should give up after failing FAR 2x. You are very dedicated and hopefully I can soon be done like you too with little bit more effort.



    No problem at all! Spartans92, hey you're committing and getting through it. I know it is disheartening, but it makes each pass feel that much more validated. With each part completed, you get more and more into the rabbit hole where you feel like you better finish the damn thing lol. You can definitely pass and put this CPA behind you. One down, three more to go.

    Good luck studying!


    Great post. Honestly, one of the best on this forum in terms of transparency. May I ask what you did specifically to pass REG the second time?


    Congratulations on passing all 4 within 18-month window!

    Your testing period is from May 2016 to February 2017? That's only 4 testing windows.


    The exam is set up so that a certain number of people fail. They want lower pass rates of 40-50%. It's overcoming those horrible odds and tremendous adversity that is the key to getting through this whole process. I would love to know how many people who start the process don't actually finish it ever.

    You're right about Facebook. It's poisonous. I'm limiting myself to only going on there at the tail-end of the day. I can't seem to delete the app off my phone though! Still working on that.

    If I ever pass, it will be a miracle. Yeah, the grass is greener on the other side, but getting over the bridge to the green grass, the rainbow, and the pot of gold is – for the majority – not done overnight. Having said that…..I hope it happens for me and I hope I'm *able* to make it happen for myself!



    This is what I call dedication. Thank you for this



    @SallyCPA – AW that is such a sweet compliment! I am grinning like an idiot behind my screen as I finish out the last two days of busy season.
    That was the only exam where I did every single multiple choice for the tax portion in Becker (Ch 1-4). I felt like Reg out of the three was more or less straight memorization so that was the best way I knew how to reiterate the information. I did about 20+ progress tests to make sure I can answer them out of order. I spent about 80% of my time studying for Tax and progress tests for all the Blaw chapters until I got a good feel of the questions.

    During the actual exam itself, people may disagree, but the SIMs were BRUTAL. Knowing that was the reason why I failed the first time, I hustled through the MCs, finished where I had 1.5hr for just the sims alone. Not to scare you, but to be completely frank, I thought I was killing it during the teslets until I saw the sims where I thought to myself, “EFF I am going to fail this exam again.” But! I did get better at using the research tool and memorized some of my weak topics so I can refer to it. Out of the 7 sims, I felt confident about three, did ok on the research question, and guessed on the other three. I research the crap out of everything during that time. Ugh. I'm getting anxiety thinking about it again.

    Maybe they curved? Who knows, but I managed to pass. My MCs score really carried me lol.

    Hope that helps!



    @ Amor D, ah my mistake. I mistyped and meant to put May of 2015. It took me about 19 months'ish to pass everything. I actually didn't pass my first part until 9 months in because I wasn't too worried about losing credits. I guess with confidence of getting that first pass, it kept me going.

    Not going to lie, it was rough to think I wasted 9 months without a success to show for it. All my friends had passed at least 1-2 parts or finished completely during this time :/ You just have to keep going!



    @crazyleon. I don't want to sound all “conspiracy” but I think there might be a pang of truth to that. I mean, who the actual eff decides that I knew enough to get a 74, but not quite good enough to pass with a 75. It was maddening studying for those barely failed exams because I felt like I already had a good footing. GAH, but you are absolutely right. Getting over that mentality, finding your bearings, and starting over takes a special type of person.

    We may be insane, but if it was easy, everyone would have done it already.

    Good luck studying! **(GET OFF FACEBOOK! Goodness forbid you fail by one point because you needed to see what Susie ate for dinner. You can do all of that to your hearts content after you pass =) At the very least, make an effort to check it only during designated breaks!



    @mooseonloose Ah thank you friend and you are very welcome. Good luck conquering these exams!



    May 2016 to Feb 2017?

    Try Aug 2014 to Feb 2017


    Good to see the clickbait titles and alternative facts trickling down into the Ninja world.. ‘Grats on passing, thanks for sharing your story. Good luck for those still in the trenches, hit it hard and you'll pass too.


    shawn in VA


    AUD AND REG not so bad. passed on the 2nd try. How did you get your AUD score up 13 points ? that is a big jump.

    As for BEC–what got you over the hump ? your scores were very close to each other. I am taking BEC retake in MARCH.



    Thank you, thank you for this post! Congrats on passing the four parts and finally get over the CPA challenge. Thanks for posting your journey, your failures and doubts. Your post reached to me just right on time before I start thinking about quitting this monster, and wondering if I'm too old for this. I graduated 15 years ago, but just embarked in this trip last year, have already two failing grades and at this point really needed a booster.

    Thanks and the best in your future journey as a CPA. You made it!!



    Wow, thank you so much for being transparent about your experience. Congrats on passing!! This has been very helpful! I take my first exam in two weeks. I can't wait to see you and the other CPAs on the other side 🙂 !!


    fahad gulzar

    i took REG threes time to pass. but that was due to personal stuff. And took audit a third time and think i failed . Dont give up, this exam is not about how smart you are but how persistent you are.



    you can do it. not giving up is the key to passing




    Wow…a true gem.

    Totally motivated and inspired after reading this one.

    Wish you all the best and hope all your dreams come true.

    Thank you for sharing your great story.You made my day.


    Best post ever.. Thank you so much – very real and nails every feeling and thought I have had. I do need to find the right study pattern for me. I have taken the test 5 times no pass yet and I'm ready to see the first. Motivation to start again has been slow this last fail but I'm slowly getting back into it again and know its what I need to do.

    Thank you again for sharing your story – congrats – I'm ready to get on the green grass side too 🙂



    @life I have not read all your posts but briefly skimmed a few of them and I feel like I can relate to you 100%. This test has been brutal in fact, I hate to admit it, I get a little emotional thinking about the toll its taken on me. REG in particular, I have a similar experience as you…the SIMS just murder me. I am closing in on my FAR exam dropping off and am getting so much anxiety thinking about what my future holds with this exam. I don't normally put my entire exam result stats but here they are:


    I took REG on Tuesday and had the same experience as you–I felt great through mcq's–not 100% great but i felt like I held my own. And of course, new test, same experience…the sims are awful. I don't know what it is but I get so much anxiety. We will see how it goes but I would not be surprised if I failed. Which would leave me one more crack at it with it being the new REG format and a 10week release time to find out if I am a CPA in august or if I lose my FAR credt :(. I'm embarrassed I cannot pass this exam. I feel like I've lost the support of my wife who used to sympathize with me when I walked out of of these exams feeling down. Instead I feel like she is angry that I can't just get this over with and move on with my life. In the time I've started studying we've had 2 children! Life is stressful enough as it is, the thought of failing again is killing me.


    Congratulations @life_whereareyou ! You are an inspiration!



    @dtatham10 – I am positive that you will pass this time for sure. I can relate to you. I took it on Monday. I don't want to think about the exam .It causes nightmares and anxiety.Lets wait for Feb 23rd. I will lose BEC if I don't pass REG this time. Good luck to all 🙂



    Thanks @esenthil. Sounds like we are in similar situations. I hope you passed!!! This week is going to be brutal!



    @dtatham10 Oh I just have to respond to you first because your comment really hit home for me. I completely understand where you are coming from, I had the same hump with FAR. It felt like an impossible feat, but you know what, it wasn't and I passed by the skin of my teeth. You're going to do great! Be confident walking in and take comfort in the fact that regardless of how you feel after, you don't know what's going to happen until you do. Absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. At the end of the day, no one will give a crap on how many times you failed…they'll just see that gleaming CPA behind your name. At least that's what I kept telling myself to make myself feel better!

    Lol your family is going to be oh so proud of you when you conquer this last exam. Your wife loves you and honestly just frustrated for you. She wants you back! All the struggles will be a distant memory =)

    Please comment back and let us know when you pass that exam. We're all cheering for ya!




    Ha, yea I totally mistyped. I started in May 2015- Feb 2017 so I'm right there with ya. Congrats though on passing. Yayy we are CPAs!


    Thank you so much! Congrats to you too =) Haha yea, I was confused why my post had blue links in it. Sneaky sneaky.



    @shawn in VA

    Yea so I had a strange situation where my firm was incentivizing studying for your CPA over the summer and knocking it out before you started work. Sounds perfect right? Getting paid to do what you're suppose to, but one slight problem. They wanted you to pass all four parts in just two testing windows. We would go to the Becker class for 8 hours a day, then expected to go home and study. We covered once chapter a day..I only had like two and a half weeks per part. We didn't even receive the scores for the first exam until we already took our 2nd.

    It was rough. More than half the group failed, but there were a few that were able to study in the condensed time frame and knock them all out! That's why I failed the first round completely. I had no idea how to pace myself and getting over the failures was more difficult than I could imagine when it felt like everyone else was doing better than me.

    Ok with that said, I'm sure my situation is a little more unique than others and the “jump” in score isn't exactly tell tale. I was just finally able to study at my own pace haha. I did take audit and reg just studying 4 weeks each. The second time around for audit, I didn't even do all the MCs. I took my sweet time learning the concepts, the acronyms, and tried my best to relate it to my own personal career. I did a tax internship and now I'm an auditor so that sort of helped with the process.

    UGH BEC. Most annoying exam. Nothing felt difficult per say, just a bunch of random information thrown together so it was harder for me to make associations. But the game changer for me was FLASHCARDS. At that point, MCs were useless so I had to find another way to make myself think of the information. I usually hate flashcards, but they helped me immensely. The day before the exam I did those exclusively. It helped me pick up those random tidbits of information I needed to pass. I also just tried jog down as many facts as I could for the writing prompts as practice so I can earn max points on those.

    One last thing. I looked ahead at what the next exam would be for BEC and that scared the living daylights out of me. My exam experience ranged from medium, hard, medium'ish. I marked about 6-7 questions on each testlet so it felt like another failure. Now looking back, I guess it was because I knew a little more.

    Good luck!! You'll get over the hump too =)

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