CPA Exam Success Story: Jason from Tennessee

28 Dec 2009

Club 75 Candidate Bloggers

By Jeff

Jason overcame failure and discouragement. Today he is a CPA.

After taking a tax job in public accounting, I knew my career would be greatly enhanced by taking the CPA Exam and obtaining my CPA license. I bought a CPA Review course and went to work on Regulation in the fall of 2007.

My friends, family, and co-workers all thought that since I was “smart”, I would easily pass the CPA Exam.

This was not the case. Studying for the four or five precious hours after work for a month was brutal, and my study program and I were not getting along.

I kept my outward confidence high by telling everyone I was doing well in studying, but internally, I had serious doubts about my possible success.

I felt like an island.

My wife understood my frustrations, but I could not adequately explain to her the complexity and depth of this exam. After a month of studying, and feeling semi-prepared, I took Regulation. A month later I received a failing score of 66. Discouraged, I went back to studying with even less motivation than before.

I felt like a prisoner being sentenced to my guest bedroom to study each night after work. After another month of studying, I sat for REG again.

I then began to study for BEC. Two weeks into my study regimen for BEC, I received my Regulation score.

68. It was time to quit studying and regroup.

Failing Regulation twice, wasting more than two months of study time, two sets of exam fees, and getting nowhere fast.

I took the remainder of winter 2008 off from studying to work 60+ hours a week in public accounting. I took the summer off as well to recover from tax season.

Then fall came, and I signed up for a different study course which better suited my study methods. I started taking another CPA Review course with my older brother who had recently begun taking the exam.

It was here I had my turning point. I had someone who understood what I was going through (my brother), a quality CPA review program which suited me, and great motivation to conqueror this exam.

I believe that there are three things you must have to pass this exam.

You must have: 1. A good CPA Review course, 2. Someone who knows what you?re going through and can relate to your experience, and 3. Most importantly, an uncompromising desire to succeed and motivation to do what it takes to achieve four passing grades.

I studied during the holiday season of 2008. I was discouraged at times because I always had the CPA Exam on my mind.

Overall, I had a positive attitude, but I questioned whether I could actually do it.

I attacked my first section, Auditing and Attestation, in January 2009. Then, it was time for my nemesis, Regulation.

I scored an 81 on both sections!

I next found while I was studying for BEC, which gave me even more positive reinforcement.

I immediately took advantage of the CPA Exam Forum and read topics like ?need motivation?, and ?failed multiple times, help!? saying aloud, ?That?s exactly how I feel!?

Until I read, I thought I was the only one who struggled with failing multiple sections and it took the edge off of studying.

I then took BEC with a confidence not felt since beginning the exam process. My efforts paid off in early August 2009 with a 78. With only Financial Accounting and Reporting to go, I was on my way to a CPA.

FAR is the head of the beast, with a recommended 150+ hours of study time, it's a brutal exam. However, I was determined to pass it.

Every day, I would come home from work and study from 5:30pm until 10pm, and repeat this process for the next day/week/month.

No longer was I prisoner sentenced to study in my guest bedroom. I felt a sense of empowerment and control over my circumstances and I knew that I was going to PASS FAR.

October 27th came and I took my exam. I left the testing center feeling defeated.

I actually told the test administrator I?d see him again in January. I almost began studying again for my anticipated re-take in Jan. 2010. I checked the message boards on daily. Jeff said a technical problem had been fixed and audit scores were being posted on NASBA?s website. On a lark, I checked to see if FAR scores had also been posted. I already had the website up from earlier in the day so I hit F5 to refresh.

An 85 came on my screen.

Shocked, I jumped out of my chair and broke the silence of my workplace yelling, ?I did it!?

Everyone congratulated me, and I smiled for days. I?m done with the CPA exam; I?ll receive my certification in a few weeks. As I look back on the nearly two year odyssey of this process, I find that I could not have done it without my wife, brother, family, and friends who understood that, in essence, my second job was this exam.

My wife was especially encouraging, knowing that the CPA exam is very stressful and time consuming. She helped me find my motivation, and once I had my motivation, I never lost it.

Anyone can pass this exam. Just have someone you can relate to (fellow CPA Exam candidates at, a CPA Review course you believe in, and an uncompromising attitude to set yourself up to succeed.

Good luck to you,

Jason – Tennessee
?MacPass? on the CPA Exam Forum

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Leave a Reply


Z Shah 14 years ago

Hey Jason, Congratulations. I too have failed BEC twice and FAR once, so just experiencing the same frustration but I still want to accomplish the CPA licence. can you please recommend the review course that helped you in passing those exams with such great scores? I'm using beckers and it doesnt seem to help me much. Thanks Z