Top 10 Things you Hear When Taking the CPA Exam (and What you REALLY Want to Say)

Jennifer was a long-time member of the Another71 Forum and is now a Licensed CPA.

Note: the responses are very sarcastic and not meant to offend anyone

1.“Hurry up and pass this so you can do my taxes for free”

Yes, I have studied hundreds of hours, spent thousands of $$ on review materials and exam fees so that I can put Box 1 of your W-2 on line 7 of your 1040. I am now qualified to be an H&R block employee-YES!!! You have made my career complete now!

2.“Oh you are smart I’m sure you’ll pass”

So you are saying the 50% of people who get failing scores every testing window are dumb? Do you mind calling the AICPA and offer to become a grader for my exam to ensure I’m on the smart list this window?

3.“Why do you have to study so much? I thought you do this for a living.”

No they pay me to sit there and look cute. I get tested on the every day topics that don’t require very much intelligence, I’m just lazy.

4.“Why do you take it if you aren’t ready to pass?”

I love spending money and energy taking exams. Having the AICPA tell me I’m stupid is so much fun; I thought I’d just drag the exam process out a few more months.

5.“You just need a 75 to pass? That is easy!”

I know it’s so simple I don’t know why everyone isn’t a CPA! Duh!!

6.“I know how you feel! I’m studying for my cosmetology/real estate/GRE exam and it’s impossible!!!”

So the organization that gives your test adjusts the passing scores to ensure the pass rate to stay below 50%?

7.“If you don’t know it by now, you’ll never know it!”
Thanks for the vote of confidence! Exactly what I needed to hear right before I walk into the hardest exam of my life-thanks! I feel so loved!

8.“When do you get your score? Really? Why does it take so long? They should give it to you quicker.”

Yes I know it sucks for you to ask me about the same score a few times. It’s only been 2 ½ months I’ve been waiting for a score and having my life on hold waiting for it. If you’d like to call the AICPA and let them know they should release my score quickly, knock yourself out!

9.“So after you pass you get a huge raise and promotion right? If not, why the h*ll would you do it?”

“Remember that big salary you think I make now? If I don’t pass the exam and become a CPA, I have no shot at making the salary EVER-even in 10+ years! I’m not in public accounting for the money.”

10.“Back in my day we took the exam over 2 ½ days and couldn't study 1 section at a time. You have it so easy now!!”

Did you walk up hill both ways in blowing snow to get to the exam too? Remember that you probably had 10 FASBs to memorize; today we have 168 Standards, 48 interpretations, and 70 Positions plus thousands of exceptions to tax laws. CPA stands for ‘Can’t Pass Again’

CPA Review

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Paige 10 years ago

This was great!! Thanks!

Alex N. 10 years ago

"If you don't know if by now, you'll never know it!" I died laughing at the response. Exactly what I always want to say!

Jenn 10 years ago

so true!

Ali Lohnes 10 years ago

You did a fine job of expressing every candidate's true thoughts!!! Job well done :)

Karen 10 years ago

And now we get IFRS! What a real treat. :)

MLee 10 years ago

"Oh come on, it's not like it's med school." Flames shoot from ears.

Sarah 10 years ago

Loved it! I have heard every one of those! And I have bit my lip more times than I can count. :-)

Sofia 10 years ago

Excellent list. I'm showing it to my roommate, who told me that her med-school prep class isn't like the CPA because "it's not like you can cram for my prep class's quizzes in one night like you can for the CPA." Also, I often hear: - "You commute, so you can study while you wait for bus and then on the bus too!" - "We have ten minutes before the meeting. Can you get some studying in in the meantime?"

Shanin 7 years ago

I needed to see this.... So glad I'm not the only one who has a load of sarcastic remarks running through my head on a marquee every time someone makes a comment regarding the exam! I'm convinced that until your actually taking the exam you don't know how much material there really is or how hard it is. Which makes me somewhat ill-tempered toward those who think it's the same as taking a test in college over one chapter because whatever it is they are being tested on is so much harder than the CPA exam.... We did that & passed that all the way through 150 credits thank you very much! Ahhhh venting.... Feels good :) Thank you Jeff & the rest of another 71!