Ask the NINJAs – 8 Years and Still Not a CPA?

27 Jul 2012

Ask the NINJAs


Dear NINJAs,

I am a wounded veteran of this beast of an exam!

I have taken two Live CPA Review Courses (2004/2006), and two self-study courses (2008/2012).

My highest score was a 68 in REG. The others are too low to even mention.

I so badly want this license! I sit down each night to try and study FAR and I don't even know where to start.

I get frustrated. I cry. I feel dumb. I feel like this is never going to happen for me.

I think I have the wrong materials.

I listen to my lectures, you read the book, and then attempt the Homework and it is in another language.


I swear I am not dumb! I have an MS in Taxation, interned and worked for a Big 4 Accounting Firm and then a Fortune 500 company.

How do I get on track, study productively for this exam, and actually pass?

Thank you,




It's been a long road for you … we will try to help.

Some questions to consider:

1. Are you studying 20-25 hours per week? If not – get the NINJA Study Planner (Free)

2. When you study, are you using the archaic method the CPA Review companies recommend (watch Ch. 1 video, read Ch. 1 in the book, do Ch. 1 MCQs) or are you using the N.I.N.J.A. Method?

You have a 2012 CPA Exam Study Course. Should you switch?

We say “no” for right now. Do #1 and #2 and see what happens. You really need to pound NINJA MCQ in order to get the material.

You can watch videos, study notes, etc but it's the MCQs that will have the greatest impact.

Also – you're not stupid. There are plenty of arrogant mouthbreathers out there who don't have your killer resume. You just need to add those three little letters after your name and you're yelling “DOMINO MUTHA…” “How you like them apples?”

You only hear people brag about passing the CPA Exam the first time.

You don't hear people talk about their struggles … they keep silent out of fear of being mocked.

There are plenty of people just like you out there – can't figure out why it's taking so long, but persevering nonetheless.

Also keep in mind that people who mock others for their CPA Exam scores/history have little-to-no social skills and still live with Grandma (and don't even chip in on the cable bill … that's how they roll).

It's a scientific fact. We said so. We're NINJAs.

Finally – keep yer head up.

Here are some past posts that might put some wind back in your sails:

“Overcoming CPA Exam Failure”

“Keep Moving Forward”

“Hurricanes and SIMS Couldn't Stop Me from Being a CPA”



Have a question for the NINJAs? Send it here.

It will get answered by the NINJAs or in a future CPA Reviewed Podcast.

Leave a Reply


Joe Smith 12 years ago

Take Adderall

Susan 12 years ago

Sara, I used to teach college English...have seen lots of very bright students crash and burn on exams. 1. You need to try a new approach; past results speak for themselves. 2. Have you considered talking to someone about test anxiety? It REALLY sounds to me like that could be a did you perform on tests during your Master's classes? Please don't give up! I know you can do this...Susan

Jeremy 12 years ago

Sara, I read over and over again about memorizing material for the CPA exam. You can memorize everything for the CPA exam but if you do you'll work yourself to the bone. There are just so many details that it takes an extraordinary amount of time to learn everything. Instead, I would focus on understanding the underlying concepts and framework, and how to apply those to any given problem. You will still need to memorize those pesky exceptions, but I think it is a more cohesive approach to prepping for the exam. I am currently a MAcc student and it's the approach I use (82 on FAR and 87 on Reg) and the people in my program who have done really well on the exam use similar approaches. -Jeremy

Elizabeth 12 years ago

You can use focus notes and flash cards. It helps examine and help you remember key points.

Erin 12 years ago

Hi Sara, I feel for you. I have been in public accounting for 10 years and have been seriously trying to past the test for 5 years now. In January 2012, I had 3 parts past, with Reg as my last one and for some reason i haven't been able to pass that one at all. I got a 74 on Reg when I took it in January and then loss BEC and audit. I have now passed and lost audit twice. I feel the same way you do, it is so frustrating especially when you see people you know you are smarter than passing. I am starting up my studying again now and I am focused, I have to pass this for myself. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and you will pass. Now I just have to tell myself that too. Good luck!