Keep Moving Forward 2010

Update 2010: I consider this one of the best posts I've ever written. Two years ago, it captured what I was feeling when I was neck-deep in the CPA Exam and wondering if I would pass. I was trying to balance family, work, the CPA Exam, and trying to maintain some semblance of a “life”.

“Failure is an event, not a person” as Zig Ziglar says. So true.

I spent the last week on vacation with my family in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. We only had one DVD with us (“Cars”) and my boys were sick of watching it at night, so we bought “Meet the Robinsons”. It's a great movie as far as animated flicks go, but as I tuned in here and there, I came across a scene about failure and the theme of “Keep Moving Forward” that was derived out of a quote by Walt Disney long ago.

I immediately thought of the CPA exam, as I often do since it's plagued my memory for the past 3 years and I found it very applicable to the process of studying for and taking the Exam. Then, I read about a CPA Exam candidate who had scored in the low 60's and they were wondering if they should throw in the towel or if maybe there was still some hope for them.

My initial motivation for creating this site was because I was extremely frustrated with myself that I had failed BEC yet again and felt like venting. At the time, I felt like the dumbest person in the world. I was 30 and still hadn't passed the stupid CPA Exam and I was wondering if I in fact was cut out for accounting.

I considered quitting the CPA Exam altogether. I was sick of the time. I was sick of sending NASBA money. I was sick of exam day anxiety. I was sick of the ridiculous 4 week minimum to get your results back. I was ready to move on. Surely I could get a job in…marketing?


Then, I thought about the future. I have 3 boys ages 5 and under. When times got tough for them…when life didn't quite go their way, how could I look them in the eye and tell them not to quit and to get up and try again if I myself packed it up and quit the biggest challenge of my life? I don't work in public accounting anymore and passing the CPA Exam is more of an aside on my resume because I don't plan on using it in an official setting ever, so continuing with this exam is for 1. my pride 2. my boys and 3. my wife won't think that all of those weekends where she kept the boys out of my hair so that Dad could study would be all for naught.

The purpose of this site quickly found an identity in that it exists to tell other candidates that hey – if you're struggling with this exam, you're not alone. The only stories you really ever hear are about your smart classmate or co-worker who aced the exam on their first try. You don't really hear too many people admit that they didn't pass the Exam the first…or second…or third try. I've been open about my failures on this exam so that maybe other people would be spurred on to keep fighting and would hopefully realize that they are not alone.

Which brings me back to struggling CPA Exam candidate…

If you have the intellectual wherewithal to qualify and meet the prerequisites to take the CPA Exam, then you can pass the CPA Exam. I believe that the Thomas Edison quote ?Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration” is very relevant to the CPA Exam taking process. I have never found myself being too-dumb to pass the Exam. I've always left the testing center kicking myself for not working harder.

If you're a bad test-taker…work on being a better test taker.

If you have 3 kids and work full time and don't have the time or energy to study…change your schedule…stay up later and get up earlier…that's no excuse (I'm preaching to myself here).

If you're working your tail off, but are getting bad results on practice tests…either get new material or figure out where you're going wrong.

The bottom line is: everyone who is studying for this exam can pass it.

There is no score that can't be overcome and there are no character weaknesses that can't be beaten. The point is – STICK WITH IT.

Forget your co-worker who looks down his nose at you for not passing (no one likes him and he never gets invited for beers after work anyway). Forget your uncle who passed the exam back when they had to walk uphill both ways through the snow to take the old paper and pencil edition (this version of the exam is much broader and you have to know more information…thank you SOX and BEC).

Finally, forget the fact that you didn't pass REG or FAR or whatever the last time you took it. Your performance last time has zero bearing on your success this time around.

Whether you scored a 60, 71, or a 74 – KEEP MOVING FORWARD. Keep fighting. Keep making progress.

Sometime in the future, you will have 3 letters by your name and these temporary setbacks will all be a distant memory.

(If not…there's always marketing).

Related Posts

becker cpa review

Free NINJA for All Becker Students

Exclusive Promo: Free NINJA for All Becker CPA Review Students

New Becker Students:

– Becker 4-Part Promo: Buy a complete Becker course (Pro, Premium, or Advantage) and get 4 months of NINJA Free.

– Becker 1-Part Promo: Buy single section of Becker and 1 month of NINJA Free.

Past/Current Becker Students:

– Already a Becker Student? We have you covered if you purchased Becker within the last two years.

cpa exam tutoring

NINJA Sparring: Live CPA Exam Tutoring

NINJA Sparring is the CPA Exam Tutoring service offered through your NINJA CPA Review membership.

The weekly live sessions are done via Zoom and all NINJA Monthly members can attend and ask questions.

We run live sparring sessions four days a week at 8 am (CST) with the following schedule:

Monday – FAR
Tuesday – AUD
Wednesday – REG
Thursday – BEC

Most sessions include an accompanying Excel worksheet.

Replays are available the following day and there are currently 170+ hours of replays available, broken down by CPA Exam topic.

Another71 CPA Exam Podcast #87 CPA Exam Podcast #87 – Failed CPA Exam BEC – NINJA Plus vs. NINJA Hot Spots – CPA Exam Gift Tax Exclusion – Adding “CPA Candidate” to Your Resumé – The Ethics Exam for CPA – CPA Live Review Courses – Corporate Partnerships and Trusts – Fear of Failing CPA Exam – MCQ […]

CPA Exam Studying + Dealing with Distractions

Joe is a [A71 product=”combo”]NINJA CPA blogger[/A71]. There are a million distractions that get in the way of studying for the CPA Exam. The key isn’t getting rid of all of them, but limiting them so they do not consume you and take up all of your time. My largest distraction is my phone. Text messages, […]

Leave a Reply


Diane Huffman 11 years ago

Thank you for having the foresight and courage to create this site. I've failed BEC 3 times now and was thinking of quitting. Then I passed AUD first time and found this site. It's made the world of difference to me.

Elyse 11 years ago

This post couldn't have come on a better day for me. Thank you for writing it and thank you for your hard work on this site. It's not something you have to do, but it is so very much appreciated by many!

Marcy 11 years ago

Jeff, great post! Very motivating for those that are still working through each of the exams. I know everyone likes to hear both sides of the story. Failures as well as success. Thanks!

Martha 11 years ago

Jeff, Thank you for that wonderful post. This is a wonderful site you have created. I no longer feel alone. Makes me feel better that there are others taking this journey with me. Im waiting on my score for my last section. I failed it back in January (felt really dumb). And retook it in May. Left feeling like I failed it. So Im just hoping for the best. And if I didnt pass it, well July will be the passing one. Thank you!

Ben 11 years ago

Perfect. Thank you for your time and effort.

Hagop 11 years ago

Jeff, Thanks u for posting this... I enjoyed reading it! Its been 3 months since the last time I studied! But starting from tomorrow will draft a new schedule and stick to it.... My work in one of the big four is taking all my time though this is not an excuse...! Contradictory this is essential for my progress at work. Thanks for this great article it was great...

Shawna 11 years ago

Jeff - Your post is inspirational and I have the utmost respect for what you have accomplished. I too have done this for not only myself but for my kids and husband. I set the example for accomplishing goals not only in my immediate family but my extended family as well. Thank you for this wonderful post.

Kim-Texas 11 years ago

Jeff, Thanks for sharing SUCH an inspirational story with us. I admire you for being so truly honest with us and keeping this website so that we can all come on here and know we aren't alone. I don't know what I'd do without it. As much as I'm doing this for myself, I am doing it for my poor husband that has had to fiend for himself for the last 6 months and eat cereal for dinner but has never once complained. Thanks again!

Crystal jin 11 years ago

Thank you for your post,since i take the chinese CPA exam,but i think as same as the USA exam,and i really enjoy to read the post. thank you again!!

Karin 11 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing your story - it's so inspiring and encouraging. My favorite part is the paragraph with the Thomas Edison quote and your note about having the wherewithall to pass the exam. I've questioned that myself having not passed any parts yet and feeling inept. Your story is my story too (except for the ending). I'm trying to balance work, family, exercise time-haha along with the cpa exam. You're right in that people don't understand what its like and what we're going through and that passing the cpa exam is right up there with the bar exam. I appreciate your website!! Thanks again!