Head up High: After Three Years, I Passed the CPA Exam!

Kara shares her journey to pass the CPA Exam.

I can’t believe that after 3 years of countless hours, tears, frustration, and 4 moments of pure joy that I’m finally done! I was beginning to think that this day would never come, but thankfully it’s here!

Warning … this post is a long one!

I want everyone to know that with hard work and dedication anything is possible. I graduated from my undergrad program with a pre-law degree and had a full ride scholarship to law school for my first year in 2004. I knew something didn’t feel right about the path I was taking and deferred my admission for one year.

I was working in the admin pool at my firm back then and took an accounting class at a local community college just to see if I’d be any good at it at the insistence of my boss and family. That class was a game changer for me. I rocked the class and loved the work! I knew I’d found the right profession.

In 2005, I enrolled at my grad school and started my Masters program while working full time in public accounting. Because my undergrad degree was not a business degree, a master’s degree in accounting was the only way I would be able to qualify to sit. It took me 5 years to finish but in 2010 I did it!

I began my CPA exam journey in 2011 with my first stab at Audit. Looking back at now at how woefully unprepared I was makes me laugh and shake my head. I had no clue what I was in for but I found out quickly that this exam is no joke!

I postponed and postponed my retake until my NTS was about to expire and took another stab at Audit in May 2012. That 71 was very painful but I knew that with a serious study game plan that I could do it.

That summer I signed up for a live review program offered by the faculty of my grad school for BEC, REG, & FAR (Audit had come and gone before I learned of the program) and spent the next 6 months in CPA exam boot camp. The classes ran from 6-10pm, 2-3 nights per week from June to October. It was hard but it showed me exactly what I needed to do to pass.

I passed REG in December 2012 and started my clock. I was salty and ready to get this exam by the throat and squeeze! After my REG success, I had 2 more rounds with Audit and you could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw that 92.

My last audit attempt was on April 16th after working 29 days straight through the filing deadline of a terrible tax season. One of our staff accountants quit in late January and I found myself pulling 70-80 hour weeks. Every second I wasn’t working, I was preparing for Audit. I woke up early, I stayed up late, I listened to NINJA Audio until I could have done the audit recording from memory.

I was more determined to beat audit then I’d been to do anything else in my life at that point. I refused to give in. Going forward, I knew that if I could get a 92 on evil audit then nothing would stop me from my goals. I made quick work of BEC on 5/31 and then moved on to FAR … the beast.

I spent 10 weeks preparing for my first round with FAR. I watched the videos, pounded the test bank, went through the text, recopied the NINJA Notes and was 1000% sure that I would close out FAR and take back the summer of 2013. Then came the 72.

I was devastated, broken, burned out, and frankly depressed.

I couldn’t believe I didn’t pass after working so hard. I told my husband and family that I couldn’t take anymore between the exam, my bid for partner at my firm, and a strong chorus of naysayers in my professional and personal life. I was exhausted mentally.

My husband took me to Florida for a week to decompress and regroup. It was one of the best things he ever did for me and I will always be grateful to him for it. I came home salty, determined, and ready to work. I retested only to wind up with a 74. That’s when I got ANGRY again … just like for audit retake #4.

I was not hurt or depressed or confused or broken. I was consumed with rage. I studied for FAR retake 3 like my life and my career depended on it and this time it paid off!!!!

Thank you to Jeff for creating this site that is supporting our community and for the spot on review materials that you offer. Without listening to NINJA Audio every day in the car for months and months on end, filling up countless spirals with NINJA Notes, and spending countless hours using NINJA Flashcards in random places all over town, I would not be posting here. Thank you for your sincere and constant support!

I want to thank everyone who has supported and encouraged me in the Another71 Forum to keep pressing on; you don’t know how much it’s helped and I appreciate it!!!!

Special thanks to: Jeff, smp73, MCLKT, Baxter, Kricket, Little#CPA, SeattleAccountant, Gatorbates, candothis, nbad311, Neika822, supervisor, InfernoOmni and LSNYC. There have been so many times I’ve wanted to walk away from this entire process and your support helped me stay in the game. Thank you for helping me stay the course and finish strong. Thank you for everything.

After 5 years of grad school and 3 years of exams, I can hold my head up high because I didn’t quit when it was hard or walk away when it would have been so much easier to do so. I can’t wait for my State Board to issue my license and to put those initials on everything I can.

After 8 years of hard work, no one can tell me that I didn’t earn it or that I don’t deserve it. 8 long years of sacrifice, commitment, and perseverance have finally paid off.

Some people dream of success…others wake up and work hard for it.

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Jeff @ another71.com 9 years ago

Congrats Kara!!!

Tauniman 9 years ago

Wow. I love this post. Congratulations!

Kricket Mitchell 9 years ago

I never doubted you even when you doubted yourself! Congrats!

Shan 9 years ago

Ah, Mints!!! Miss Mints!! Finally I saw your cute picture! Congratulations!!

Andrew 9 years ago


Rita Kinchen 9 years ago


Gatorbates 9 years ago

Great to finally put a face to a name, Mints!!

Zack Slavutsky 9 years ago

Kara! Finallymatch a face to a name :) Congrats to you!

Jinga247 9 years ago

Congrats Mints / Kara :) Is nice to finally put a face to your name. Super proud of you girl !!

Candyjohn007 9 years ago

Congrats Kara!!!!!! wooot wooot!!!!

Shana F 9 years ago

Congrats Kara! I passed this week as well after 18 months, and risking the loss of my FAR score. I am so proud of you sticking with it!

Sarah Perosio 9 years ago

So Proud of you!!!

jioogae 9 years ago

You ROCK!!!

Jess L. 9 years ago

Yaayyyy MINTS!!

Kara 9 years ago

Thanks so much everyone!!! I appreciate the support and couldn't have done it without A71!!!!!! :)

Kara 9 years ago

Thank you all so much!!!! I couldn't have done it with the support from A71!!!! :)

KKP 9 years ago

Thank you Kara for staying in the "game" and completing it strongly..... You inspire me....