Five Years in the Making: I PASSED the CPA Exam!

Shuchi shares her journey to pass the CPA Exam.

Fellow CPAs & future CPAs-to-be,

I, a fellow Another71 member since 2010, recently found out I passed my last section. I am still in shock, disbelief and everything feels surreal. I find myself crying tears of joy randomly and screaming my lungs out at other times.

You see, like many of you, my attempts to attaining this prestigious title has not been easy. But here I am five years later, writing a little note of kudos to those who made it and to those who are still trying.

I came to this country at the age of 13 and watched my parents work 6-7 days a week, trying to save every penny they could. All they hoped in return was that their children get the opportunity to be successful and live a comfortable lifestyle without all the struggles they had to face.

So, in college, as I decided on a major, I searched for something that was practical, that I could understand and pursue with hopes of having a more financially stable life. I guess it’s safe to say, while Accounting was not my first love, I definitely grew to like it.

I clearly remember taking my intro to taxation class and feeling engrossed in it. I remember actually loving the homework projects assigned, and looking forward to learning more. My inner nerd had emerged and I knew I had possibly found something I was interested in and wanted to pursue. However, pursuing to be a CPA, was still was furthest from my mind.

Few years later, my amazing mother, planted the seed in my mind, to pursue the CPA. I wasn’t too sure about the idea and silently laughed at the thought that she had that much faith in me. As I got married and thought more about it, my father-in-law who also happened to be a CPA, pushed me further as well.

And then, with the support of my husband, I thought, hey I have nothing to lose so why not? I definitely didn’t take the exam seriously on my first attempt back in 2008. After receiving two consecutive and identical failing scores of 57 on BEC section, which I thought would be the easiest, I decided I am going to either seriously commit or give up.

In 2009, I remember discussing with my husband to put all of my savings in purchasing a review software and give it my best. Around this time is when I discovered Another71. As many of us who have taken this test and failed, know too well how at times, even our closest friends and family cannot imagine what we go through.

I was amazed to find people in similar situations, who gave each other encouragement and the inspiration to not give up. Back in the days, when Jeff had chat groups, I remember excitingly signing in and discussing study strategies with fellow members. I finally saw a ray of hope when I passed my first section REG in 2009.

I wish I could tell you, that it was a smooth sailing after that but it wasn’t. I tried and tried to pass the remaining sections and would fall short a few points each time. I cannot remember how many times I cried, got depressed and then logged in to Another71 and re-kindled my spirit.

It also helped that I have the most amazing, understanding and supportive husband who always told me “you will get it next time.” As my REG credit was about to expire towards the end of 2011, I tried to attempt the darn BEC in the last window left for the year.

During studying for BEC, I also found out I was pregnant. I remember feeling all kinds of hormonal changes going in my body, and studying the direct labor, overheard and cost of goods sold and muttering to myself, well if anything, this baby will come out knowing a whole section of the CPA exam.

A month later, I found out I finally passed BEC after four attempts! I remember screaming so loudly that my husband got upset as he assumed something was wrong. Unfortunately, despite finally beating my nemesis, I lost my REG credit in 2011. But thanks to a wonderful and supportive family, I continued to march on.

After giving birth in May 2012, and taking some time to take in the precious life that was placed in my hands, I decided I would not quit. I had come too far to give up! I looked at my son and said if there is one thing you will know about your mother –She is not a quitter and neither will you ever be!

One would think the hardest part of this journey was to constantly fail and have friends and family ask repeatedly on the progress. No, the hardest part for me was leaving my newborn home and forcing myself to leave the house with tears in my eyes to go to the library. Every moment I spent away from him, was the biggest sacrifice I have ever made.

I will never get back those moments but I remember praying and saying God, please don’t let my sacrifice go in vain. And although I am losing these precious moments now, please allow me to spend the upcoming precious moments and enjoy them by finishing with this journey of my life.

Well, needless to say I passed FAR in 2012 and knew the clock was ticking. If I didn’t regain my REG credit and pass Audit by June 30, 2013, I would have to start over again and that just was not an option.

I took some time off from work for each remaining section and re-gained my REG credit in the middle of tax season. Audit had become my new nemesis this time and I was determined more than ever to defeat it.

I purchased NINJA Notes and Audio, Wiley test bank and more software for SIMS. I did questions every day, even if it was on my phone in the dark, while my baby was sleeping. I carried flash cards with me, listened to lectures every chance I got and re-wrote my notes at least twice!

I was in a “I am going to give it my all and go in with full armor in this battle and make it the last time I have to take this exam.” And it paid off. I passed with an 86 – my highest score out of all the sections!

I hope, that many of you like me who are finally done, are taking a moment to sit back and enjoy this moment. And for those who are still trying, don’t ever give up. If I can pass this exam, so can you.

I remember watching this speech by Eric Thomas on the Another71 Forum that a member posted, to encourage us and I clearly remember the words: “You've got to want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you'll be successful”. And then when you are done go ahead and sing to “What a feeling” by Irene Cara.

Signing off as a former Another71 member but as a present Another 71 Alumni ☺

Read other CPA Exam Success Stories in the NINJA Hall of Fame.

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