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Video: Take 4 CPA Exam Parts at once? (International Candidate)

Brace yourself, but I'm about to schedule to take four sections in March 2017. As a Canadian, I am limiting myself to crossing the border to a minimum, except of course if the 18 month threshold is on the line. Basically, I have to pack the four sessions of materials within six weeks.

So Erla didn't actually ask me if this was a good idea or not, but I'm going to tell you, it's a bad idea. That's a bad idea because taking four sections when you don't have to, so the difference between the old exam and today's exam is the old paper and pencil versus today. Today, we have to know a lot more material and so next time your boss is at lunch telling you about, “In the old days, we had to sit in a banquet hall of a hotel over two and a half days with a pencil and some graph paper,” or something like that. Well, their exam day experience was much more difficult. There's no argument there.

Today, we can study for one exam and go take it. Study for one exam and go take it. But today, we have to know, I mean, just think of how much the accounting world has changed. Stocks and everything else and just IT and just the new business environment. I mean, even the way that the exam is testing stuff like higher order skills. Now, we have to know a lot more stuff, okay? So our exam day experience is easier. Just logistically. But we have to know a lot more stuff, a lot more FASB pronouncements, a lot more stuff on the exam. There's international stuff on the exam. And so my whole point in saying all of that, you're already taking a more difficult exam than back in the olden days, which the past rates are the same. That's a whole different argument for another day.

But the one advantage that you have is logistically being able to go in and take one exam at a time. And so you're taking a really tough exam and then you're going to go in and take all four at once and that's a really bad, and in March 2017, I've taken two exams in one day before. I think it was BEC and auditing, wasn't good. And so I can't imagine taking all four in two days. And so while you want to minimize your costs by crossing the border and hotels and travel, I think you'll probably end up spending a lot more and new notice of schedules. Now if you had exam behind your belt and you scored a 90 and you had a proven system and a proven track record, I'd say, “Hey, you know what? It's your money, go for it.” But Erla, I think you really need to slow down and take one exam at a time, spend six to eight weeks per exam.

Yeah, it's expensive. But two years from now when you're a CPA, who cares? The additional NTS fees from the exams that you're probably going to fail with this approach are going to make you break even with the travel fees that you save. And so your net gain is your sanity and everything else that goes along with that and your motivation.

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Jeff Elliott, CPA (KS)

Jeff Elliott, CPA (KS)

CPA Exam NINJA. Licensed CPA (KS) with 8 Little Dependency Exemptions 😉

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