If you’ve taken my class, you’ve heard me say a thousand times “The CPA Exam is NOT an IQ test.” I say it so often because, well, it’s absolutely true.
Some people go into the process of studying for and taking the CPA exam assuming that it requires great accounting class grades all through college and a base knowledge of accounting skills critical to your career as a future CPA. The absolute truth of the matter is that if you prepare (and understand what sort of information you are going to have to memorize and remember), you can attack the exam like an expert, even if you barely pulled a C- in your Cost Accounting class Junior year.
I cannot emphasize enough just how important CONFIDENCE is to the CPA exam candidate. I would have never been able to get through it without the belief first and foremost in my mind that I had prepared to the best of my ability and would succeed. Of course, you’ve got to earn that confidence; you can’t expect to do 15 random multiple choice questions and skim through a 2006 book that your coworker loaned you and think you’re going to walk out of FAR with a 95. It’s just not reasonable.
But with the right preparation and the right attitude, there is absolutely no reason why you cannot pass like I did.
A big issue that I hear often is “cost”. I know my competitor’s course costs more than my course and that other review courses cost less than mine; I can’t argue that it’s NOT a large amount of money to have to invest – but what about additional exam fees you will have to pay if you skimp in the interest of saving a few bucks and end up having to retake the exam over and over and over?
You can’t exactly put a price on your goals, after all. And even if you could, the goal of being able to see those three little letters after your name and know you earned the distinction is worth all the money in the world as far as I’m concerned.
Going through the experience myself and watching the 10s of thousands of students I’ve taught in my 20 years teaching CPA review, I also learned that some people have difficulty prioritizing. I know as well as anyone how difficult it is to put social events on the back burner while you are studying for the CPA exam – especially when your non-accounting friends and family seem to be entirely clueless as to the intensity of the experience. They’re never going to get it, and that’s ok, they don’t have to.
You’ve got to learn to set boundaries. It’s ok to say “Sorry, I can’t get a drink with you tonight because I have to study – but you can buy me one when I pass this section!”
Prioritize. How important is becoming a CPA to you?
It is ABSOLUTELY worth the effort. No one promised it would be easy, but once you’ve accomplished it, you can actually look back on all your efforts and be proud that you did what very few individuals are brave enough to do.
Plus, of course, you get a very cool certificate to hang on your wall in case you ever forget just how far you came!