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How Soon Should I Take The CPA Exam?



All CPA exam adviser have the same advise from year to year: take the CPA exam as soon after you complete the necessary college requirements to sit in the state or jurisdiction of your choice. One of the major benefits of the computer-based test (CBT) is that you are in control of when you sit for the exam. Likewise, you are also in control of how soon you begin the exam preparation process.

This post focuses on the timing of the event with the necessary reasoning and encouragements of taking soonly CPA exam.



How Soon Should I Take The CPA Exam After Graduation?

Don’t wait. If you have completed the necessary coursework, then prepare your study plan and apply to sit. It’s a known fact that it is difficult to retain technical material. The old saying goes: “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. This couldn’t be truer regarding accounting. The sooner you study and take the exam, the better your chances of passing it.

Does this mean you should give up the idea of passing the exam if you graduated several years ago? No, definitely not. CPA candidates who have work experience and have reached a certain level of maturity have a good chance of passing. They may, however, need to budget additional time to study and practice the concepts learned.

If you already meet the requirements to sit for the CPA exam, then get going! There is no time to waste. Begin today.


Five Factors to Think Before You Start

There are five factors to think about before choosing the date you will start the exam. Here are five questions you should ask yourself to measure whether the factors are by your side:

  1. Do you see becoming a CPA as a priority in your life?
  2. Do you believe that passing the CPA exam will give you greater job stability, job mobility, and a higher salary?
  3. Have you recently graduated from college or completed your accounting hours?
  4. Are you currently under pressure of losing your job or being overlooked for a promotion if you don’t pass the CPA exam? This is not a scare tactic. Public accounting firms do not promote staff auditors to the managerial level until they have passed the exam. This is part of the quality control element of the accounting profession. CPAs are preferred for some corporate finance positions, as well.
  5. Have you fulfilled the necessary educational and degree requirements? See the Web site www[dot]nasba[dot]org for the requirements in your jurisdiction, and ask your state board of accountancy to examine your credentials to verify your eligibility.


Factor-1 and 2: Your Motivation and Commitment To Become a CPA

Questions 1 and 2 are important to your decision. You must take becoming a CPA seriously. It just doesn’t happen; it takes hard work. Are you concerned that you will never be able to make such a commitment? Don’t be! You must not lose sight of the fact that people do pass this exam. Now that the exam is given in sections, the pressure is somewhat eased as you can take a short break in between preparing for each exam section.

The point is to understand what those who passed did to become successful Admitting to yourself that passing the CPA exam is going to require a great deal of work, which only you can do, is a key element. It’s not easy, and that’s why those three initials mean so much. If becoming a CPA was easy, many more people would be CPAs and the value of the title would be greatly diminished, am I right?


Factor-3: Your Graduation and The CPA Exam Date

Question 3 is not meant to discourage people who have completed their college work some time ago. However, we can’t overlook the obvious fact:

The CPA exam tests an accountant’s entry-level skills and competencies. Accounting, auditing, and income tax rules change frequently. As a recent college graduate, you are accustomed to taking exams; the material is fresher in your mind, and your workload is not yet as demanding as it will be when you advance within the company. The best time to take the exam is as soon as you meet the requirements to sit, which is usually upon graduation.

What about those of you who completed your coursework several years ago? Don’t give up! You, too, can pass. There is something to be said for work experience, especially in the area of tax and auditing. Work experience helps you to quickly analyze situations, write better, and read with greater understanding. At work you may utilize some of the software products that are used on the exam. Professionals use income tax software, the Financial Accounting Research System (FARS), and the AICPA professional standards daily.


Factor-4: The Over CPA Exam Pass Demand

An affirmative answer to question 4 indicates that you are under a considerable amount of pressure. Spend some time researching CPA exam preparatory courses. Establish a disciplined schedule to keep you focused and motivated. You are at risk of overreacting to the pressures and finding yourself giving up. Your boss is not being un-reasonable, he or she is just following company rules. Don’t look for someone to blame. Make up your mind to do it right this time.


Factor-5: The Necessary College Requirements For CPA Exam

Obviously, you must be able to answer question 5 positively. You will not be permitted to sit for the exam until you meet the requirements in the jurisdiction where you plan to register as a licensed CPA.

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