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Audit CPA Exam Experience

Audit is one of those subjects that I always refer to as easy to learn, yet hard to master. Sort of like skiing. After I had passed the FAR exam with an 81% I was riding a high and thought the rest of the CPA exam would be smooth sailing. Boy, was I wrong. 

Below is my story of how I failed the audit exam three times. I call it, “The Traumatic Tail of Joey’s Audit Exam Experience.” 

Score 1: 71% 

The first time I took audit after studying for six weeks I failed with a 71%. I wasn’t overly discouraged as I thought, 4 points away, all I need to do is take another quick lap through the material and I should easily get a 75% right? Wrong. There is what I like to call a “complacent syndrome” that circumvents throughout the CPA exam universe. This occurs when a candidate comes close to passing and things that the amount of information that they have retained leading up to that 71% will remain in tact forever. I am here to tell you, it won’t.

Score 2: 69%

I had just received my 69%, and it had just occurred to me that I regressed. Yeah, sure, I initially showed up to the wrong test center, and had to find my way to Time Square from the financial district in NYC within a 25 minute period on a Tuesday morning. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Manhattan traffic on a Tuesday morning, it’s not an easy thing to do. Long-story-short, the whole start of this exam was a bit chaotic, but I made it to the test center and they let me take the exam. I am not trying to make any excuses, but I am gonna go out on a limb and say that this likely impacted me psychologically and ultimately my score. Bottom line, I was unprepared, and regressed.

Score 3: 73%

For obvious reasons, this one hurt the most. I had spent another 5 weeks thoroughly studying my audit material. I thought “there is no way that I couldn’t pass”. Well, unfortunately, the AICPA doesn’t factor “effort” into your score. I failed and I was miserable. I had my BEC exam in 7 days and I almost didn’t even want to bother taking it. I simply wanted to quit. I called my dad at 3am because I couldn’t sleep. He therapized me to the extent that he could, but I knew that at the end of the day, this was going to be all on me. I did end up taking that BEC exam and ended up passing with a 78% (only section that I passed on my first try). It gave me the motivation that I needed to just keep going. 

Score 4: 81%

On the fourth attempt, I walked out of the Prometric center thinking “okay, if I don’t pass this exam this time I never will.” It was one of those situations where I felt like I knew the answers before I even finished reading the question. There was nothing more that I could do. When I had finally passed audit, I was so ecstatic that you would think I was 100% done. I still had REG to go. 

Moral of the story is that everybody has their CPA exam kryptonite. Mine was Audit. It ended up being my highest score on any CPA exam. If you’re out there and you’re struggling to recover from a 73% or 74%, just know that you are so close, and in the end giving up isn’t a solution. No matter how bad the pain of a 73% feels, you can and you will get this done! 


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