AUD

Failed CPA exam

Should You Retake a CPA Exam Section or Move On to Another If You Failed?

Well lookie here, we have a mailbag question! Boy it’s been a long time since I’ve had the joy of answering one of these. Let’s jump right into it. Hi, I failed audit with a 63. I have Bec and far passed which doesn’t expire until 3/31/2020. I cannot take audit until April-June testing window. […]

BREAKING: CPA Exam Candidate Passes AUD

This is a developing story, courtesy the tip box: I passed AUD! 😀 Scores came out this morning! We tried to contact the tipster for more details; how many sections does this make total? What sort of score did this person get? How many attempts did they make to pass AUD? We have yet to […]

AICPA Will Pass “Old” GAAS on the CPA Exam in 2014

Well look at that, you guys got all worked up over the Clarity Project and now you have this to worry about. From the AICPA: Beginning in 14Q1, the extant standards (AUs) will no longer be tested on the AUD section of the Uniform CPA Examination. The clarified U.S. Auditing Standards (the AU-Cs), issued by […]

Protip for CPA Candidates: Don’t Schedule an Exam the Day After Memorial Day

  Over the years, we (and by "we" I mean "Adrienne") have dispensed a lot of advice related to the CPA exam. Everything from study materials to chemical assistance to 5-week intensive courses. We've even explained how to bomb the exam, if reverse-psychology is your thing.   But there's plenty of advice that we take for granted, […]

The Clarity Project Clarifies That CPA Exam Candidates Should Clear the Audit Hurdle Soon

While we've all been focused on the desperate tactics of the IASB to shove IFRS down everyone's throats and make it seem way cooler than lame old GAAP, the AICPA Auditing Standards Board (ASB) has been quietly aligning its agenda with that of the International Auditing and Assurance Standard Board (IAASB). Dubbed The Clarity Project, […]

CPA Exam Candidates: Have You Considered Adult Diapers?

That headline is serious, btw. I'm shocked I don't see more candidates talking about the possibilities of 4 hours of AUD in diapers. Do you all know Greg Kyte? Of course you do, you met him on GC here. Well it takes guts to be honest about one of the worst parts of taking the […]

Easy CPA Exam Answers

Sometimes, the answers come easy:

Hello. I am taking the REG and AUD sections of the CPA exam during the latter part of the Oct/Nov testing window. In your opinion, how much “rote memorization” is required to successfully pass the two sections referenced above.

Thank you for your assistance.

DMF

Simple. Zero.


For every hour of CPA review lecture video you watch, you should do 2 – 3 hours of homework for that section. If you rewatch a lecture, I would still do an additional 2 – 3 hours homework (MCQ or practice simulations) for each subsequent viewing. There is no such thing as practicing too much but don’t tell that to people who have scored in the mid to upper 90s.

Rote memorization? I wouldn’t call the effort you put into studying for these sections “rote memorization,” though you will be engaging in repetition (to the point of nausea) to really indoctrinate the concepts into your head.

In order to actually learn the concepts you need to pass, you will need to know why the answers are right and wrong, not just what the answers are. That’s why you don’t hear about people smuggling answers out of Prometric (they could if they really wanted to), it wouldn’t do anyone any good.

You will need to memorize certain concepts (don’t bother remembering every single tax form and SAS) but generally speaking, your most effective strategy is going to be to get in as much practice as you can. That means plowing through questions but thinking about the answers as you do so. Use the guide above to figure out just how many hours you need to put into each section but the “magic number” varies wildly for each candidate, you may need more or you may need less.

What to Do If You’re Stumped on One Section of the CPA Exam

I’m assuming not all of you are going to have great news as CPA exam scores trickle out, so maybe the following reader question can help you, too.

Adrienne,

Hi I’m looking for some advice regarding the Audit section. I have passed FAR, BEC, and Regulation thus far. However, I can’t wrap my brain around auditing.

The first time I took audit I got a 73 and I felt like I did not know any of the material. This was with three weeks of studying with Becker.

The second time I took audit, I got a 71 and I felt like I knew everything. This was with one month of studying with Becker and the computer Becker Final Review.

I just started working and I’m trying to determine the correct approach for studying audit again. I feel that it would be a waste to watch all of the Becker videos again unless I’m just absolutely confused on a section.

I plan on purchasing another study tool for more problems, etc, but I’m not sure which one to buy. I’m torn between the Gleim, Wiley, and Yaeger CRAM. The reasoning I have to purchase another tool is that I have a familiarity with the Becker questions already since I have tried them all twice.

Do you have any advice?

I absolutely have some advice, having seen a good chunk of our CPA review students go through this for a variety of reasons, none of which was related to the quality of the material or even the material itself.

Audit, of all the sections, can sometimes be the one that requires your brain to be the most bulimic (meaning learn it and barf it out at Prometric), mostly if you have no educational experience in that area and no affinity for the material covered. Auditors are – as we all know – unique, so it requires a different sort of thinking to truly thrive in that area.

You have the right idea. If you score between 70 – 74 (especially twice), you already have an excellent command of the information, so watching lectures you’ve already watched is a waste of time and won’t help you understand the concepts any better unless, as you said, you’re really lost on a particular part. You’re also doing the right thing by considering a supplement that will provide you with new problems, as memorization is not only a waste of time but also a detriment on exam day.

I have heard good things about Gleim’s MCQ, and some have had success using those alone. Since you already have the foundation of a full review, a cram is also a good option. But keep in mind crams involve videos and I don’t think it’s the basics you’re struggling with, it’s the tedious details. Crams usually cover the most heavily-tested material, which is probably not your issue at all.

Your best bet at this point will probably be to do as many practice questions as you can leading up to your exam retake. You have hopefully scheduled it soon while the information is still fresh in your mind.

I leave it to our readers who have undoubtedly been in a situation similar to yours to take it from here and tell you which they used to get over the hump as it were. Good luck!

Here’s Your CPA Exam Scores Open Thread for the April/May Testing Window

If you passed, congrats! If you failed…well, we still love you but you may be hopeless.

Sounds like people are getting anxious for REG scores now, so keep us updated for when NASBA drops the word.

UPDATE:
AUD scores have no been released.

Poli Sci Major Needs Help Picking a CPA Exam Starting Point

We swear we don’t mind answering the same question over and over and over, so if you have a question for us, please don’t hesitate to pound it out and get it to us.

Here’s our latest CPA exam quandary from the mailbag:

Hi Adrienne

I am just beginning to study for the CPA exams. I am in an MBA program and I will graduate in December. I was not an accounting major (poli sci) so I have also been taking the necessary required accounting classes in order to sit for the CPA exams, hopefully in January. I am taking an MBA-level auditing class in the Fall. I just finished a corporate income tax class this Spring, so I am a little confused as to which exam I should focus on now and take first, in January: REG as a lot of tax info is still fresh in my head or Auditing, as it will be most fresh by January?

Let’s all keep in mind that the CPA exam is not a test of your ability to be a good accountant, nor is it at all representative of the depth of your knowledge but the breadth. In other words, it’s a huge inch-tall puddle as opposed to a small, 9-ft deep pool. Your job is to jump across the puddle without getting your ankles wet, ya with me?

If it’s going to help your confidence, you can start with the section that will be easiest for you – in your case, that may be whatever you studied last. Keep in mind, however, that what you study in college and what you see on the CPA exam may not necessarily align. The CPA exam changes twice a year and with CBT-e changes, the AICPA Board of Examiners is now testing material that you are expected to know as a new CPA but may not have covered in school. Professors tend to favor the same material year after year, so unless your school is incredibly progressive and you’ve been learning IFRS (unlikely), it may not matter what you studied most recently.

That being said, I always tell candidates to start with the part that will be hardest for them simply because your 18 month timeframe starts from the time you sit for and pass your first part.

Here’s the deal: any review course will give you what you need to fill in the blanks in your education, even if you go the self-study route and pick up a set of CPA review textbooks from Amazon. In my professional experience, those who don’t have as rigorous an accounting background actually do better on the CPA exam as they come into it fresh instead of relying on what they were just taught in their accounting program that is no longer relevant for CPA exam purposes.

You’ll be fine either way, just pick one, study, and pass. It really is that simple. Or so I hear.

CPA Exam Dilemma: Do I Take Audit or FAR Before 2011?

Bypassing the pleasantries and getting straight into the reader question:

I passed BEC & REG on my first try, but I failed FAR & AUD. I need to take FAR or AUD before 2011. Which one do you suggest? FYI: I had 66 on FAR, 56 on AUD.


We’ve discussed what to do when you fail an exam section in the past and if you are familiar with the formula, you know that anything less than a 70 means you can pretty much go back to the drawing board. So the short answer here is that either FAR or AUD is fine but with a little over a month left before the end of 2010 testing, I am a little concerned that you may not have enough time to really prepare. Let’s be real here, you must not have put in much time or effort on either the first time around, am I right?

That being said, FAR looks like the more promising option though a 66 tells me that you’ve got a ways to go before you will be ready. It could be that you simply bombed one testlet and a simulation, in which case you don’t need to spend too much time going over all FAR topics in extensive detail but if you skimmed most of it the first time around, now might be the time to get serious and put in the work.

If you are asking which to take before 2011 because you are scared to death of the CBT-e changes, I would suggest taking AUD this year as the research will be harder next year while most of FAR will actually be easier (between removal of written communication, shorter “simlet” problems and fairly straight-forward IFRS vs GAAP content).

Regardless of which you choose, work on time management (perhaps that is your issue as it coincidentally tends to be a problem on both FAR and AUD) and use your score report to figure out where you need to focus for your second attempt.

Good luck!

Ed. note: Adrienne is currently trudging across this fine country, moving her life from not-so-fabulous-anymore San Francisco to an undisclosed location just outside of Washington DC. She’ll return to a full posting schedule next week after getting settled. As always, you are still welcome to get in touch with any CPA exam questions and/or post suggestions.

How Soon Will The New PCAOB Pronouncements Be Tested on the CPA Exam?

If you recall, the PCAOB got really busy not too long ago and doubled its audit standards virtually overnight, leading one CPA exam candidate to reach out and ask if this is at all relevant to his exam experience. If you don’t want to read the following and just want the short answer, it’s probably no.

Was wondering if you could do a brief post regarding the new pronouncements issued by the PCAOB earlier this month and when they will become eligible for testing on the exam. I am debating between taking this section and BEC in the next testing window. I’d prefer to take BEC since I don’t really feel like having to do the written portion when that goes into effect next year; however, if it comes down to memorizing a bunch of stuff that wasn’t included in my B—– package and that, I would rather get AUD out of the way. Thanks for your input!!

This is a great question so I’m happy to indulge you, let’s consult the AICPA, shall we? Lucky for all of us, they are very clear when it comes to most testing areas except for those in REG, which can cover both the current and former years’ tax numbers depending on when you take the exam. At least for this area we know for a fact that they will not be testing the new PCAOB audit standards until at least February 5, 2011. So says the AICPA:

Accounting and auditing pronouncements are eligible to be tested on the Uniform CPA Examination in the testing window beginning six months after a pronouncement’s effective date, unless early application is permitted. When early application is permitted, the new pronouncement is eligible to be tested in the window beginning six months after the issuance date. In this case, both the old and new pronouncements may be tested until the old pronouncement is superseded.

For the federal taxation area, the Internal Revenue Code and federal tax regulations in effect six months before the beginning of the current window may be tested.

For all other subjects covered in the Regulation (REG) and Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) sections, materials eligible to be tested include federal laws in the window beginning six months after their effective date, and uniform acts in the window beginning one year after their adoption by a simple majority of the jurisdictions.

So what the hell are they saying? Basically unless they specifically say so – like with FAS 141(r) being tested beginning July 1st, 2009 – new pronouncements, rules and regs will not be tested until 6 – 12 months after date of issuance. Keep in mind CPA exam questions cost a lot in time and effort alone and we just don’t see the BoE leaping head over heel to make new questions from the PCAOB’s latest busywork.

This means you’ve got another 5 months to put off Audit without having to memorize 8 new audit standards but maybe by that time the PCAOB will have another 8 to tack on. They are very busy over there these days, you know.

Did I Start Studying For the CPA Exam Too Early?

Friendly reminder: Going Concern’s own Adrienne Gonzalez will be chatting with CPA exam candidates over at CPA Exam Club on 8/3. We’ll be talking about the exam process, study strategies and all things CPA exam so if you haven’t already, head over to CPA Exam Club to RSVP for the chat if you have questions that you’re just dying to get answered.

Today’s reader question is probably one that some of you are more than familiar with… you graduate and jump right in to CPA review hoping your state board will process your application quickly and assume you’ll be ready to sit in a matter of weeks, only to discover that state boards aren’t nearly as quick as we wish ’s the sitch:

I recently graduated from Yeshiva University with a BS in Accounting. The week after I graduated, I started a Becker course (started with FAR) and planned to take the test at the end of July. Since then, my NTS has taken forever, so I prob. won’t get it for a couple weeks.

I recently started a full time position (hours are not regular, only staying 2-3 hours late a couple days a week) and am in the middle of moving apartments so my studying habits have been, for lack of better word, shite. [creative edit on our part]

The Becker AUD course starts on Tuesday. Would you say that sitting in on the course, while simultaneously studying for FAR is a bad idea? And also, assuming I’m starting from square 1 with FAR all over again, planning on taking it in the end of August, is this enough time, IYO, to be prepared to pass? (Obv with a structured study schedule of about 3 hours per day).

First of all, for those of you who haven’t already made this mistake, please keep in mind when you are plotting out your exam strategy that just because you are ready to take the exam doesn’t mean the state board is ready to process your application. A general rule is it can take anywhere from 4 – 10 weeks from the time you send in your application, fees and transcripts to the time you are actually ready to schedule your first exam. If you are 100% sure you meet the requirements to apply in your state, it’s safe to start your review a few weeks after you apply.

For our friend here who jumped the gun, however, it’s a little late so let’s see what we can do.

I’m going to say no on starting with Audit simply because I’m somewhat familiar with Becker’s repeat requirements (some of the strictest and most expensive in the exciting world of CPA review) and chances are you are going to need that class later on down the road. Our humble advice is to keep studying FAR and hope you can schedule yourself for that section in the final window of the year. The last window is always the hardest to schedule but we’re anticipating additional scheduling problems this year because of the rush to get exam parts in before the CPA exam changes in 2011 so be prepared to pick an alternate Prometric center or adjust your desired dates/times. As long as you’re open to that, you should be fine.

You can, of course, start studying Audit now and plan to take that one in the last window along with FAR but again, you’re likely to run into some serious scheduling trouble for Q4. Normally we’d tell you to go for it but this year is special and you’ll be lucky to get in one section let alone two before 2011 so worry about cramming in additional sections come January. Simultaneously studying is fine but we’re betting you won’t be able to get in to take both in the last quarter so save yourself the time and trouble by focusing on FAR for now.

Be honest, have you studied for FAR at all? Starting from scratch you can put in anywhere from 80 – 150 hours of studying so even between full-time job and a move it can be done but it sounds like what you need more than my advice on Audit is a study strategy that actually works for you. My biggest piece of advice is to take this process seriously and put off any other unnecessary drama (like an apartment move), if possible until after you have passed.

Three Ways the CPA Exam Could Change in the Near Future

If you’ve been trying to pass BEC since the CPA exam went computerized in 2004 (you can laugh all you want, I know a few people…), rejoice! The AICPA, NASBA, and Prometric have committed to another 10 year contract to administer and oversee the computerized CPA exam in 55 US jurisdictions.

“This 10-year extension of the exam contract from 2014 to 2024 continues the close and highly successful collaboration of the three organizations in the delivery of the computer-based examination for the past six years,” said Barry Melancon, AICPA president and CEO. “The CPA exam is the gateway to the accounting profession and under this arrangement we have seen the exam improve and grow. About 93,000 candidates took the examination in 2009 – a record.”

Now we imagine it must have been editorial privilege to leave out the actual passrates of those 93,000 2009 CPA exam candidates and we’ll not wildly speculate that the record is a direct result of threats that the exam will be jam-packed with IFRS come 2011.

What will the CPA exam of 2024 look like? Obviously no one knows but looking at the evolution of exam content since 2004, we can take a stab at guessing.

BEC will be a big priority – As we move from two simulations in FAR, AUD, and REG to 6 “simlets” (smaller, unrelated simulation problems) with communications being moved to BEC, I imagine it will be a big priority for the AICPA. It’s been notoriously “random” and filled with the bits and pieces that the AICPA couldn’t seem to make relevant in other CPA exam sections; the junk drawer of the exam, as it were.

IFRS – A lot is riding on implementation of IFRS questions (anyone volunteered to write those yet? I think the AICPA is still patiently waiting for help).

Scoring discussions planned after the first two quarters of 2011 – In other words: if you guys do well, the AICPA might leave it alone. Bomb and they might have to consider grading on a curve, invalidating that whole psychometric testing thing they’ve got going now.

Good luck with that. Really.

CPA Examination Contract Renewed in the U.S. Through 2024 [Press Release]