studying or lack thereof

Studying for the CPA Exam at the Beach Isn’t Really an Option Since Most Candidates Have Jobs

A recent article by the New York Times is widening the massive canyon between accounting grads and law grads by reminding everyone just how different life is for would-be lawyers. Granted, with something like a 106% unemployment rate for new law grads and 100% utilization of new accounting grads1, it makes sense that a select […]

You Might Be a CPA Exam Candidate If…

Swiped from This Way to CPA: You may be a CPA candidate if… You finally decide to take a day off from studying and everyone comments saying, “shouldn't you be studying?” A successful night out on the town is heading to the library and acing multiple choice tests. You have cleared a store’s shelves of highlighters. […]

Is Pulling a No-Show a Good Move If You’re Completely Unprepared for the CPA Exam?

Do you guys ever read Yahoo! Answers? It’s awesome. Especially the posts that revolve around asking the Internet at large if the asker could be pregnant based on some risky behavior like, say, hanging out topless in a hot tub with a guy with a boner.

But useless drivel aside, sometimes good questions are asked. Given that it’s CPA exam score time once again and some of you who got bad news might not feel like talking about scores, I wanted to share this with you all and see what you think instead of discussing that.


Way back in my CPA review days, when asked this question by our students, I’d almost always tell them to go anyway. Even if you aren’t prepared, you’ve already spent the money on your exam and aren’t getting it back so why not go so you can at least get familiar with the questions?

Here’s the question:

I am scheduled to take the auditing section of the CPA exam tomorrow morning. Problem is, I haven’t studied at all. I also am now in private accounting, but still would like the certification. I have passed one already. I can’t reschedule the test because my Notice to Schedule expires next week.

So I was curious… the money I spent (about $200) is non-refundable- fine. It’s my fault for not studying. But canceling it altogether is $35. My question is, why would I cancel? Can I just not go? I realize going and failing would go on the record, but at least I could see how it is. So I have three options.

First of all, to what “record” is this person referring? I know some of you who have tried and failed over EIGHTEEN times. After the 7th or 8th time, most people learn to keep their mouth shut at work when they are headed to Prometric once again (though all those “personal days” can get a bit suspect), and by the 17th or 18th they have gotten so good at the action of sitting for the exam they actually pass. Your firm doesn’t keep a permanent file with your numerous exam failures in it, though your cattier colleagues might keep a mental one so they have some bullshit to hold over you next time they’re trying to outshine you in front of the partner. Big deal.

Anyway – what’s the benefit of paying more for a no-show over just not going? Assuming you’ve got some time left on your NTS, you will not have to reapply for a new one to take that section. We think. Check out this thread on the Another71 forums for more info on that option, plus yet more commentary on the confusing labyrinth that is dealing with the CPA exam authorities.

Apparently, if you no show, NASBA will allow you to re-apply for a new NTS within 48 hours of your no show exam (see this thread, also from Another71), which could work in your favor if your NTS is going to expire at the beginning of the window but your first passing exam expires at the end and you need the extra time to study.

Your best bet in this situation is to cram in a few days of as much studying as you can and just go. Granted, cramming is pretty useless when it comes to the CPA exam but you never know.

Anyone taken either of these paths? Better yet, has anyone shown up for the exam completely unprepared and actually passed?