How Hard is the CPA Exam? 7 Things You Need to Know


Plenty of candidates who start the CPA exam fail to finish or pass. But why? The primary reason is that they didn’t realize how hard these tests are. A CPA exam study guide will give you some idea of how difficult they are, but that isn’t enough to help you prepare adequately. The CPA exam is hard because it covers a lot of material and requires skill in test-taking. You have to learn an extensive amount of information in order to be successful. The accounting coach can help with the details, but you need to study smart to get the most out of your studies. Here are some things you need to know about CPA exams.

Time Management is Critical

You have four hours to answer 240 multiple-choice questions on the CPA exam. You need to complete 638 tasks in those four hours, and you can’t waste time on any of them, not even reading an entire question at a time or trying to understand every word of the answer options. That’s why it’s important to read straight paragraphs with one idea in mind, rather than reading a few words at a time. That also means that when you start answering questions, you need to prioritize tasks within the exam sections.

Know Your Code

Every state has its code of professional conduct for CPAs, so it’s important to know the code for your state. The CPA exam will test you on ethical behavior, so memorize the Code of Professional Conduct. A CPA must act competently, including considering any special purposes that might materially affect the procedures used or services rendered.

Report It

The first part of being ethical is reporting mistakes. The Code of Professional Conduct also states that a CPA must disclose unethical or illegal conduct to the appropriate professional organization or regulatory agency. Before reporting a violation, you have to be sure it’s a violation, and if not, report it as an error and make notes on how to correct the error.

Consequences of Violating the Code

If a CPA violates any provision in the code, they could face many consequences for their actions. The AICPA can suspend or even revoke their membership rights and privileges with the organization if they have been found guilty of a violation. In extreme cases, they could face civil liabilities, criminal prosecution from the government, and imprisonment if found guilty of a serious. Board members elected after the meeting can be present for only one year, which means you need to attend every board meeting to win a seat on the ballot.

The CPA Exam is Now a Computerized Multiple-Choice Exam

You can only take the test if you have already passed it in your country of residence, and the United States has permitted them to allow you to write the exam here. This means that even if you pass the exam at home, you cannot take the exam here unless you first go through the CPA review course.

The Failure Rate is Very High

You must be highly prepared if you want to pass the exam on your first trial. You should not question whether or not you will pass. It’s more likely that if you are well prepared, you are definitely going to pass.

The CPA Exam is 8 Hours Long

This number may vary, depending on how much time you need to take the test to complete all of the questions. You can use a calculator for calculations, but not smartphones or other electronic devices. However, there are no restrictions on what kind of pen or pencil you may use. For you to complete the exam on time, it would help if you adequately undertake the CPA test prep.

Also, you should know that the test centers are usually located at colleges or community colleges. Nevertheless, it would be best to refrain from bringing any of your materials to the exam room, such as smartphones or other devices. This is because it will slow down the process and take time away from the testing.

In conclusion, you should start studying as soon as possible to allow yourself enough time to complete the test. If you feel a little out of your depth, it may be best to seek assistance from a professional study guide or a class.


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