Pass CPA Exam

3 Reasons You Won’t Pass the CPA Exam

The alarming truth is that half of those who take the CPA exam don’t pass — and often, they miss the mark by just a few points. Understanding the most common reasons test-takers fail is an important part of your preparation. Fortunately, you can plan ahead so you won’t fall into these traps. These are three pitfalls that you must avoid at all costs to get a passing score:


After years of education, you might feel certain that there are some sections of the exam you are already prepared for. That confidence can tempt you to skip over the relevant CPA exam course materials. While you can certainly devote less time to areas you are familiar with, omitting them from your exam prep altogether is a mistake.

Your online CPA review course typically offers practice tests to measure your progress. In a high-quality course, practice test questions are at least as difficult as the ones you’ll face on the actual exam. Use the results of these practice tests to guide you in your studies, and do — at minimum — a brief review of all topics that will be covered in the section you are taking next.

Over-Reliance on Shortcuts

It’s true that there are tips and tricks to help you through the CPA exam. For example, you might have heard that when it comes to multiple choice tests, the longest answer is usually correct. However, these shortcuts do not take the place of thoroughly understanding the subject matter. Test-taking strategies are intended to give you a small edge — perhaps the difference of a critical point or two. You won’t be able to guess your way to a passing score.

Lack of Preparation for Task-Based Simulations and Written Communication Questions

Finally, don’t make the mistake of putting so much focus on studying for multiple choice style questions that you neglect to prepare for the task-based simulations and written communication questions. To be clear, you cannot pass the CPA exam without successfully answering most of these correctly.

Many people do not pass the CPA exam, though they put in many hours of study time. Often, the issue isn’t how much time you spend preparing — it has more to do with using that time wisely. As you plan your study schedule, remember to include a review of all subject areas and question types. Don’t expect exam-taking tricks to get you a passing score. Quality online CPA exam prep services like those offered by Surgent are specifically designed to maximize every minute of your study time, giving you the boost you need to earn a passing score.

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