I Didn't Pass the CPA Exam, Now What?

10 min read

There is nothing more discouraging than spending weeks or even months studying for a section of the CPA Exam, only to find out you didn’t pass. Although a small percentage of CPA Exam candidates pass every exam on the first try, the vast majority of candidates have to retake at least one exam. In fact, some of Becker’s best instructors had to repeat a part or two before conquering the CPA Exam!

So, if you just received your score and you didn’t pass, you actually have a few options (which do NOT include giving up)!

Retake the Exam Right Away
Even if you have started studying for another part of the exam, you can reverse course and start studying to retake the part that you did not pass. If you take this approach, focus your studies on your areas of weakness. You should have a good idea of which topics you found more challenging when you took the exam. Work through these weak areas first by re-watching the lecture and then reworking the related homework problems and related simulations. You might even find it helpful to reach out to fellow students, your Becker instructor, or our Academic Support team.

Once you feel comfortable with your “problem” areas, go back and do a general review of the other topics on the exam using your textbook and lectures. Then rework as many homework questions as possible, take several progress tests and retake the final exams. Once you have done this, you should be ready to retake the exam and Pass!

If you were in the 70-74 range, this approach is probably your best option as it will allow you to focus your studies on your weak areas without requiring you’re to re-learn everything else.

Put it aside until Later

If you have already started studying for another part of the exam when you receive your score, another option is to put aside the exam that you did not pass and move ahead with your studies for the other part(s) of the exam. If you are feeling especially discouraged, this might be a good option as it will give you time to clear your head and hopefully regain your confidence when you pass the next part that you are studying for.

If you choose this option, just keep in mind that if too much time elapses before you start to restudy, you may need to start from scratch. If your score was well below the passing score of 75, starting from scratch is the best approach regardless of when you choose to retake the exam.

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