What To Do If You Failed The CPA Exam?

Most people who I’ve met who have failed the CPA exam fail by 3-5 points. This must be maddening. So close, yet so far away.

A small percentage of people fail by 20-30 points and these individuals effectively have to start from ground zero and plug in the 100+ hours necessary for most people to pass the CPA exam.

First of all you have to remember that about 40% of candidate fail the CPA exam. You cannot let the failure impact your psychology because the curve of the exam means a lot of people will fail. More specifically almost everyone fails one section of the exam. The question is how can you fine tune your approach in order to boost your score by the 3-5 points necessary to achieve a 75?

If you scored in the 70’s you should aim to retake the exam as soon as possible. You have so much information running through your mind and you want to take the exam while this information is fresh. The human brain is largely like a computer with Random Access Memory and long term memory. Thus, if all the FAR information is in your Random Access Memory or short term memory you want to make sure that you re-take the exam a.s.a.p.

If you scored a 65 or less you should not retake the exam right away. It is advisable to give yourself enough time to fully learn all of the material again. Effectively, you will have to budget for another 100 hours of studying

Once you get your results you should look to identify your weak spots. Was it the SIMs? Which part of the MCQ’s did you struggle with?

After you figure out the weak spot you can formulate an action plan for tackling the CPA exam for the second time. Perhaps you will want to reinforce certain concepts by using CPA flashcards on the specific sections that you stumbled on.

You may find that it is difficult to schedule your exams after failing one section.  Thus, if you have another section already scheduled you may have to start your retest studying afterwards. However, that is not a huge disadvantage as long as you scored less than a 70.