5 Sure Fire Ways to Fail the CPA Exam


The CPA Exam can seem pretty intimidating, at times. Throughout your accounting education, you probably heard stories of its legendary difficulty, or the complexity of the application process. While the CPA Exam is, indeed, difficult, it most certainly isn’t impossible. In fact, one of our most repeated slogans is “if you study, you will pass!”

But, as you prepare for the CPA Exam, you should know that there are a few bad habits that can almost guarantee you’ll fail. Take a look at the following list, and make sure none of these apply to you.

1. Don’t study at all
If you’re really committed to failing the CPA Exam, you should avoid studying for it. Because the exam covers so much information about so many topics, studying will definitely help you remember and understand more. Obviously, the use of mnemonics or other memory aids would also put you at risk of passing.

2. Procrastinate
Why study today when you can put it off until tomorrow? If you repeat this mantra, you’ll almost certainly become a master at procrastination while simultaneously ensuring total CPA Exam failure.

3. Study from Old Materials
What’s the point in studying the newest, most updated CPA Exam review materials possible when old or obsolete material will let you fail even harder? By studying from materials updated as often as twice per year, candidates increase their likelihood of accidentally passing the CPA Exam by almost double.

4. Don’t Practice Simulations or Multiple Choice Questions
If you spend your time practicing simulation and multiple choice questions, you’ll be familiarizing yourself with the main body of the CPA Exam. Wouldn’t you rather be pleasantly surprised by your complete lack of knowledge?

5. Have a Negative Attitude
There’s nothing that will help you fail more than a can’t do attitude. Just wake up every morning, look in the mirror, and remind yourself that failure is most definitely an option.

Nobody Really Wants To Fail

The truth is that nobody really wants to fail the CPA Exam. Becoming a CPA is one of the most rewarding and challenging professional accomplishments available. If the exam was easier, or less complicated, passing it wouldn’t symbolize the pinnacle of professional achievement in the accounting profession. Getting a failing score on one or more parts of the exam is a difficult and painful part of the process for many people.
Keep in mind, though, that as much as 72% of those who fail the exam on their first attempt go on to pass the exam and become CPAs. This is encouraging, and should illustrate the need for determination and strength of character. What’s more, by failing, you’re given the chance to reflect on your technique and change what didn’t initially work.

The majority of the candidates who fail the exam will tell you that they simply didn’t study hard enough. Others will tell you that they didn’t know how to navigate from screen to screen, or how to accomplish certain tasks. Many people also blame their failure on anxiety or fear.

From putting off studying until busy season to not studying at all, many candidates do indeed sabotage their own success. But, by keeping these failing techniques in mind, you can recognize them before they happen, and help yourself achieve the real goal of passing the CPA Exam.

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