Don’t be Discouraged if You Fail the First Time


The other day at work, a co-worker (who works in the drafting department) asked me if getting the CPA was hard. I wanted to say, “You’re kidding…right?” Instead, I politely said, “Yes, it is.” He proceeded to tell me he thought about doing something different and since he already does income taxes for several family members and some friends, he thought it might easy to become certified. I started by telling him that you need a degree plus additional credit hours to get you to the 150-hour requirement. He promptly replied, “Oh, I don’t want to do that, I just thought you had to pass a test.”

Even if he thought that’s all there was, did he really think it would be easy? Or that it would only relate to personal income taxes? I went home and looked at my REG book to see just how small the income tax section was, not just for that section of the exam, but in relation to the exam in its entirety. There are so many different topics you need to know to pass the exam!

So in my mind I was telling myself, “Shame on him for not doing his research. The statistics are out there; the failure rate is high.” Then I thought, “Shame on me. I’ve seen the statistics. I know the exam is hard. So why didn’t I give myself this talk when I failed my first exam?” Since I started taking accounting classes I have been hearing how difficult it is to become a CPA. So why was I still disappointed that I, like many others before me, failed my first exam?

It is tough to see “FAIL” listed where you were expecting to see “PASS” on the Accountancy Board’s website. Then to have to go to work and tell people (only those that ask; I didn’t ever just volunteer the information) you didn’t pass, was embarrassing for me. I don’t think I’m the smartest person to ever take the CPA exam but I also know I’m not an idiot. What do others think when I tell them I didn’t pass? Do they judge me? Probably not. They just say, “Oh, I’m sorry…you’ll get it.”

They are right. I WILL get it! Now that I have seen the glorious word…PASS, I know I can do this. I get a little less discouraged and a little more encouraged with every lecture I listen to that makes sense, and every set of practice questions that validates it. It’s not easy; success isn’t guaranteed the first time, or even the second…but if you study, you will “PASS”. Good Luck!

-Donna Elish, Roger CPA Review Guest Blogger

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