Overcoming Obstacles: How I Passed the CPA Exam


Hi. My name is Elizabeth Johnson, and this is my CPA Exam story.

I am happily married and am the mother of two hyper children, ages four and two.  My CPA journey is probably longer than most, but what matters is that I’m finished. I believe that I could not have accomplished this goal without prayer, family, coffee, and Roger CPA Review.  If you have been humbled by this exam like I was, I hope you’ll listen to my story and agree that some goals take longer than what we tell ourselves they should.

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of South Alabama.

I was generally an A student with the occasional B, and I graduated with honors in December 2010. I didn’t start off at the University of South Alabama, and I didn’t start off in accounting. I was pre-med for three years before I determined that communicable diseases were just not for me.

Once I was on the accounting route, I found encouragement from counselors, my mother-in-law who is a CPA, and one professor in particular who told me to take the CPA path.  I graduated just knowing that I would pass all four parts of the CPA exam the first time. However, sometimes personal expectations have a way of setting you up to fail.

In January 2011, I was researching study programs as I became eager to start the process.

My application was completed and ready to go, but by March 2011 I found out I was expecting. I miscarried early into the pregnancy, and  found that I needed time to recover mentally before trying to study again. I was not expecting to get pregnant two months later, but life is surprising.

I also thought that I could be one of those people that could study and be pregnant at the same time. I should just start keeping tally of how many times I was wrong.  My daughter put me in the hospital three times before she arrived, and I had to have two surgeries the same year she was born.

I remember thinking to myself that I will start studying soon, but life just kept coming up with other plans.

On my daughter’s first birthday in January 2013, my mother told me she found a lump in her left breast. Two weeks later they took a biopsy, and two weeks after that they took out the lump.  When they took the first lump out, they hadn’t realized that the cancer had traveled to her lymph nodes.  As a precautionary measure, they took both her breasts. At this time, we were all so hopeful. My Mom knew how much I wanted to be a CPA and fought with me to continue. 

In February 2013, I purchased a CPA Review course.

I look back now and wish I had waited. I signed up for all four parts, determined to study hard and pass. I wanted to finish everything quickly so that I could spend more time with her. Then as a total surprise, June 2013, I found out I was pregnant again.

Once again, I became sick and tried to take the test despite being ill.  When I was nine weeks pregnant with my son, I almost lost him. In fact, I was told I should have.  Between my Mom taking chemo, and almost losing my son, my heart was elsewhere. 

That review course didn’t work well for me even though I had heard it worked well for others.

I was disenchanted with it after I failed all four parts, and sought something else. I work as a staff accountant at an office that primarily does tax returns, and I went to a couple of IRS seminars in New Orleans for education. There I met a representative from another CPA Review course. I knew this one in particular had worked well for my EA friends, and I thought I would try it out. It was like reading an encyclopedia. I’m sure that that is how some people learn and retain information, but it was simply information overkill for me.

Once again, I failed each part that I signed up for. 

My mother took a turn for the worse in early 2014, and I simply stopped studying.

I made some half-attempts at it, but I spent most of 2014 worried for her. On April 11th 2015, my mother went to be with God. That was the single most difficult experience of my life. To put it simply, I was broken. 

My family started to encourage me to once again try for the CPA.

I found myself researching in June of 2015 for a good study program. I wasn’t too serious about starting yet, but I figured it was something to focus on. I went to CPA blogs and forums looking for inspiration.

Roger CPA Review kept popping up, so I went to the website and watched a couple of videos. I wish I could express to you how good it felt to laugh. After my mom passed, I was so unhappy about everything, and all I can remember was watching his videos and laughing. 

With Roger CPA Review, I passed AUD and BEC the first time.

I scored a 73 on FAR, then passed the second time. With REG, I scored a 74 and then passed the second time as well. Roger was like a personal mascot. Even though I scored a 73 and a 74, I knew I would pass the second time around.  Let me tell you that being that close to passing is insanely irritating; but I knew I was just that much closer.  

If I have anything to say to someone who is struggling to pass these tests it would be this: “Yes, you can, and will pass. Don’t listen to that voice that says to give up, and remember you are not alone.”

My recommendation on how to use the Roger CPA Review course would be to watch the videos more than once, do the questions more than once, and don’t just kinda know it– know it. He lines it all up for you; just follow his advice, and you will pass. 

I would lastly like to thank Mr. Roger Philipp and his team. I could not have completed this journey without you all. Thank you. 

–Elizabeth Johnson 

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