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5 Challenges of Earning your CPA License

Becoming a CPA can be a great career option for anyone that is interested in the field of accounting. While becoming a certified public accountant can be a great career path, passing the exam can be very challenging. For those that are interested in taking the exam, there are five challenges in particular that all applicants need to be aware of.

Resource: Top 10 Online Accounting Degree Programs

No Formal Preparation

One of the biggest challenges that CPA exam takers have is not receiving the proper formal preparation. The exam to become a certified public accountant is different than anything that the test taker has done in the past. Even if you excelled in all of your accounting courses, there will be topics covered that you will find challenging. To ensure that you are prepared, it would be wise to take advantage of a formal preparation course. These will teach you all of the tricks and skills necessary to succeed on the exam.

Not Enough Time to Prepare

When you are looking to become a certified public accountant, another common challenge is not leaving enough time to prepare. Your chance of success is largely dependent on how much time you have spent preparing. Ideally, you should be spending a little bit of time each day preparing for the exam, for at least a few months prior to the test date. This will ensure that you are prepared for the test when the date arrives. Furthermore, long-term preparation will also help to ensure that you are not forced to delay or repeat the exam, which could save you money.

Poor Time Management During Exam

Another challenge that people have when taking the exam is figuring out how to budget their time. When taking the exam, you will only have a certain amount of time to complete all sections of the exam. This can include written, multiple choice, and other parts of the test. To ensure you have enough time, experts suggest that you spend no more than 1.5 minutes on a multiple choice question. This will provide more time for other sections of the exam, which can be more challenging and time consuming.

Unusual Testing Environment

Another unusual challenge that test takers face is the different testing environment. When taking the exam, the entire test will be completed on a computer in a lab setting. While most test takers have a lot of experience with computers, the test setting is much different than the environment that people had in college. To ensure that you are ready for the testing environment, it would be wise to take advantage of the electronic sample tests provided to you. These use a similar interface as the actual exam, which could make you more comfortable with the system.


By far, the most significant issue that test takers face is the stress that comes along with the exam. While it is impossible to eliminate all stress, you should take steps to ensure you are in the right frame of mind prior to the test. This should include eating well for several days prior to the test, getting plenty of sleep the night before the exam, and taking a few moments to breathe if you find yourself stuck on a question during the exam.

In conclusion, those that are looking to pass the CPA exam will find that there are a lot of challenges that need to be overcome. There are five challenging items in particular that all people need to be aware of prior to taking the exam.