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Did You Blow Off the CPA Exam to Have an Epic Summer? Here’s How to Start Your New Job and Study Smart

If you have a CPA exam question for me or (even better), our audience as a whole using me as a pawn in your game to get better information, please get in touch. I’ll try to Google any answers I don’t know and will not berate you for your choices. Unless your choices are stupid.

Hi Adrienne,

I appreciate you offering to give CPA advice to readers of GC.

I am starting with GT next week, but due to summer school, summer work, and an awesome trip to Europe I opted to not even look at CPA exam material until now. I went against better advice saying I should study with the free time I had, and instead opted to genuinely enjoy my last Summer before life officially ends.

With that in mind, what is my best strategy for completing the exam while working? I have already submitted paperwork and been approved to sit for the exam, I just need to figure out timing and how best to study while working full time. (alas, I have also acquired the famed Becker course materials). Should I aim for one exam prior to busy season starting?

Once again, thanks for any advice you can give.

PS – I forgot to mention, I live/work in CA and have 150 units earned, so as much as I want/need to finish this soon, I do not need to worry about not qualifying for the exam once changes come into effect over the next 2 years.

Now normally you might expect me to talk shit about this guy for running off to Europe instead of burying his head in a CPA review book but in fact I’m thrilled that he got it out of his system. The difference here is that this guy admits he screwed off a summer and seems to have gotten something good out of it – something a lot of you miserable assholes really need. There’s nothing wrong with taking this path as part of your CPA exam strategy, but like this guy, you have to be realistic about the world you face post-finding-yourself-excursion.

Can you study for the CPA exam while you’re working? The answer to that question is obvious and I don’t need to waste my time answering it. Almost everyone you’ll talk to at your firm has probably done it (and if they tell you they got 90s on the CPA exam, they’re lying, no one actually comes out with a number like that), and we’ve done numerous posts on it.

Anyway, GT is going to give him $5k if he passes the exam within a year of his start date, which obviously means it is important to get applications done early. If you are in a position like this guy and want to go to Europe, apply for the exam as soon you meet the educational requirements and then bail. By the time you come back, you’ll be approved and can start studying. Some states have restrictions on how long you can let your application sit without needing to reapply, so don’t go to Europe for a year and blow the whole thing off.

This particular future candidate hates taxes so I recommend he do REG first (sorry, you seem nice but I don’t want to lie to you), then whichever he thinks will be “easiest” for him, which in his case is FAR as he seems to get a sick thrill out of intermediate financial accounting. This way, if he passes the hard one, his 18 months starts with the worst and it’s all “easier” from there. If he doesn’t, he’ll probably pass the second, which will give him a confidence boost. If he fails REG, he should study his ass off and retake it as soon as possible. If he doesn’t, he’ll likely find a way to knock out AUD and BEC in one window, be done, collect his $5,000, get his 2 years in his mid-tier firm and GTFO. Or maybe get poached by Big 4 within 9 months.

Keep in touch and let us know how it goes. And enjoy those European vacation pics, it’s going to be your last good one for awhile.