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Four Time FAR Failure Finally Pulls Off a Victory to Live Happily Ever After

It's score release time and many of you know what that means… either discreet squeals of joy from the safety of your cubicle or incredibly depressing "happy" hours with your fellow loser friends to whine about how much the CPA exam sucks. Wherever you are on the spectrum, I think most of you can appreciate the following story.

It starts with the following post on the CPAnet forums in August of 2010:

There’s something very screwy with the CPA exam.  I took my 4th FAR retake yesterday. I don’t know what to say. This test is beyond ridiculous. They keep changing stuff around.

I got a 73 on my last attempt. I retook the test just to get those 2 points, but I'm quite certain I got below a 60 this time. I was THAT lost. I was guessing my way through the exam. What happened, you say? The exam is screwy this time, that's what. The questions were extremely odd this time compared to the last few times I took the test. It's hard to describe. But one things for certain, this is my last FAR attempt. This is not worth it. No CPA has taken a part more than 4 times to pass. I'm just not cut out for this anymore.

Now, looking at this poster's signature, we get FAR scores of 52,66,73 and 61. OUCH. Which of those four do you think felt the worst? The first 52 probably sucked but everyone knows FAR blows, so that probably didn't hurt nearly as bad as that 61 after the 73. Hell, the 73 was probably the worst of them all given how close this candidate was. At least a 61 is a blatant blow, a 73 is more offensive, as if the AICPA examiners are trying to say you are almost smart enough to do this but just not quite there, unlike a 61 which says you might do better in a completely different field such as investment banking or burger flipping.

ANYWAY. OP then goes back and forth with multiple CPAnet forum users who relay their own feelings on the matter, most notably a poster who insists that it's worth sticking it out if OP truly wants to be a CPA who wrote, "If your performance on this test is not what you expected, don't get discouraged, and don't give up. That's the worst thing you can do." This part is true; I'd often tell my CPA review students a story about one student of ours who decided at 50 that he was going to meet the goal he set for himself 30 years before (passing the CPA exam) that he dropped along the way after being beaten to a pulp by disappointment and adversity. That guy spent his entire working life wondering "what if" and finally ended up realizing his dream just in time to retire. What's the point?

Alright, so OP comes back in January of 2011 and writes about deciding to come back to the CPA exam after a hiatus and the insight taking a break offered:


I posted on several threads here lately and I’ve announced that I’m back and ready to tackle this exam again. I failed FAR 4 times but that was my own fault. I didn’t take it seriously. I didn’t study the right way. It was not because I didn’t study enough. Believe me, I put in plenty of hours. It is HOW I study. After giving up and thinking this through for about 4 months, I’ve decided that becoming a CPA is something I want to be. Those three letters after my name will ensure that I will always have a job and will become successful in life. And that’s enough to make me want to pass very badly.

During my 4-month hiatus, I taken up a hobby on ballroom dancing and really love it. But as soon as the New Year hit me, I decided that I needed to do something with my life. So, I was like, why not give the CPA exam another shot and give it ALL I’ve got?? Then I was like, how will I do that and continue on with my hobby? Because after all, going to ballroom dance lessons and socials takes a chunk of time every week, especially if one wants to get good at it. But I’ve just decided this morning that the answer is really simple….give up my hobby for now. If it means giving it up forever because accounting will take over my life, then so be it. My success in life will make me proud to work hard in accounting until the day I retire. It breaks my heart to give up a hobby that I really love, but I need to think of my future and my career. Passing the CPA exam will get me MUCH further in life than any fun hobby I choose to do.

We'll leave the ballroom dancing alone as we all have our hobbies and it isn't for us to judge what people do with their free time, amirite?

So. Five pages later, let's fast forward to yesterday, March 8, when the OP posts the following:

Hey everyone! Just want to say that I just passed my last part and am FINALLY done!! Looking at this thread that I started in Aug 2010, it's hard to believe I actually made it. If I can do this, anyone can. I know it's a cliché statement, but it's true!! Never give up! If you're really determined, you CAN do this!

Thank you all for your support.

What does this prove? Even the most hopeless CPA exam cases can pull it together and get it done. Hope that inspires some of you who are taking news you've received this week to mean you aren't cut out for this exciting life.