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So You Failed the CPA Exam Before the Holidays, Now What?

While countless CPA exam candidates are likely still shaking off their celebration hangovers from yesterday, you're one of the lucky few who failed. Perhaps just barely, perhaps spectacularly. Whether it's a 60 or a 74, it blows (although, arguably, a 74 blows harder than a 60).

We've previously discussed what to do after you've failed the CPA exam, but this time of year is special. Why? Well duh, you're out of chances for the rest of the year.

Normally, when you fail, you should get right back on the horse. And in this particular case, the same is true but who wants to study through Thanksgiving and the late December holiday of your choice? It's bad enough you have to study at all, much less through the holidays. Why did you even have to fail at all? I bet it's a conspiracy on the part of the examiners to keep you down. Who do they think they are?!

Oh wait, no, never mind, this is entirely your fault. That's OK though, we're here to help you get through this.

Now, no one is suggesting you're lazy if you choose not to study through December. It's when December turns into June that you might have a bit of a motivation problem.

As we see it, you have three options. They are as follows.

Jump right back into studying and prepare to retake your failed section in January

Aren't you the busy little bee? Sure, it might mean skipping a holiday party or two but who goes to those things anyway? Screw blackout months, you're going all in and getting done with this thing once and for all. Good for you! Get a new NTS and schedule your retake as early as possible and pencil in more quality time with your favorite CPA review instructor. I'm sure some of you would prefer to have Thanksgiving dinner with Peter Olinto than your racist uncle anyway.

In fact, studying gives you an awesome out if you need to avoid nasty family members or pesky volunteer opportunities that always seem to pop up around the holidays. Screw that, you'll be kissing your CPA review book when the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2015.

Take it easy for the month of December and pledge to get cracking come January

Listen, you don't mind lingering around at senior level for the next several years or until they coach you out for failure to pass the exam, who cares! What's the rush? Take the entire month of December off if you want, you've earned it.

Unless you've got scores that are going to expire or some uptight partner breathing down your neck to get this thing done, take your sweet time. You'll have plenty of time to study after January 1st.

Pledge to study through December but really just make a bunch of excuses and not get anything done until February

A large majority of you will probably take this road. You likely have a heavily filtered photo of hand-written flash cards and empty Starbucks cups on your Instagram right now. You're going to study, you swear. But first you need to commiserate with all the other people on the Internet who failed the exam, and then you need to get in some pre-Thanksgiving dinner fights with family members on Facebook and next thing you know, it's December 31st and you haven't accomplished jack shit.

You are much better off choosing Option 2 and deciding not to study at all than you are pretending to study, making excuses for not being able to study, and then whining in January about how you have no time to study and aren't prepared to sit for the exam (which you probably put off for the end of February anyway). Just (wo)man up and admit you don't want to do it.

Whichever path you choose, hopefully the end result is the same. As previously mentioned, it really isn't the end of the world if you want to take it easy during the holidays. That is, unless you're in the "I'm going to get coached out if I don't get this stupid thing done" or "I'm going to fail previously passed sections because I've taken my sweet ass time" camps, in which case you should not be reading this article and should be studying instead. Otherwise, chill. Or don't, whatever. It's your life, not ours.