While I have not and will not ever sit for the CPA exam as we have already discussed ad nauseum, I still know a thing or two about how to get through it and – most importantly – how to buck the system. So if you have a CPA exam question, please get in touch. I haven’t missed an answer yet, must be doing something right.

Today’s question comes from an ambitious future CPA exam candidate interested in getting this nonsense over with as quickly as possible so he can move on with his life and pursue his dreams of a fantastic life in public accounting. I love candidates like this, they breeze right through the exam and leave it beaten and battered they run off to make tons of money.

Hi Adrienne,

I’m e-mailing in response to something you mentioned in a post you made last November about a CPA exam sign up short cut that involved “fake” applying to sign up for the exam before eligibility so that when you re-apply it goes through much quicker. My situation is I’m a dual degree major, I get my 150 credits this coming May, graduation date of 5/21/2012. I have a full-time big four job lined up and want to get the whole thing out of the way before I start in Sep/Oct, as I’ve heard I have a snowballs chance in hell of getting it done while working. While my state (Virginia) allows you to sit with 120 (which I have) you have to have an official bachelors degree, which they don’t give me until May. Since my spring semester is going to be very light, I was hoping to try your little trick and see if I can study during the spring and sign up really quickly in May and get one part out of the way. There would be 9 days left in May after I’m official. Is this doable? Or just dumb? Worst case scenario I just don’t have a summer and take all four in one period. Thanks.


CPA Scheduler

The trick to which this candidate refers involves applying for the CPA exam before you are actually eligible in order to cut down on processing time when you do actually qualify. A re-application only takes a week or two (not including the time it takes to get your payment coupon and NTS), so you can start scheduling exams much sooner than you’d be able to if you waited to apply after you got your degree and met the other requirements. To my knowledge, this works in California for sure and the board will even tell you to do it if you talk to the right person. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in other jurisdictions as well, and if anyone in another state has done this, please let us know.

Anyway, even if this candidate does that, there’s no way he’s going to be able to get in two parts before the close of the April/May window.

The other option here would be to apply in a different state that doesn’t require a bachelors. Off the top of my head, I can’t name one but NASBA’s Accountancy Licensing Library should be able to help. Sit for the exam in that state, then just transfer either your exam scores or license over after the fact. It’s easier to transfer a license than scores but in order to be licensed in the state you applied to that isn’t your own, you’ll probably have to meet that state’s experience requirements, which might require experience under a licensed CPA in that state. Contact any state boards you are looking at and your own for more info straight from the source on how transferring works.

Long story short, even if you can only manage to get two – three parts done over the summer before you start work, you’ll be in great shape. Just the fact that you’re thinking about these things now tells me you will do just fine and will figure out where to make time to study even after you’re working. I wouldn’t recommend trying to knock out all 4 in one testing window, mostly because you don’t actually have to do that. If you think you’re up for it then by all means knock yourself out but there’s no reason to put yourself through that if you don’t have to.

Let us know how it goes and good luck! You’re one I won’t be worried about at all.