Study Buddies

Desperately Seeking a CPA Exam Study Buddy?

Contributor note: with busy season winding down and such awful CPA exam performance the first quarter of this year, we suspect many of you are thrilled to cuddle up with Peter Olinto and dust the cobwebs off your CPA review books. That being the case, though you might still be mad at us from last quarter, we invite you to send in your CPA exam questions so we can do our best to answer in a way that offends the fewest candidates possible.

Being an accountant already isolates you from a large number of non-accountant people, most of whom automatically assume you do taxes for a living and will never understand why it’s funny to claim Ex-lax as “moving expenses.” Taking on the CPA exam naturally isolates you further; from your significant other, who doesn’t get why you never seem to have time for them anymore, from your friends who are still trying to get you to do their taxes and from your higher-ups who seem determined to tell you for the 40th time how much harder the CPA exam was back in their day.


Seeking a CPA exam study buddy doesn’t need to feel like having to find a partner in middle school gym class and it doesn’t matter where you are, you can find one. Here are a few tips:

Try CPAnet – You can find an entire section of the forum dedicated to study groups, ranging from Phoenix to Seattle to Dubai. Don’t see your city listed? Register for the forum and post your own.

Get on Twitter – Try the #twudygroup hashtag on Twitter to chat with other CPA exam candidates, bitch about how your review courses have let you down and talk about how messed up it is when asshole bloggers call you out on their websites. Speaking of, we’d like to send a very personal congratulations to former #twudygroup member @CStrunk for passing the CPA exam, proof that alcohol and computer cleaning in lieu of studying can help, if you’re willing to put in the work when you’re sober. Congratulations, Chris, we knew you had it in you otherwise we’d have never called you out in the first place.

Ask around your office – Unless you are in a two-man office in which one of you is the accountant and the other one the boss, someone in your office is also studying for the CPA exam. You can do a quick cube check to determine who might be studying but if you’re too shy to ask, just look for the sleep-deprived look in their eye, MCQ on their computer screen during lunch or the “kill me now” sign taped on their wall the day scores come out. Just make sure to pick someone you actually like, sharing the next year and a half with someone you can’t stand can only lead to conflict and/or increased diversity training later down the road.

Three Signs That You Need a CPA Exam Study Buddy

Remember in elementary school when you used to have to partner up – or better yet form a chain – for safety while crossing streets on field trips or when returning back to the classroom? The CPA exam can sometimes be like that treacherous stretch and it’s totally OK to reach out and grab someone’s hand. Here are some telltale signs you need to phone a friend:


You’ve failed two of your last exam attempts and have studied at least 50% less than you should have because you just couldn’t get motivated to do it
If this is you, find someone who is really excited about the exam to study with. Believe it or not, there are some truly enthusiastic, motivated, excited candidates who are really into this thing. If you cannot locate one of those (using CPAnet or similar forums), settle for someone who will at least nag you enough to get you to study.

You spend too much time at work and not enough studying
Again, like our first case, you make excuses for not studying. Yours is just work (whatever it takes to get you out of it, right?) and though you know people at work that are taking the exam, you are too worn down at the end of the day to crack open a book. Find someone at your firm to study with and do MCQ at lunch. If you get one. Please, it’s not that bad.

You’re over 40, haven’t been in college in years, and none of your friends are accountants but you’ve decided to put in the effort to finally get the CPA you started pursuing years ago
It may feel like you’re on your own with this one but you have a larger incentive for seeking support than other candidates who are fresh out of school; none of your friends are taking this thing. Again, CPAnet is a good place to start if you are looking to find someone to study with or a group.

Adrienne Gonzalez is the founder of Jr. Deputy Accountant, a former CPA wrangler and a Going Concern contributor . You can see more of her posts here and all posts on the CPA Exam here.