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The Ten Best CPA Exam Freakouts Of 2012

My esteemed (?) colleague has been having fun with slideshows since TPTB told us "go ahead and take it easy for the holidays, your loyal readership aren't at work anyway," now it's my turn.

This has been a pretty uneventful year in CPA exam world. Well, unless you count a pile-up in Audit exams we'll see reflected once Q4 2012 numbers are released thanks to "clarified" audit standards that will be tested no earlier than July 2013, a tiny little storm named Sandy that screwed things up for a lot of people, some Prometric drama as usual and the same old whining we get year after year.

Here are my favorite freakouts of 2012, ranked in order from least freakouttingest to OMG THE SKY IS FALLING WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE AND I HATE YOU ALL. Granted, these aren't all freakouts, exactly, and for at least one of them, what should have turned into a homicidal rampage was handled with unbelievable calm.

Let's dig in to the highlights of the year, eh?


#10: Breaking: That Confusing Simulation Question on the CPA Exam Is Meant to Be Confusing

For all the years I've been throwing around all the CPA exam knowledge stuffed into my brain, it never ceases to amaze me how paranoid candidates can be. As if the AICPA sits around trying to figure out ways to blow gaskets in your brains. This question that came into our advice box once again proved that if there's the slightest chance a candidate can maybe weasel their way out of admitting they just don't know the answer, they'll find it.


#9: One Candidate Would Prefer If Prometric Worked On Its Communication

Over the summer, the freakiest storm most of us have ever seen swept across the eastern half of the United States and apparently took a few Prometrics down as it cut power to millions and taught us the meaning of the word Derecho in weather terms (sorry, that's not on the exam). One CPA exam candidate was not pleased with the inconvenience. Very very not pleased.


#8: A Warning to CPA Exam Candidates Trying to Sit In States Other Than Their Own

I know when a rant hits my inbox jam-packed with ALL CAPS (especially when the ALL CAPS include phrases like "THESE PEOPLE ARE EVIL!"), it's a Class A freakout and this letter from a candidate former Pennsylvanian who moved to North Carolina and simply wanted to transfer scores was no exception.



#7: Too Bad Peter Olinto Can't Teach CPA Exam Candidates To Grow a Pair

As you all know, part of my job here is to lay the smack down on whiners when called for, especially when it's clear no one else in their life has ever grabbed them by the shoulders, shook them like a crying baby and yelled at them to wake up. That's the fun part of this whole thing, right? When this candidate wrote in crying about how his family wouldn't let him study, we all banded together to tell this guy to grow the fuck up. Group high five, y'all, nice work.


#6: CPA Candidate Discovers That Scheduling an Exam on the Last Day of Testing Window Is a Bad Idea

Procrastination goes with the CPA exam like inappropriate office romances go with public accounting. But scheduling your exam on the last day of the testing window can sometimes be a bad idea, especially when Prometric decides to have "technical issues" as they often do. "I CAN NOT fully express the feeling of anger that I currently experience towards Prometric test center for emailing me just around 8pm today (12hrs before my CPA exam at 8am), to inform me that they will be closed all day tomorrow 'due to technical Issues', so I cannot take the exam… SERIOUSLY!??!!?!?!?!??!?!!?!?!?!?" writes this candidate. "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! ON THE LAST DAY OF THE TESTING WINDOW!!!???? AFTER I SPENT THE WHOLE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND AND EVERY MINUTE OF MY TIME UP TO THIS POINT STUDYING?!?!??!?……………… SERIOUSLY?!??!!  This HAS to END!" Amen, brother, amen.



#5: How Prometric Nearly Gave One CPA Exam Candidate a Heart Attack For Nothing

Continuing with our theme of Prometric snafus and heartbreaks, for one candidate, Prometric basically guaranteed a lifelong fear of pop-up screens. Would any of YOU want to forfeit your exam? She didn't either.


#4: CPA Exam Horror Stories: Trapped at Prometric For 6 Hours

Our tipster writes: "I get to the new test center and they let me take my test early. After 20 minutes, I got the gray screen of death!!!! Apparently their system froze and they were on the phone with IT for 1.5 hours trying to solve the problem, but we ended up getting 2 choices: 1) wait for them to figure out the problem and troubleshoot the issue (approximate time- another 1 to 2 hours), or 2) Leave and reschedule, but you’ll lose whatever you did during the test. Since I started the exam already, I decided to wait. The grand total wait time……. 6 HOURS!!!!! We weren’t allowed to use our phones, leave the test center or leave to get food. If we needed to make a call, we had to use their phone and they watched you use the phone."

OH DEAR GOD. Did they at least let you use the restroom without a buddy?!

#3: Would Anyone Else Like To Freak Out About BEC Scores Taking So Long?

NOTE to candidates: READ the crap the AICPA puts out about the exam. It's there for a reason.


#2: Has Anyone Seen This CPA Exam Candidate's Missing FAR Scores?

Of all the freakouts this year and years previous, I have to say this is the single most horrifying story I've heard. It is amazing this dude didn't go shoot up a mall or something. In fact, he took it quite well and they went on to find his score. All's well that ends well, I guess, but you know as I well as I do that most of us would have gone apeshit over a mistake like this. Cool story, bro.



#1: Confirmed: It Sucks To Be The One Wake Forest Grad Who Failed BEC

And topping our list of freakouts, the one loser at Wake Forest who couldn't pass BEC in 2010. I didn't mean to make him feel bad by calling him out the first time but I definitely meant to make him feel like a piece of shit when he wrote me to complain that I hurt his feelings. It's a rough job but someone's got to do it.

On that note, I'm done. Happy New Year, kiddies, and we'll see you in 2013. Keep those freakouts coming, I'd be out of a job without you lovelies!