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Passing the CPA Exam: Tips from Grace College Accounting Graduates

As the top-ranking small college for passing the CPA exam in Indiana, Grace College is the place to prepare. Learn how to pass the CPA exam.

At Grace College, earning an accounting degree means receiving a high-quality education from professors who are passionate about the subject matter and the students. We pride ourselves on preparing our students for a career and giving them every tool possible to excel in their field. And for an accounting major, one of the most important steps in his or her career is passing the CPA exam. 

You may be asking, why does the CPA exam matter? Passing the CPA exam is the best gateway into the accounting field. It will give you a wide range of career options, including jobs with accounting firms in the public sector, the private sector, and the government sector. Passing the CPA exam proves your professional competence and your depth of knowledge in the field. After all, accountants play a vital role in the life of a company. You’ll be entrusted to review a company’s financial statements and be the keeper of the accounting “playbook.”

We asked some of our successful accounting graduates to give their advice about how to pass the CPA exam. 


1. Understand the theory, don’t just memorize the answers.

There is no winging it; you won’t pass the CPA exam by putting in half effort, so put in the work. Specifically, study the areas of the exam that you do not want to see a question from. Grace and Dr. Stichter did a great job of teaching me how I studied best and giving me a very solid base to launch my critical thinking. Dr. Stichter invests so much into his students and the investment he made into me as a person means much more than any degree or title I’ve earned. He’s the best teacher in the game.

As the top-ranking small college for passing the CPA exam in Indiana, Grace College is the place to prepare. Learn how to pass the CPA exam.

Camden Gongwer

Auditor at Crowe LLP 

Gongwer graduated from Grace in 2020 with an accounting degree and MBA.

2. Create a plan based on your goals.

My goal was to pass all four exams from the time I graduated (May) to the date I started my full-time job in November. When I mapped out my time from May to November, I realized I needed to average about 25 hours per week of studying which gave me the freedom to get a part-time job. My time at Grace was super helpful, especially taking the accounting courses with Dr. Stichter. He made the class challenging to match the difficulty of the CPA exam, which I believe was one of my keys to success.

As the top-ranking small college for passing the CPA exam in Indiana, Grace College is the place to prepare. Learn how to pass the CPA exam.

David Anderson

Audit Associate at RMS

Anderson graduated in May 2020 with a BA in accounting.

3. Put the time in.

I personally recommend taking the summer off and studying for the exams full time, if you can afford to do so. There are simply not enough hours in the day if you’re working full time while trying to study. The content on the CPA exam is generally beyond the scope of most accounting curriculum, so it is important for prospects to realize that they have to be mentally prepared to learn entire textbooks of information. I feel that Dr. Stichter did a great job of preparing us for passing the CPA exam by helping us develop our studying skills in our Intermediate and Advanced Accounting courses. I also feel like the MBA courses did a great job of diving further in-depth on some topics that I found on the CPA exams.

As the top-ranking small college for passing the CPA exam in Indiana, Grace College is the place to prepare. Learn how to pass the CPA exam.

Korey Jentes

Federal Income Tax Staff at Crowe LLP

Jentes graduated in 2021 with an undergrad in accounting and an MBA.

4. Know how you learn best.

When you are studying, you need to have strong willpower to persevere when working through difficult concepts and good study habits to learn effectively. Because your CPA exam studying will be largely self-directed, try to learn now what works best for you. This may be through reading, watching videos, flashcards, or studying in a group. Not the same things work for everyone, so try to make your study time as efficient as possible! Take ownership of your learning, and it will definitely aid in passing the CPA exam.

As the top-ranking small college for passing the CPA exam in Indiana, Grace College is the place to prepare. Learn how to pass the CPA exam.

Bethany Okupski

Audit Associate at BKD

Okupski graduated May 2020 with a BA in accounting and Summer 2020 with an MBA.

5. Take the practice exams.

The practice exams offered at the end of the study materials are very similar to the actual exam. The questions in the practice tests are usually the most important questions….so taking those practice exams multiple times is smart.

As the top-ranking small college for passing the CPA exam in Indiana, Grace College is the place to prepare. Learn how to pass the CPA exam.

Grant Lawrence

Assurance Staff at Ernst & Young

Lawrence graduated in May of 2021 with a BS in accounting and an MBA.

6. Set a study schedule and stick to it. 

The exam is all about perseverance and dedication to studying for it. It’s not necessarily a technical skill exam. Probably about 90% of what’s on the exam, you’ll never use in your day-to-day work. It’s about the process of learning how to sit down for it. You just have to do it. Figure out what works for you, and say no to other things when you have to. Personally, I studied for two hours after my full workday Monday-Friday, four hours Saturday, and I gave myself Sunday off. 

As the top-ranking small college for passing the CPA exam in Indiana, Grace College is the place to prepare. Learn how to pass the CPA exam.

Tammara Williamson

Partner at Capin Crouse 

Williamson graduated with a degree in accounting in 2010. Her graduating class at Grace was recognized for being in the top 10 schools in the nation for CPA first-time pass rates.

7. Communicate your study schedule to those closest to you.

This helps your support group be aware of your plan and helps foster understanding when you are busier than usual. Studying for the exam is difficult, but with the right amount of time dedication, I know you can do it!

As the top-ranking small college for passing the CPA exam in Indiana, Grace College is the place to prepare. Learn how to pass the CPA exam.

Caleb Yoder

Senior Associate at Dulin, Ward & DeWald, Inc. (DWD)

Yoder graduated in May 2018 with a BS in Accounting.

As the top-ranking small program college for passing the CPA exam in Indiana, Grace College is the place to prepare for a career of excellence. Click here to learn more about our high pass rates.

 

If you’re ready to join a successful program that will give you a solid foundation and tips for passing the CPA exam, click here to fill out our Lancer application!

Tagged With: Academics, School of Business, Accounting, Alumni