Taking The CPA Exam Years After College

When I was working as an auditor, I was amazed at how many of my superiors were still trying to pass the CPA exam. As life goes on, it can seem harder and harder to get involved with studying. Relationships, kids, and the fact that it’s been quite some time since you’ve been in the classroom may be what’s holding you back from getting your CPA license.

But there’s a Chinese proverb that resonates deeply with me about most things in life, and I believe it holds true for the CPA exam: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

cpa exam years after college

Even if you’re nervous about taking the CPA exam years after college, the best time to start delving into it is today.

Think Positive

I can imagine your brain is swimming with the negatives of taking the CPA exam. It’s going to be a lot of study time that you’re going to have to fit in your already busy life, and it’s going to be a lot of money. But hundreds of people have done it before, so why not you?

Start really working on keeping a positive outlook on the exam. The big reason people don’t pass is because negative thoughts get to them and they give up. The people who succeed are the people who stick with it. Find a way to keep those negative thoughts out and focus on the positives.

Find What Motivates You

Whether you’re taking the CPA exam years after college or right after college, you’re going to need some serious motivation. What are the foreseeable benefits of you getting your CPA license? I want you to think big picture here and then get into the gritty details.

Maybe you’ll get a pay raise, which is obviously a positive. But what will that pay raise do for you? Will it allow you to live a better lifestyle? Will you be able to start putting money away for your daughter’s college fund? Will you be able to take that trip with your husband that you’ve always wanted? Think about what this CPA license will do for you and write it down. Get excited about those prospects and let that be your drive to study for and take the exam.

Make A Schedule (And Stick To It)

This advice is the same for anyone trying to pass the exam. You have, have, HAVE to have a schedule. It’s a non-negotiable.

Pencil in as much time as you can in a day to study. Maybe you show up to work 45 minutes early and study then, or maybe you go to your local coffee shop for three hours every day. Just make sure you have a schedule that works for you and stick to it.

Develop A Support System

One of the worst things about taking the exam years after college is you have other obligations. Make a point of letting anyone you have a close relationship with know how important passing the exam is to you, and the positives it will produce. Let them know you need support while you study and take the exams, and explain to them how important their support is to you.

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Load Of Information

I think what scares people the most about taking the CPA exam years after college is they will have forgotten everything they learned in college. Let’s debunk that right now. If you get the right study materials, they will have everything you need to know.

You’re probably still working in accounting (you should be if you’re looking to take the CPA exam), so you’ll obviously know the basics. The study material will get you the rest of the way there. So don’t sweat the fact that you haven’t taken a class in years. You’ll be fine!

Keep all this advice in mind as you study for the exam, and you’ll be sure to crush it. Good luck my CPA friends!

By the way, sign up for our 1 Week Free Trial to try out Magoosh GMAT Prep!

No comments yet.


Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

Leave a Reply