CPA Exam Tips

Prepare to pass the CPA exam

Make a schedule
Decide on the best of time of year to take the CPA exam based on your work schedule and then set up a study schedule.

Most CPA exam passers tell us that the earlier you take the exam after graduating from college the better. Your work schedule will only get more demanding, and you will still have good test taking skills from school. Put those strong study and test taking skills to work when they're at their best. Apply and sit for the exam as soon after graduation as possible.

Talk it over with your supervisor
Inform your supervisor of your plans to take the CPA exam and get his or her feedback. Check into your employer's policy for exam expense reimbursement. Some employers will pay for CPA review courses and exam fees. Others will offer a bonus upon passing the exam.

Remember that having the CPA credential stays with you no matter where you work, so if your employer isn't supportive, don't give up. The CPA credential is your ticket to career advancement.

Select a CPA review course
Most MNCPA members say that taking an exam review course was the key to passing the CPA exam. Learn more about  selecting a CPA review course.

For more information see our list of exam review course vendors. Some offer MNCPA group discounts (membership not required).

CPA exam basics

  • The CPA exam is broken down into multiple-choice testlets and simulations (case studies). The multiple-choice testlets must be completed before you can move on to the simulation. Learn more about the CPA exam format.
  • You can review questions during a testlet or simulation. However, you are unable to go back and review once you have exited that testlet/simulation.
  • The word processor and spreadsheet applications are not Microsoft products, so review the tutorial to familiarize yourself with them.
  • You can only copy and paste one paragraph at a time, no more, no less.
  • The search feature is standard; however, you must scroll down to all relevant topics.
  • You must spell the word you are searching for correctly.
  • There is no Back button. The History button allows you to find the last page visited (up to 20 of the last pages).
  • You can enter numbers on the online calculator either on the keyboard or the keypad with the NumLock feature on.

Scheduling considerations for the CPA exam

  • Scheduling your exam for the first time takes 6 to 8 weeks to process. Scheduling a subsequent test takes only about 1 week.
  • If you schedule a re-test prior to learning the results of your exam and cancel upon learning you've passed, your money will NOT be refunded.

This information is from the Uniform CPA Examination website.

Resources for students

Accounting Employer & Internship Directory
Ace your interview! Research potential employers with our searchable guide.

CPA Exam and Certification Video Series
Taking the CPA exam and becoming certified can be intimidating. Check out our online video series about CPA exam and certification in Minnesota to eliminate unknowns and get you ready to take the first step to becoming a CPA.

Facts About the CPA Exam and Certification brochure
Want a handy reference guide for all things CPA? Download this free MNCPA brochure detailing the steps to taking the CPA exam and becoming certified in Minnesota.