After taking the exams and while waiting for the release scores, you might say “I think I failed my CPA exam” and might wonder what should be your next steps.
Table of Contents
- 00:00 I Think I Failed My CPA Exam, Now What?
- 00:28 What to Do Between Taking an Exam and Before You Get Your Score
- 00:49 Schedule Your Exam Towards the End of the Testing Window
- 04:53 Small Tweaks that Make Huge Differences
- 06:39 Do a Daily Set of Multiple Choice Questions from All Topics
- 07:04 Mini Sessions, A.K.A Studying From Your Phone
- 08:58 Recap
I Think I Failed My CPA Exam: Video Transcript
In this video, we’re going to cover what to do in that time between taking an exam and before you get your score and not knowing what you should do, whether you should move on to a new section or keep studying for that section in case you failed, and what should that studying look like to keep up on all the stuff that you spent so much time trying to learn.
Again, as you can probably guess this is a question that I get asked all the time.
What to Do Between Taking an Exam and Before You Get Your Score
So in this video, I’m going to give you the scenario or the thing that you should definitely not do in this scenario, and then I’m going to give you two study strategies that are very effective, and very efficient at helping you keep up and maintain, or even improve your understanding on the section that you just took, that you haven’t got your score yet for.
Schedule Your Exam Towards the End of the Testing Window
But before we get into that, first I want to point out a very helpful tip that can help you really minimize the question based around this scenario. And that is to schedule your exam close to the end of the testing window for your given score release date, so that the time between you taking the exam and receiving your score is as short as possible.
So if you go to the AICPA’s website, you can find the CPA score release calendar and it’s organized in a table of, if you take your exam on or before this date, then your target score release date is this date. So you have a testing window, and then based on that testing window, this is the date that you’re going to get your score.
So the idea is simply to take your exam if it’s possible as close to the end of that testing window as you can, so that the time between the day that you take the exam and the day that you get your score is as short as possible. All right, so you’ve taken an exam and after leaving the testing center, you could have one of three feelings.
Number one is you absolutely crushed that exam. You would bet money that you’ve got a passing score. So in that case, you can just safely move on to the next section. The next two feelings you might have after taking an exam is where the scenario comes into play. The middle one would be, you really have no clue.
It could have gone either way. You feel like you knew most of the questions, you did pretty good on the simulations as far as you can tell, but you still might get a 74 or, you know, low 70s. You’re really not sure if you passed or not. And then the third scenario or feeling you might have is that you most definitely failed the exam.
So either of these two scenarios, you’re not really sure or you definitely failed. That is where the scenario comes into play of: what should I do in between the time that I took the exam and when I get my score? So what you should definitely not do, but people do this all the time, is completely move on to a new exam or a new section.
So think about this, if you’ve spent six to eight weeks, or maybe even up to 12 weeks studying for that section that you just took, and then you just move on to the next section regardless of whether you failed it or not. If you do completely move on to a new section, and you do find out that you failed this previous section that you studied 8 to 12 weeks for, if you then take another 8 to 12 weeks on this next section, meaning you’re leaving this stuff behind for an entire two to three months, your understanding or your retention of this exam is pretty much going to go back down to zero.
So when you do come back to it, you’re starting from the beginning. That doesn’t make any sense because you’ve already spent 8 to 12 weeks working on this section. The other thing is that is a very key point, there’s two parts to this, is that if you do find out that you got a failing score on this, then that means that your process isn’t effective enough to get you a passing score, so it doesn’t really make any sense to move on and do that same thing, make those same mistakes, or whatever was missing from your study process, it really doesn’t make any sense to move on and spend another 6 to 12 weeks on a brand new section, when again, if you’ve got a failing score that indicates that your study process isn’t exactly bulletproof, right?
So on the other hand, it makes a lot more sense to stick with this section and restudy until you can get a passing score, because then you have a very good idea of what you changed or you’re, you’re trying to get to a point where you’re getting a passing score so that you know that you have a study process that at least can produce a passing score on this first section.
So once you’ve done that, and you’ve got a passing score, then you can be at least relatively confident that as long as you apply that process to the next sections, you’ll be able to get three more passing scores.
Small Tweaks that Make Huge Differences
So the idea is that you want to stick with the same section and you want to keep tweaking your study process.
I always talk about making these small tweaks that make huge differences. So the idea is that if you get a failing score, you want to step back, think about your study process. What did you spend the most time doing day to day? And try to evaluate which parts of that were you spending a lot of time on that didn’t really yield results, and what could you spend time on that might be more effective? You want to just keep reiterating or retweaking your study process until you can get a passing score on this first section, before you spend another 8 to 12 weeks on other sections when, you know, if you couldn’t get a passing score on this one, why would you spend another 8 to 12 weeks on the next sections?
Now, if you feel like you’re completely lost in the study process in general, as far as what to do when you sit down to study each day, make sure to sign up for one of our free study training webinars. You can do that at our main website at superfastcpa.com or if you’re watching this on YouTube, there should just be a link down in the description.
Okay. So the big question as far as the strategies, the actual study strategies. If you took a section and you have to wait two to four weeks before you get your score and you really have no clue if you passed or not or you are thinking that you probably failed, what should you do on a day-to-day basis to maintain that understanding or even keep improving on your understanding of the material?
Now, if you already have another exam scheduled, you can move on and fully implement the full study plan, which according to our strategies would be the main two hour study session in the morning, and then you do the mini sessions throughout the day with our study tools.
Do a Daily Set of Multiple Choice Questions from All Topics
So the one thing that you can do, this is probably the most effective thing to maintain your understanding and even improve your overall understanding of all the topics from the section you’re waiting for the score on, is to do at least one set of 30 multiple choice questions. That’s completely random from the entire section. You do that once a day. That should take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes.
Mini Sessions, A.K.A Studying From Your Phone
Now the other thing that you can do, or you could do this separately as the only strategy to try and maintain your understanding of this previous section, and that would be if you’re implementing the idea of mini sessions, meaning that you’re using our study tools on your phone all throughout your day. You’re listening to audio notes whenever you’re in your car, whenever you would normally look at your phone and scroll through social media for 5 or 10 minutes, you are instead taking quizzes on our app or reading a few pages in the review notes.
You’re doing those all throughout your day. The simple idea that I tell people all the time, is to simply cut your mini sessions in half, so maybe all mini sessions before lunch go towards this previous section that you’re waiting for the score on. And then all mini sessions after lunch throughout the rest of the day, they are all applied to the new section that you’ve moved on to.
Now, if you do get this score back and you find out that you failed it then it’s worth setting your retake up to two weeks within your next scheduled test date if you have a scheduled test date. If you don’t have a scheduled test date for the next section, then it’s even easier, you just make this retake your new next test date.
We’ve had a lot of clients that have taken this scenario and they’ve found out that they failed that section. They use our restudy method, which we have another video on, they use our restudy method for that section and they keep studying for the new section and they end up taking the two sections, the retake and the new section sometimes within a week of each other.
That’s not ideal but sometimes it just works out that way, or within two to three weeks of each other and that’s a lot more manageable than one week. I myself took my FAR retake and my first attempt at Audit four days apart. And I mean, I pass both of those. But again, that’s not the ideal way of doing it, of course.
So to recap, first of all, to minimize this problem, try to take your exam towards the end of the testing window so that the time between taking your exam and getting your score is as short as possible. That’s the best way to minimize this problem in general.
The second thing is you should stick to one section until you have passed it because again, there’s no point if you got a failing score, if your study methods led you to a failing score on this section that you spent 8 to 12 weeks on, it doesn’t make any sense to spend another 8 to 12 weeks on a new section, forget all this stuff that you spent 12 weeks on, even though you only got a failing score and then likely get a failing score on this next one, that’s 24 weeks, that’s half of the year that you’ve pretty much wasted.
And then if you do find yourself in this situation, the easiest way to maintain your same level of understanding or retention of this previous section you’re waiting on the score for, is to do one daily set of 30 multiple choice questions pulled from all topics.
And or you can either add this in or do this completely on its own, dedicate half your daily mini sessions to the previous section and half to the new section.
So I hope you found this video helpful. If you did, share this with somebody else who’s also working on their CPA exams. Our podcast specifically the interviews, we’re almost at a hundred interviews at this point with our previous clients who have cracked the code and passed their CPA exams.
Those interviews are the most helpful free resource available anywhere for somebody trying to figure out their own CPA study process. So share these videos, these interviews, or the podcast in general with somebody you know who’s also working on their CPA exams. Thank you for watching and we’ll see you on the next episode.