Before the exam-
The CPA exams were always part of my plans, but actually being eligible to sit for the CPA exam is a process in and of itself. There are a lot of very specific educational requirements, and additionally you are required to have an additional 30 credits of upper level course work beyond your Bachelors degree in order to receive a license. People usually get this 1 of 2 ways, either they get a Masters in Accounting, or they went to school for something else and then decided to study accounting (me), so they had other upper level credits to count. Being 4 credits short of the requirements to take the exams I landed an internship at a public firm during Busy Season 2011. I had a great experience at the firm. Loved the piles of work and the overall business. Didn’t like Partner’s breathing down my neck, and hated the fact that I only saw my 2 kids a handful of hours each WEEK, but I digress.
Applying is a 6-8 week process. I actually submitted my application in March of 2011, I finally got the “you’ve been approved by your State Board” validation the last week of April 2011. About a week later, the first week of May, I received my Notice To Schedule (NTS). You take the NTS and you go online to the Prometric website, and actually schedule the date and time you want to take your exam. Prometric is a testing center and it’s where you go to take a majority of professional exams. If you’ve taken any professional exams you’re probably familiar with Prometric.
You can only take exams during ‘testing windows.’ Two months on, 1 month off is the rotation. My original plan was to take AUD at the very end of May, since June is a non-testing month, but by the time I received my NTS, and went online to schedule, the only seats available were early in May, and there was no way I would be ready for that, so the next available time was July. My birthday is July 4th, so ideally I wanted to take the exam before that, because I wanted to actually ENJOY my birthday. Turns out however, that everyone had the same idea. The 4th was a Monday, and when I was looking at open seats for July, the 1st and 2nd were already full and they were closed Sunday the 3rd. I scheduled AUD (Auditing and Attestation) for Wednesday July 6th.
I had no idea what I was about to get myself into. If I know now, what I knew then would I have done this again? Maybe. This was step one of a seriously LONG journey. Word to the wise: The CPA Exam is a Marathon (Ultra-Marathon??), not a sprint.
I just teared up writing this. Yet again, waves of relief are passing over me. It's unreal (this is in fact my first weekend I don't have to think about studying or wonder if I passed)
Next up...Exam #1...AUD