The enrolled agent exam 2010 testing period opens on May 1. Students must obtain a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) from the IRS before they can register with Prometric to take the enrolled agent exam. Both the PTIN and test registration can be done online. We strongly advise you not to schedule your enrolled agent exam dates all at once.
The IRS divides the enrolled agent exam into three separate parts, each containing 100 questions. The enrolled agent exam pass rate varies by exam part. The difficulty of each part depends on your experience; however, most people do the best on the Practices and Procedures exam while the business exam is often the most difficult. Each student must pass all three parts before registering with the IRS on form 23 to become an enrolled agent. The enrolled agent exam pass rate has increased each year since the format changes in 2006. This improvement is in part due to the amount of quality enrolled agent exam courses available today. You will have a tough time with this exam without the right amount of enrolled agent exam preparation.
A brief Q & A with Rain Hughes, co-founder of Fast Forward Academy, a leading provider of enrolled agent education.
Editor: How much time does it take to prepare for the enrolled agent exam?
Rain: Funny you should ask. I hear this almost daily. Regrettably, the answer is not easy because each individual has differing abilities. We recommend the average person study for at least 100 hours. Our enrolled agent exam prep course is designed to substantially reduce the time necessary to prepare.
Editor: I understand that a person has three and a half hours to complete each part of the enrolled agent exam. What is the best approach for time management on the test?
Rain: On average, a person has roughly 2 minutes each to answer all of the enrolled agent exam questions. If you can get your average time down to say 1 minute 30 seconds that should give you plenty of time to review your questionable answers at the end. I prefer the answer, mark and move strategy myself.
Editor: Could you explain what that is?
Rain: Sure. Students take the enrolled agent exam on a computer, which allows them to mark questions and later return to review them at the end. The exam score will depend on the number of questions answered correctly. Incorrect answers do not count against you any more than unanswered questions. Guessing on difficult questions will allow the test taker ample time to complete the enrolled agent exam questions they are most likely to answer correctly. A guess also has a 25% chance of being correct. Just don’t forget to review the marked questions at the end.
Editor: Can an experienced tax preparer or CPA rely on experience to pass the enrolled agent exam?
Rain: I’m sure there are some people that can pass without any enrolled agent exam preparation, but even the most veteran preparers can be humbled by the exam. Anyone considering taking the enrolled agent exam should first take an assessment to understand his or her probability of success. Our website at http://fastforwardacademy.com has free tools that help individuals understand their readiness before scheduling their enrolled agent exam dates.