Before leaping into the CPA review course you selected, a few obstacles to obtaining a CPA license confront you that demand immediate attention. Tackle each of these first, so that study time has your full attention.
Firstly, you cannot obtain authorization to schedule a CPA exam until you have your college transcript. Many individuals begin CPA exam review based upon an assumption of when they can take an exam section. They are unaware that securing a Notice to Schedule after applying to a licensing jurisdiction is typically an eight to ten week waiting period. The larger problem is the time that transpires before you receive your transcript. Some schools take several weeks.
Beginning to study before having the NTS is fraught with potential setbacks. However, waiting to schedule a testing date until after starting CPA exam prep while holding an NTS is generally acceptable, especially when a student has considerable uncertainty about the number of weeks for study. Although weekend exam slots tend to fill quickly, scheduling a testing date a few weeks in advance is usually not a problem. But, you cannot schedule the day to sit for an exam without an NTS, which only arrives after sending your transcript to the licensing body.
A technique that a few college students use in their final semester has worked with some state licensing jurisdictions. They apply early despite lacking transcripts. After doing this, a student waits for the eight to ten week period and receives a rejection due to lacking a transcript. This is usually a few weeks into the summer, at which time the transcript arrives. The individual then forwards the transcript, waits about a week for approval, and then starts CPA exam study. By the end of summer, this person has already taken one exam section. This is worth a try by many people, but there’s no guaranty it will always work.
The NTS is crucial to planning an exam schedule. Taking the first exam on a tight timetable after graduation is unrealistic. The earliest you can expect the NTS is mid-summer following a spring graduation date. If you start a job in September, your employer realizes that you still have to pass CPA exam sections. Completing one part of the exam in August is a plus, but seldom a work requirement. Just remember that accomplishing this requires several weeks to obtain the NTS before you can schedule the exam. So, any delay that interferes with testing in August can upset your study plan during the summer.
Prepare for potential adjustments to your planning. After you start work, you need to stay on track with an exam completion strategy. Don’t throw away making a new plan and end up a year or two into your career still confronted by the having to take the CPA exam.
One step you can safely proceed with immediately after graduation is trying the sample exam on the AICPA website. This simulation familiarizes you with the actual testing environment. You will not find anything exactly like this in a review course because the AICPA does not allow replication of its proprietary format.
Make sure you know the terms of a CPA course before ordering it. Instructional material is frequently updated – or at least it should be if you have a reputable vendor. Therefore, the course you order has an expiration date. Three months can easily elapse while you obtain your transcript, an approved application with the state board, and the NTS. Don’t leave yourself too little time with the material. You are possibly safer ordering the course for only one exam section. You don’t want to cram with all four exam sections to avoid re-purchasing the course.
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