CPA Exam Diary

Who better to know the emotions you’re experiencing in your exam journey than other exam takers?

Summer 2014

But Wait: There’s More!
By Ray Medrano
The hands on my watch noisily move: click, click, click, click. It’s finally 12 a.m. Surely it must be there! I dash to my computer to check … but there’s nothing. I stare at a blank space hoping for something to appear. But nothing does. Hours pass; again I check. Nothing. Finally, I stare again and see the word, “Credit.” I fall on my knees; my eyes fill with tears like a soccer player having just scored the winning goal. I lift my hands to heaven and shout “Thank You!” I now have credit for all four parts of the Uniform CPA Exam.

I’m almost a CPA (what an odd thought). No more late nights at the local Starbucks earning enough loyalty stars to try every food item sold there for free. No more eating chocolate covered espresso beans the week before an exam to gain those extra study hours. No more answering thousands of simulated questions and wishing I could just sleep on top my study materials and somehow absorb the knowledge through osmosis. In the midst of my euphoria, it slowly hits me: I’m done with testing. It’s now time for the Ethics Exam.

The Ethics Exam is a 50-question nightmare. I call it a nightmare because, like most nightmares, you find yourself in scenarios that are very unlikely to happen—and you find yourself completely ill equipped to handle them. The questions hone in on an accountant’s behavior that are so specific, I doubt most senior partners could answer them correctly. As if our 300 multiple choice questions and 26 simulations cumulating in 14 hours of testing wasn’t enough, let’s slam candidates with a “bonus” 50 questions designed to squeeze them yet again. Mercy you say? The Ethics Exam doesn’t believe in it. However, the Ethics Exam does have a good sense of irony. It’s the only exam accountants must take that is open book, with all study notes, and unmonitored.

My final muse is this: Don’t give up. I know the feeling, I know the disappointment, I know the heartache and it sucks. But if you endure until the end, you can do it. And remember, in the end, it’s just an exam. You are more than a number and title.
Ray Medrano is a staff accountant at Heberger & Company.