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CPA Exam Prep Blog

Welcome to the Kaplan CPA Exam Review public blog. This blog is dedicated to a single overriding purpose—to help CPA candidates understand and communicate about the CPA Exam throughout the year. With that in mind, we invite postings and comments that further this goal.

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The #1 Reason Businesses Fail

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on October 28, 2014


Why do some businesses fail, while others succeed? There are number of contributing factors to whether a business thrives or dies. Demand, supply, product satisfaction, marketing, and sales all contribute to the success or failure of a business. But the number one reason businesses fail is lack of financial management and, most commonly, poor cash management.

In your role as a practicing CPA, your advice will be sought after and trusted. Your words will have great power over others’…

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Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on October 21, 2014


In 2012, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) joined the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to launch a joint designation, the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA).

Through 2014, you can become a CGMA if you are a member in good standing with the AICPA or CIMA.

On January 1, 2015, AICPA members will be required to pass a 3-hour exam to obtain the designation. The exam is a strategic case study. To learn more about the…

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The Kaplan Way

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on October 14, 2014


People often ask me what’s different about Kaplan CPA Review. My response always includes Kaplan’s commitment to fully understanding how people learn and how best to maximize recall on exam day. We have a large staff committed to staying on top of learning research, cognitive science, and instructional design. This commitment is not limited to one department...it is our culture. In fact, I am the product manager, and my pedigree includes graduate degrees in education and accountancy.…

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The World is Small…Consider International Locations

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on October 07, 2014


In the month of September, I have been working from a number of Kaplan offices throughout Europe. During these travels, I have walked by a number of top CPA firms and Fortune 500 companies. It made me think of you and your career. If you have even thought about travelling or living abroad, listen to those thoughts and act on them by talking with someone who can make international opportunities a reality for you.

Whether your career goals start with PwC, KPMG, Deloitte, EY, Grant…

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Fourth Quarter Press!

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on October 01, 2014


The beginning of the fourth quarter of 2014 is the best time to evaluate your 2014 goals. Passing the CPA Exam may have been one of the goals. If you passed the final part of the exam this year, congratulations! Let us know about your success.

You may be facing one or more parts yet, but you can still pass in 2014. It is entirely possible to sit for two sections this final quarter. Schedule them now and commit to fulfilling your goals by setting aside study time at least five days a…

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Internships Can Make a Big Difference!

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on September 23, 2014


An internship can be a critical experience that sets you apart from others during your job search. Read this AICPA Insights blog posting, Want an Accounting Internship? 4 Steps to Remember, and apply for those internships with confidence.

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Back to School

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on September 02, 2014


It’s that time of the year again. School is getting back into the swing of things. We hope you all had a fun and memorable summer.

With the hope that summer of 2014 helped you to recharge your batteries, resolve to start your upcoming school year refreshed and energized. For those who are entering the last year of college–be sure to set your sights on the CPA Exam. Organize your post-college plans and how studying for the exam will fit into your schedule. It’s never too early to…

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Attention October/November Test-Takers

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on August 27, 2014


The AICPA recently announced the fourth quarter testing window (October–November) will not be extended this year to accommodate the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday as it has in the past. The fall 2014 testing window will begin on October 1 and end on November 30.

If you are planning to sit for a section of the exam during this window, be sure to schedule your exam as soon as possible to get the date and time you desire.

For the complete press release, please visit:

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Hobby or Business?

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on August 26, 2014


The IRS treats income and expenses resulting from a hobby differently than those resulting from a business. Read this recent article, How the IRS Tells a Hobby from a Business, and make sure you fully understand the tax treatment differences for your Regulation exam.

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Opportunities for Young Leaders

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on August 19, 2014


The accounting profession is accepting applications for up-and-coming leaders. The Journal of Accountancy provides a few tips from the AICPA Leadership Academy on how you can get the leading edge and strengthen your leadership skills in pursuit of becoming a leader amongst your colleagues. http://goo.gl/8kKUcJ

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Is This the Right Company for Me?

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on August 12, 2014


Just like in all relationships, not every employer-employee relationship works. Finding the right “fit” when looking for a job is more critical, in my opinion, than finding the job that has the highest compensation. In this article, Jennifer Wilson identifies eight attributes of a highly functioning organization. Consider each of these attributes when you evaluate job opportunities or evaluate your fit with your current employer.

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CPA Exam Score Release for Q3 and Q4

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on August 05, 2014


Checking for your exam score is always a heart-racing moment. To minimize the number of times you have to put yourself through this, only to find out your score hasn’t been released today, check out the AICPA’s timeline to determine when exactly you can expect to receive your score.

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Do Away with Fear

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on July 24, 2014


Rosa Parks once said, “Knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

Fearing the CPA Exam is not necessary if you know how to study. The customizable Kaplan Interactive Study Planner will guide you in what you should be studying each day. 

  • You need to set aside the time to study.
  • You need to prioritize your studies.
  • You need to study 75-100 hours for each section.
  • You know exactly what needs to be done...

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CPA Review Talk: New Revenue Recognition Standard

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on July 15, 2014


By now, many of you are probably aware of the new revenue recognition standard released by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) in May of this year. Key in on this topic so, as professionals, you have the valued skills and expertise necessary to make a difference at your company. This will be an area with opportunities for individuals in tax, finance, accounting, internal control, financial planning and analysis,…

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Congratulations Graduates!

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on July 08, 2014


Hello summer vacation! For those of you who graduated this year, we want to wish you all the best in your future endeavors. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!” Ambition, passion, and motivation will take you and your degree to new heights. And we know you’ll move mountains.

Whether you graduated or not, keep your sights on your future and your career. A well-deserved summer break is certainly something to enjoy. Be sure to balance relaxation…

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Happy Fourth of July

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on July 01, 2014


Independence Day means different things to different people, often based on age and background.

While you celebrate this Fourth of July, think about your professional career and the freedom you possess to be anyone you choose. Use that as motivation to set aside all obstacles and limitations that may exist in your life right now, especially those that keep you from being all that you want to be. You are free, and you are in control of your destiny.

Celebrate in style and be safe!

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Who You Know

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on June 24, 2014


Networking is critical to getting the job of your dreams and advancing within the accounting profession. In fact, the AICPA has identified the ability to network as a “core competency.”

Read this AICPA Insights® article, A Strong Professional Network is an Invaluable Resource, to learn more.

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CPA Exam Study Tips: What Works for You?

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on June 17, 2014


There is no right or wrong way to study. Do you read and take notes while studying? Do you like to watch the online lessons and follow along with your student handouts? Do you take multiple-choice test after multiple-choice test? Perhaps you study best in the mornings or are a night owl and stick to the evenings.

Whatever your study technique(s) may be, be sure to identify what works best for you or what you could do better. Here are a few tips that might help as you prepare for the…

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One Thing at a Time!

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on June 10, 2014


Studies now show that multi-tasking decreases productivity. In this article, Want to Focus More? Stop Multi-Tasking, participants were cut off from email for five days, and the results are astounding.

Learning science has found the same to be true when studying. While you may be in the habit of studying with the television or radio on, you will find that your recall increases tremendously with fewer distractions. Shut off or avoid anything that pulls your attention from the content…

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Hello Summer!

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on June 05, 2014


With summer just around the corner, and spring fever at an all-time high, it’s safe to say studying for the CPA exam might not be on your summer bucket list. But it should be! Summer is an excellent time to study and pass 1–2 sections of the CPA exam! You can study outside in the fresh air, in a park, under the sun, or on the beach. Busy season is hopefully a thing of the past. You can study indoors during the afternoon, and go for a morning run or evening walk to de-stress. So open…

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The Work is Laborious

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on May 26, 2014


Earlier this spring, I spent a week hiking in Zion National Park. If you haven’t been there, you should definitely go! Did you know that the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel took approximately 10 years to complete? Can you imagine? At the time, the 1.1-mile tunnel was the longest in the United States. The labor required to dig a 1.1-mile tunnel through a mountain might feel relatable to you right now, as you are busy studying for the CPA Exam. Just remember to practice one question at a time,…

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Happy Anniversary!

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on May 19, 2014


The computerized CPA Examination was first launched in April 2004. Read more: http://goo.gl/hcUk8t

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First Learn, Then Remove “L”

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on May 12, 2014


Remember when you hit the books what you are working toward—CPA. When you feel unmotivated or perhaps frustrated, remember that your hard work will pay off. This too shall pass, and the rewards will outweigh the costs. In the words of the late great Vince Lombardi, “The only place success comes before work is…in the dictionary.”

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120 Hour CPA Exam Requirement in Wisconsin

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on May 05, 2014


Wisconsin recently joined the list of states requiring just 120 credit hours to sit for the CPA Exam. Signed into law by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on April 8, 2014, Wisconsin has reduced the exam education requirements from 150 credit hours to 120 credit hours to sit for the exam. However, the law still requires 150 credit hours to obtain a CPA license in Wisconsin. For additional resources, see the links below.
Press release: http://goo.gl/4aRREY
Exam requirements by…

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2014: First Quarter Passing Rates

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on May 01, 2014


The AICPA has released the Q1 passing rates for 2014. Impressive results future/fellow CPAs!  Congratulations and keep up the hard work. Kaplan CPA Review is here to make you part of these statistics, and we look forward to helping and welcoming you into the CPA profession. Click the link below to see the AICPA passing rates by section:

http://goo.gl/9NsXvU

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Another Race…Another CPA Exam…Another Success!

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on April 23, 2014


It’s been awhile since I’ve compared my training for a race to studying for the CPA Exam. That’s probably because I did not run any races in 2013. With that said, on May 3, I will be running a half marathon. It’s a shorter race for me, and that’s a result of easing my way back into running after recovering from injuries.

When I am training for a race, I’m always reminded of how much it has in common with studying for the CPA Exam. To succeed, you have to prepare. You will do not do…

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Tax Refund? Kaplan CPA Review!

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on April 16, 2014


How much are you getting back from Uncle Sam this year? I cannot think of a better way to use your refund than to help pay for your CPA review prep and exam costs. Sure, funding your savings and retirement accounts are smart ways to “spend” your tax refund, but along with this, invest in your professional development too. Now is the perfect time to purchase Kaplan CPA Review.

Please visit the following site for additional strategic spends of your hard-earned tax dollars:

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BEC Exam Content in Real-World Application

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on April 10, 2014


Operations management, more specifically performance management, is an area tested in BEC. We learn about key performance indicators (KPIs) and how often KPIs are based on past performance. As future CPAs and leaders, be mindful of moving to a strategic set (or balance) of both lagging (past) and leading (future) indicators. Tools and techniques include strategy maps and balanced scorecards; identifying leading customer, people, process, and technology objectives; and company-wide…

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The AICPA Practice Analysis

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on April 01, 2014


Have you ever wondered why the CPA Exam is composed of four sections (AUD, BEC, FAR, and REG)? Have you ever wondered why the CPA Exam ask the questions it asks?

The CPA Exam assesses a candidate's knowledge and skills and compares the results to the knowledge and skills expected of individuals in an entry-level position. The AICPA determines the entry-level knowledge and skills required  through a thorough analysis of the profession. To learn more, read the following article by the…

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Busy Season 2014

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on March 05, 2014


With busy season upon us, remember that there is no better time than today to start studying for the CPA exam. Anything is possible, and you can do it if you set your mind to it! Let’s face it; for many of us, a busy season turns into a busy year entirely. While you may feel busy today, you will probably be busier six months from now. So find a good support system, the discipline and motivation you need, and let’s get you on your way toward becoming a CPA.

Take a serious look at…

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NASBA’s Managing Test Anxiety, Part III

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on February 24, 2014


The first two parts of NASBA’s blog on managing test anxiety provided great suggestions for reducing anxiety and managing pre-exam stress. Those two parts are discussed here in previous blog postings.

In this NASBA blog, the author provides insight on how to be prepared for the unexpected. Check out the blog at: http://goo.gl/doUxjC.

From computer malfunctions and error messages to power outages and fire drills, you should be ready for anything. Although you are not likely to…

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NASBA on Managing Test Anxiety, Part II

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on February 20, 2014


In the first part of NASBA’s blog, Vernon provided methods for reducing test anxiety.

In this blog, Vernon gives suggestions on how to minimize or avoid pre-exam stress. Check it out at: http://goo.gl/C9u0Bx.

Positive thinking has great power. It will help you reduce your stress, increase your confidence, and add points to your exam score!

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Olympians Pay Taxes

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on February 17, 2014


Did you know that Olympic athletes have to pay taxes on their medals and prize money? Read more: http://goo.gl/YH9dt3.

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NASBA on Managing Test Anxiety, Part I

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on February 10, 2014


Passing the CPA Exam can cause anxiety in the most solid of individuals.

NASBA has some great recommendations for reducing test anxiety. Check it out: http://goo.gl/khlEjN.

It’s amazing how effective these simple methods can be in helping us feel more in control.

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Accounting is a Solid Career Choice

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on February 03, 2014


The accounting profession is not a "fad" or "trendy" profession. Becoming an accountant has been, is, and will continue to be a solid career choice. You have job options that range as wide as your imagination. For more, read this US News & World Report article: http://goo.gl/GIXxr1.

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2013 Uniform CPA Exam Pass Rates

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on January 28, 2014


Congratulations on passing! The 2013 Quarter 4 and 2013 Cumulative Pass Rates have been published by the AICPA. It seems the pass rates are a little lower this last quarter, but they are still very strong.

Remember that the exams are not easier in any quarter. The changes in pass rates are a direct indication of candidate preparedness. Remember, the key to passing is preparing!

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When Will I Get My Score?!

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on January 21, 2014


Even before you entered the Prometric Center to take your exam, you were likely wondering how long you would have to wait to get your results.

The AICPA has published the CPA Exam Score Release Timeline for the first two quarters of 2014. In general, the wait time is three to five weeks, which is just long enough to immerse yourself in studies for the next section.

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Laborers, Accountants, and Software Developers, Oh My!

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on January 14, 2014


What do laborers (non-construction sector), accountants/auditors, and software developers have in common?

They top Time magazine’s list of most in-demand jobs. To read the full article, please visit: http://goo.gl/eD1JHc.

It’s a good time to be pursuing a degree in accounting, and better yet, your CPA license. Happy studying!

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The 2014 CPA Exam

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on January 14, 2014


The 2014 CPA Exam is not significantly different from the 2013 CPA Exam. In fact, there are no changes to BEC and REG. Click here to review the changes to AUD and FAR.

The AICPA has updated the CPA Exam tutorial to reflect recent changes in the exam (e.g., the addition of a comma on the calculator and a 10-minute time for the introductory screens). Make sure you work the tutorial,as well as the sample exams provided by the AICPA, before entering the exam.

It is very important that…

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New Year’s CPA Exam Resolution

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on January 02, 2014


If you are eligible, there is no better year than 2014 to pass the CPA Exam!

Make it your resolution and then make a plan. If you plan your study time accordingly, you are more likely to study. Set aside some time, plan your study activities, and then STUDY. The Kaplan CPA Review Interactive Study Calendar will give you assignments to complete during each study period, but it is up to you to do it.

It won’t be easy. If it were easy, everyone would be a CPA. But, if you put in…

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Blogging + Taxes

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on December 23, 2013


Let’s kick off the upcoming tax season with a look at tax issues faced by bloggers. As its name implies, a blogger is a person who writes a blog—just as I am doing now. From Pinterest to Instagram, and Twitter to Tumblr, social media has revolutionized personal blogs. Some bloggers are becoming so popular they may no longer be doing it as a “hobby” but rather as a “business” (buzzwords for tax advisors).

U.S. citizens who are full-time bloggers truly running a business and even…

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Happy Holidays!

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on December 18, 2013


The Kaplan CPA Review team wishes you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season! Hold those you love close and keep your Kaplan CPA Review materials within sight.

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The Testing of AICPA Auditing Standards (AU-C)

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on December 18, 2013


Effective January 1, 2014, the Uniform CPA Exam will no longer test the extant AICPA Auditing Standards (AU). These are the standards that existed before the clarified standards. In fact, the AICPA will no longer publish those extant standards.

You will receive test questions that will assess your understanding of all current auditing standards and their applicability. For example, you will need to know the current AICPA Auditing Standards (AU-C) and their applicability to…

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Last Testing Week of 2013

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on November 27, 2013


This is it, the last testing week of 2013. The AICPA has extended this testing window and you are able take exams through December 6, 2013.

If you haven’t scheduled an exam yet but feel you are ready and have your NTS, give the Prometric Center a call! They may have an empty space for you!

Don’t forget to join our social media sites (i.e., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+).  And, if you tested in 2013, share your section, score, and/or your favorite study story!

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Thank You!

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on November 18, 2013


Thank you to all past and present Kaplan CPA Review students. During this holiday season, and all year long, the staff at Kaplan CPA Review gives thanks to YOU for your hard work, your time and commitment, your success, and for your confidence in Kaplan CPA Review.

Happy Thanksgiving from Kaplan CPA Review

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HURRY! Reserve Your Seat Today

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on October 23, 2013


Feeling a little behind in your studies? Don’t put your exam off until January. Take advantage of the open testing week in December. The AICPA just announced that due to the late U.S. Thanksgiving holiday (November 28), the exam will be administered through December 6. This gives you six weeks yet to study and pass another section of the CPA Exam. Be sure to reserve your seat to ensure you get the desired day and time. Hurry—openings in this extended week of testing will go fast.

To…

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Denise Probert of Kaplan CPA Review: Do You Have What it Takes to Pass the CPA Exam? (Beta Alpha Psi Quarterly Newsletter)

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on October 18, 2013


Passing the CPA exam the first time you sit for each section is what Kaplan CPA Review is here to help you accomplish. Check out our very own Denise Probert’s feature in the Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) quarterly newsletter on what it takes to pass the exam.

Please visit http://goo.gl/OzZEQz.

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Making Good Choices . . .

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on October 14, 2013


Great professional decisions generally combine doing what you love with doing something that others want and need. The CPA credential does just that. Read more in this Journal of Accountancy article: http://goo.gl/aq2mzy.

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AUD Exam Assessment of Clarified Standards

By Denise Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA and VP of CPA Education | Posted on October 09, 2013


In 2012, the AICPA Auditing Standards Board issued clarified auditing standards (AU-C) for use in the audit of financial statements issued on or after December 15, 2012. These clarified standards were first tested in the AUD section in quarter three of 2013.

Please note that the current AUD Exam tests both the clarified auditing standards (AU-Cs) and the standards they replaced (AUs).

On January 1, 2014, the auditing standards used for financial statements issued before December…

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Breaking Bad

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on October 04, 2013


It’s important to find some personal time in your CPA pursuits. Are you a Breaking Bad fan? With the season finale airing this past Sunday, you might have some spare time to fill—work hard to get through the CPA exam(s) and enjoy the holiday season, sans CPA review!

Check out the blog below and apply your REG knowledge to the Breaking Bad series!
http://goo.gl/Lr6Bt6

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Pass Rates

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on October 02, 2013


The AICPA has recently released the third quarter passing rates for the CPA Exam. BEC pass rates are phenomenal—58.54%! Way to go new and future CPAs. Let’s work hard and close out the Q4 window strong. Best wishes to all candidates from Kaplan CPA Review.

To access the published pass rates, please visit:

http://goo.gl/T7T0y7

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Calling All Excel Gurus

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on August 15, 2013


Do you like problem solving and thrive on a challenge? In the August issue of the Journal of Accountancy, there is an article asking for your help in solving an Excel question. The solution will be posted in the September issue, presumably including accolades to the Excel genius. Please visit the following website to participate in the JofA Reader Challenge:  http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/Issues/2013/Aug/Reader-challenge.htm

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Updated AICPA AUD Sample Test

By Melissa Haun, CPA | Posted on August 05, 2013


The AICPA has updated their sample test for the clarified auditing standards (AU-C). Candidates should visit http://apps.aicpa.org/CBTeSampleTest/SampleTestInstPreMet2.html to access the sample exam and obtain more practice, especially for the AUD research task-based simulation.

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