Long story short – you should sit for your exam after graduation. Trust us.

Graduation is an incredibly exciting time. You have finally finished up your full-time or part-time academic course load and no matter whether you earned an Associate’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree, you’re ready to move forward either toward pursuing graduate school or gaining work experience. However, if you’re working toward obtaining an accounting or finance-related credential – whether you’re a CPA candidate, in pursuit of your Enrolled Agent license, or interested in any of the other designations out there – you might want to start studying up on the exam content for whichever designation you’re going for.

Here’s why:

1. The information is fresh in your mind.

Think about it: you probably didn’t realize that you just finished learning about a lot of the exam content in your classes. Take advantage of the fact that you already have a firm understanding of a good amount of the study materials having simply fulfilled the education you were already working towards. 

*Pro tip — If you’re a super motivated high school student, you can start studying for your Enrolled Agent exam; you don’t need to fulfill any education requirements to become an EA!

2. You’re already in study mode.

Multiple-choice questions, exam reviews, testing centers, study materials – none of these are new to you as a student getting ready to graduate. You’re just coming out of a long run of constant reading, studying, and testing. Instead of completely abandoning the level of concentration you’ve spent so much time building up right after moving your tassel from right to left, use that work ethic to begin your application process and register for the exam of your choice. 

*Pro tip — Even though you’ve learned a good amount of information during your Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, or graduate school program, be sure to choose a reputable Exam Review to ensure you’re covering all the relevant exam content you need to.

3. You’re more likely to pass your exam the first time!

Did you know if you sit for your exam closer to your graduation date, you have a really good chance of passing on your first try? It’s true! For example, over 75% of students who sit for their CPA exam within 140 days of graduation are very likely to pass all four parts of the CPA Exam the first time. Waiting longer than 140 days can significantly impact your ability to pass.

Less than 60% of students who wait over 290 days after graduation to sit for the CPA exam pass all four parts. Less than 50% of students who wait over 370 days to sit for the CPA exam pass all four parts. Finally, less than 42% of those who wait 400 days or more to sit for the CPA exam pass all four parts. While these statistics are unique to the CPA exam, you can imagine they’re not limited to only the CPA designation. 

*Pro tip — Start studying with the review course of your choice before graduation to make sure you’re ready to sit for your Exam. The best review courses are constantly updated and include the latest exam content you’ll need to cover, but the advantage of studying while you’re still in school is that you can ask your professors questions on topics you’re struggling with.

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Shirley Koss: Hi everyone, my name’s Shirley and today I’m going to share with you some advice about sitting for exams right after graduation. Now, I know you’re super excited – finals are almost here, it’s time to relax, you won’t have to be studying as much, you can actually sleep more. I know it’s really exciting to think about all these wonderful things you’re going to do with all this time that you’re going to have on your hands, but I can tell you – you really want to think about time management and continuing your study momentum to sit for whatever exam you’ll be choosing or to get ready for your Master’s program.

I can tell you when I had that time in between my Bachelor’s and my Master’s – I lived it up. I had a lot of fun – I traveled, I partied I slept. But I can absolutely attest to the fact that once I started my Master’s program I felt like my brain turned to oatmeal; I was not prepared. And Master’s programs – or sitting for a professional credential – happen like that. You have to be able to recall those facts and information quickly and you’re not going to be able to do that if you’re not in the right mindset. So, you want to continue that study momentum.

When it comes to professional credentials or exams – like the CPA Exam – I’ve been working in this profession for over 10 years and I can tell you that I have seen so many people not continue that momentum and then they don’t do well. In fact, the CPA Exam itself, most candidates that sit within 140 days of graduation end up passing the exam – all four parts – on the first try. What if I told you greater than 70% of these candidates pass?

The longer you go out from graduation, the more difficult it is to pass these exams – any credential that you’re seeking – because you’re not in study mode and your mind isn’t able to recall all the information that it had readily available before.

So, with that being said, you really want to try and manage your time effectively. Work/life balance is crucial but make sure that you’re still in study mode and that your brain is still able to recall the information that you learned in undergrad so that you can easily transition into that professional certification exam or into your Master’s program.

So, happy studying and comment below on any tips and tricks you have for studying professional credentials or exams to help you catapult your career.

Thanks, again, for watching everybody!

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