8 Mentalities that Make You Fail and How to Avoid Them

In order to PASS the CPA Exam, the first thing you must have is the correct mentality. In fact, having the right exam mentality will make your study journey much more easier and exciting too. Most of the people who failed one or more sections of the CPA Exam most probably did not have the correct mentality about the exam, which caused them to face alot of obstacles during studying and, as a result, not to be properly prepared for the exam.

Here are the most common 8 mentalities that cause candidates to fail the CPA Exam. If you want to pass the CPA Exam, make sure to avoid these killer mentalities:

Mentality #1: The “I WILL FAIL” Mentality

This is a very dangerous exam mentality that most people have.

When you say you are going to fail the exam, you are planning to fail…you are planning not to be properly prepared…you are surrendering. Candidates who pretend from the beginning failing the exam are preparing for failure, because they are simply admitting that they can’t do it.

Think about it this way- before you do something you say to yourself : “Wow, what if it doesn’t work? What if I fail and lose all my money, effort and time? What if I fail a part? What if…what if…what if…”.

Well, what if you PASS?

Its nothing more than a made up story in your mind. So never say “I will FAIL ”, instead say “I can do it”, “I will PASS the exam”, “I will properly prepare and succeed”.

Mentality #2: The “ What Worked For Them Will Work For Me” Mentality

Most of us, I believe, don’t know ourselves enough. We are always comparing ourselves to others and trying to imitate them. Maybe it woks for other stuff in life, but when it comes to studying for the CPA Exam, it does not always work.

Alot of CPA candidates think that doing like other people who passed the exam is the right thing for them. In reality, it does not always work. Every person is different, learns differently  and has different situations in life. So using a study plan for another person blindly may be a reason to fail the exam.

Sometimes, asking for too many advice from people leads to implementing a plan that worked for someone else without considering whether it will work for you or not. You definitely need to have a clear plan to approaching the exam.

It must be a study plan that is customized for you and works for you. In terms of how you learn best, whether you are a morning person or a night person, how many hours you can study per week, how familiar you are with the topics..etc…

Now, I don’t mean not to learn from other people’s experience. I’m talking about self-knowledge. Because growing up, we are different from one another, in terms of our study personality, our personal situation in life, how we spend our time, our learning capabilities.

You should grant yourself enough time and create a study plan that fits your learning style and life situation…a customized study plan.

Mentality #3: The “I Have No Time to Study” Mentality

A common CPA Exam mentality most people have is the “I have no time to study mentality”. I know most of us are very busy with a full time job, spouse and kids responsibilities, social life and more. But I am sure we all can find at least 2 hours a day to study for the CPA Exam. We all have only 24 hours per day, but what differentiate a successful person from another is how you utilize these 24 hours and how you determine your priorities.

You must understand that nothing in life comes with ease. There is a cost you must pay to get anything you want in life. So in order to pass the CPA exam, there are some sacrifice you must give. These sacrifices include eliminating unnecessary activities in your life, limiting your social life and spending less time with your family.

Remember that you are not alone. In fact, most people that attempt the CPA exam are hard-working professionals, often with young children and other commitments in their personal lives. So don’t panic about that.

You will have to make studying your priority and maintain a balance between studying and social life. Put in your mind that this a short term sacrifice for a long term investment.

Mentality #4: The “I Want To Stay In My Comfort Zone” Mentality

We all love staying comfortable and relaxed, which is normal. As human beings, we usually don’t push ourselves to do the things that need effort and things we don’t like. In other words, we are procrastinators…we prefer staying comfortable over doing uncomfortable stuff, even if that will not move us ahead in life.

Successful people, they just simply have better habits. They make CPA exam a part of their normal life routine and study consistently. If you want to pass the CPA Exam, you must be willing to wake up earlier to study for the exam, you must push yourself to study even if you don’t feel like it. In other words, to be successful, you must be willing to put your efforts and commitment to accomplish your dream of passing the CPA exam.

You must get used to being uncomfortable in order to be successful. So, simply, get out of your comfort zone – easier said than done (I know).

Mentality #5: The “It Is A Piece Of Cake” Mentality

A lot of people think that being smart in the university means you will pass the CPA exam without having to put the effort to study. This is a killer mentality because its makes you underestimate the effort and time you need to prepare for the CPA Exam. Candidates think the CPA Exam is like a university exam. In fact, the FAR part alone covers several courses we took in the university.

The CPA exam is totally different from the university exams and studying for the CPA exam should be done differently from the way you studied in the university. That’s because the CPA exam material is very condensed and you should be studying it in an efficient and effective way. There are study strategies and time management strategies you should know for the CPA exam that you never had to do in the university.

So that’s why you should never let university success make you underestimate the efforts needed to pass the CPA Exam. Never overestimate what you already know about the CPA Exam topics from the university because university success does not mean CPA exam success.

Mentality #6: The “I Can Do It On My Own” Mentality

When I’m talking about studying for the CPA exam, I’m not just talking about learning the material because learning the concepts alone does not guarantee passing the CPA exam. I don’t mean just being smart at school, being academic intelligent and isolating yourself from the environment around you.

I’m talking about way more than that because as a human being, you need support from people around you, you need a supportive environment that will hold you accountable and give you the motivation. Simply, going at it alone is less fun and less effective than if you have a support squad behind you.

A community is critical to keeping your spirits, energy and motivation up throughout the CPA process. You see, you are a product of your environment. Share your goals and what you’re up to with your family and friends. Ask for their support when you need it. Never be a lonely wolf.

Reach for me for any support you need as well, I am here to support you too:)

Mentality #7: The “No Need To Solve Questions” Mentality

I agree that the CPA Review lectures are great, they teach you the important concepts and information you need to pass the CPA exam. But multiple choice questions take these concepts and put them into the language of the CPA Exam – which is definitely what matters.

It’s one thing to understand consolidations, but it’s totally another thing to understand how the CPA Exam tests consolidations. The questions aren’t just testing to see if you know the material…the questions are trying to trick you into picking wrong answers that seem so correct at the first look. So it is very important to practice sufficient multiple choice questions to be ready for the exam.

There are always more than one answers that seem to be correct, but there is also the BEST answer which is the correct one. The answer is obviously “B” … but wait a minute … there’s that one information that makes the answer “C”.

Mentality #8: The “I DESERVE A LONG BREAK” Mentality

I’m just going to take “a month off” and “I need a little break” are common thoughts among candidates, but not a smart move. If you’ve already passed an exam, you may regret letting this valuable time tick away from your 18-month window. Take a few days to rest and recharge between exams and jump back in.

You don’t have alot of time left once you pass the first section, so take a short break ( a week in maximum) and start preparing for the next section.

So these are the 8 mentalities that make you FAIL the CPA Exam. Make sure you avoid these mentalities if you want to PASS the exam.

Watch the full youtube video here:

How to pass the cpa exam


Make sure to leave a comment below and share your thoughts. I love hearing from you😃


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I appreciate your tips and advises

    Actually I have bad experience in cpa study

    I want know the prefect method to study effectively and efficiently!!

    I have the material of gleim audit book 2015 plus mega test bank and Becker book 2012 !
    And obviously I have to sit for aud exam

    1. Hi Ahmed,
      The first thing I advice you to do is to buy updated material. There are alot of changes in the material from 2015 to 2020 in all 4 parts. In the audit part, the audit report forms were changed.. If you are used to Gleim and like their teaching style, stay with them, Becker is more expensive. Then read each chapter, watch lectures as needed, take notes for the important stuff and most importantly solve MCQs after each chapter. Do 2 practice tests of 30 MCQs after each chapter and understand the explanation of the answer. Give audit 8 weeks, 6 studying and 2 review. And after finishing a new chapter and doing questions on it, do cumulative tests on everything you learned in order not to forget the material. Study your weak areas again and keep practicing until you get in the 70s. And practice some SIMs too. Keep me updated. Hope this helps:)

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