From the MSA to the CPA

Want to become a CPA? The Suffolk University Master's in Accounting (MSA) can get you ready to take the exam in as few as nine months.

Whether you’re a working professional or a full-time student, we give you the flexibility you need to focus on the MSA on your terms. You can take two classes back-to-back in one evening, with some classes available online.

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Preparing for the CPA Exam

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>> The university CPA exam is one of
the three requirements that you need

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in order to attain a CPA license.

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>> The first step in the
process is education, the exam,

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and then you need to meet
an experience requirement.

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The exam is the biggest struggle
for most people.

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>> The CPA exam tests specific
knowledge to make sure

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that the accountant candidate
has proper knowledge

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of accounting and ethics to become a CPA.

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>> It's really a chance for you to prove that
you've got a sound fundamental understanding

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of accounting and the numbers side of things.

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>> So, the exam is made up of four parts.

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FAR, REG, BEC, and audit,
which is the worst one.

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I like to forget about that one.

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>> Each section is four hours.

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It has maybe 75 multiple-choice
questions and then task-based simulations.

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>> Once you take the first one, the clocks
starts ticking, so where you got to finish

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in 18 months, otherwise you lose credit for that
exam and have to retake it, which is not fun.

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>> Honestly, it was harder than I ever imagined.

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>> I remember every single time I walked
out of there, I was like, yep, failed it.

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>> I think it's hard if you
are not prepared for it.

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If you are prepared for it, it's doable.

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>> If you study and stick
to a dedicated schedule,

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you will find that you will
pass, and you can succeed.

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>> Find a study technique that works for you,
and make sure you give yourself enough time

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to get comfortable with the material and
be prepared for the content on the exam.

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>> CPA isn't going to study itself.

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>> How do you learn?

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What is the process you have to take?

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Some people have a photographic memory.

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Some people have to keep doing the
exercises to memorize something.

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>> I used Becker, and I would
watch a lecture and take notes,

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and then I would read the
chapter again to review it,

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and then I would kind of mock the exam.

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I would do the multiple choice questions.

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And once I finished all of that, I
would do the task-based simulations.

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>> I am a much more visual
learner, so I would put everything

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in like multi-color pencils and pens.

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I would have different colored flash cards.

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When a question came up about economics, I
knew that it would be on the yellow paper,

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and I would remember the picture from the
yellow paper and like what it had said.

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>> Having structure is very important,

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especially if there is a
lot of material to cover.

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>> To hold myself accountable to my
study schedule, I would tell my family

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and friends exactly what I'm doing.

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And if I told them that I was
studying, they would respect that,

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and I would reward myself as well.

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As long as you say, if I get through
this chapter, I can't watch this TV show,

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I think doing items like that will help.

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>> If the weekend came around, and I didn't
study the amount of hours that I had planned,

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I wasn't going out no matter what the occasion.

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>> Believe in the process and buy like 10,000
flash cards, and just make the pile what works

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and what doesn't work, and when
it doesn't work, write a new one.

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Throw the old one out.

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You know, go for a walk, clear
your head, and rinse and repeat.

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>> I was doing my master's in
taxation when I took the CPA exam.

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I would definitely recommend that approach.

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I think the best is to do the
CPA exam as soon as possible,

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especially when someone is still in school.

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>> I didn't start studying until I
started working, which was a big mistake.

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Definitely get it done when you're
still in school and still in study mode.

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>> I can tell you with complete sincerity
they don't hand that distinction out.

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There is no like BS CPAs out there.

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>> It shows your commitment to the
profession, and if you ever want to advance

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to a higher level of authority,
having a CPA is a great way to do so.

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>> The minute you pass the CPA
exam, you are more valuable

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to your employer or like possible employer.

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>> Be patient.

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You will achieve the goal, but
it's not going to happen overnight.

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>> You have to invest the time.

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It's a big commitment.

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>> There is this Winston Churchill quote that
kind of stuck with me throughout my CPA process.

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Success is not final.

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Failure is not fatal.

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But it is the courage to continue that counts.

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>> You can do it if you're committed.

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>> I've done it.

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You can do it.

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>> You won't regret that decision.

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Taught by world-class professors, our courses are practical and set you up to pass the CPA exam, regardless of your undergraduate major or professional experience. And with courses that integrate Becker’s CPA study materials, you’ll enter the exam with confidence.

And because of our location in downtown Boston, you’ll have direct access to competitive internships, career opportunities, and a vast network of top leaders in the field, including the many MSA alumni already in senior positions in the Big Four and other firms around the world.

Learn more about the Suffolk University MSA.
“Suffolk's MSA was instrumental in preparing me for the CPA exam. The curriculum gave me a good foundation on the materials from the CPA exam, and some of the tests were structured similarly to the exam, which helped immensely. The MSA program was the biggest reason I was able to not only jump into public accounting at Deloitte but to successfully pass all four exams within my first year with the firm.”
Dat Le, MSA '13