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The CPA Exam in the news

Record number of candidates earn Watt Sells Award-Winning CPA exam scores with Becker

Aug 15, 2011

By Tom Rogowski, CPA
Program Director, Accounting
Becker Professional Education

The Watts Sells Awards are given to those who achieve the ten highest cumulative scores on all four parts of the CPA Exam. For the 2009 award year, multiple candidates received identical cumulative scores, resulting in a tie, increasing the total number of winners to 15—the largest number ever.

How did they do it? Most of the winners agree on the keys to passing: Set goals. Have a plan. Stick to it. And 14 out of the 15 most recent recipients also agreed on something else — they prepared to pass with Becker’s CPA Exam Review.

“Reviewing for the exam was time-consuming but certainly worth the investment. I chose Becker’s live classroom course, which provided accountability for exam preparation. I especially appreciated the organized detailed plan for studying,” offers Jessie Wagner of Ernst & Young.

In addition to using Becker, goals, planning and perseverance all contributed to award winners’ success.

Set goals. Andrew Rebstock of PricewaterhouseCoopers encourages completing the CPA Exam right after graduation. “I absolutely would advise taking the exam before you start working if you can. It’s not the most appealing prospect for spending the summer after graduation, but absolutely worth it.”

Have a plan. “I laid out a specific plan for studying and taking each part of the exam. I knew exactly what I wanted to accomplish every day, whether it was listening to a lecture, reading a text, or doing practice questions. Sticking to such a strict schedule takes a lot of discipline, but that’s important if you want to do well the first time through,” says Isaiah Massey of Deloitte.

Stick to it. Kim Brant, also from Deloitte, successfully prepared with Becker’s self-study format. “I had to stay motivated. No one was forcing me to attend a class or complete an assignment. I developed a routine of watching the lecture, reading the textbook, going through the practice questions, then repeating them. Make sure you’re understanding the concepts, not just memorizing answers.”

The Watt Sells Awards, created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, are presented annually to ten candidates, each of whom must have passed all four sections of the CPA Examination on their first attempt, earning the highest cumulative scores. More than 93,000 candidates sat for the exam in 2009.

For more information about Becker Professional Education, visit

CPA Exam Information Sessions

Learn what it takes to become a CPA in Ohio at a CPA Exam Information Session -- educational requirements, how to apply and schedule, Exam content and format and how to prepare and pass! If you are even thinking about taking the CPA Exam, consider attending an information session featuring Steve A. Martin, Attorney at law, MBA, CPA, the president and instructor of MDS CPA Review.

Preparing for the CPA exam

Passing the CPA exam is an important milestone in an accountant’s career. Preparing for the exam efficiently and in a cost effective manner is a top priority; not only for the CPA candidates but also for the firms recruiting them. The new 2011 CPA Exam not only emphasizes that priority but also raises questions about how best to prepare.

The 150-hour requirement

If you want to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam in the state of Ohio, you are required to have 150 semester hours (225 quarter hours) of college education. Studies show that individuals who sit for the CPA exam with 150 hours have higher first-time pass rates than their counterparts who take the exam after only four years of school.

CPA exam review providers

On the path to becoming a CPA? The right CPA review course can mean the difference between passing and failing. Whether you want live instruction or self-study, OSCPA’s partners offer you many opportunities and tools to help you succeed.