How to Pass the CPA Exam: An International Guide
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More About This Title How to Pass the CPA Exam: An International Guide


A CPA exam guide written specifically for international students

The US CPA qualification exam is the most popular professional accounting qualification not just in the United States, but around the world as well. As international testing centers open across the globe, increasing numbers of non-American students are taking the exam, but lack a study resource written specifically for them. Author Stephanie Ng passed the exam in less than a year and operates a popular exam test-prep website at In How to Pass the CPA Exam, Ng explains her techniques and study tactics specifically for students outside the United States.

A comprehensive and practical study guide for CPA exam students outside the United StatesWritten by the operator of a highly popular test-prep website for international studentsIncludes practical and effective test-prep resources

Packed with smart advice presented from an international perspective, How to Pass the CPA Exam is a must for international students preparing for the test.


STEPHANIE NG is a CPA (not in public practice). She received a bachelor of arts in economics with a second concentration in public policy studies from the University of Chicago. She began her career as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley before joining her client to work in the Group Finance department, where she spent five years specializing in corporate finance, mergers and acquisition, and debt refinancing and obtained her CPA qualification. Stephanie launched a CPA exam preparation website,, in January 2010 to help accountants around the world obtain the U.S. CPA qualification, providing information on CPA exam requirements, review courses comparison, and exam taking strategies. She welcomes readers' questions through her Facebook page at


Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Why CPA? 5

What Is CPA? 5

Five Reasons to Become a CPA 6

Five More Reasons to Become a CPA for International Candidates 9

What Are You Waiting For? 12

Chapter 2 What Is the CPA Exam? 13

Exam Coverage 13

Exam Schedule and Location 15

Exam Qualifications 16

Exam?]Taking Strategy 18

Exam Design and Navigation 20

After the Exam 22

Chapter 3 How to Get Qualified 25

An Overview 25

The Educational Requirements 26

The Experience Requirements 33

Citizenship and Residency Requirements 36

Taking Advantage of the Differences 37

Taking the Exam at International Sites: The Pros and Cons 47

CPA Exam Qualification Quiz 48

Final Thoughts 50

Chapter 4 Getting Ready 51

Budgeting 51

Submitting the Application 53

Scheduling the Exam 55

Travel and Accommodation 57

What to Bring on Exam Day 59

What to Expect at the Prometric Center 61

What to Expect after the Exam 63

Are You Ready? 63

Chapter 5 Creating a Study Plan 65

But I Can’t Afford to Plan. I Am So Busy! 65

Step 1: Aim to Complete the Exam within One Year 66

Step 2: Settle on the Sequence 66

Step 3: Estimate the Time Required for Study 67

Step 4: Plan to Complete Each Section in One Quarter 69

Step 5: Write It Down! 72

Chapter 6 How to Become More Efficient and Effective 73

Create 25 Hours in a Day 73

Transform Your Stress into Strength 78

Let’s Move On! 83

Chapter 7 Study Tips and Exam-Taking Strategies 85

Study Tips 85

Exam-Taking Strategies 95

Chapter 8 How to Overcome the Fear of Task-Based Simulations 99

Study Tips 100

Exam-Taking Strategies 101

Chapter 9 How to Ace the Written Communication Tasks 105

What Are the Examiners Looking For? 105

Seven Tips for Writing Success 106

Seven Steps to Creating a Great Piece of Business Writing 108

Chapter 10 Audit and Attestation (AUD) 113

What Does AUD Cover? 113

Pass Rate History and Trend 114

Study Tips 115

Exam?]Taking Strategies 117

Presenting the Outline 118

Module 1: Professional Responsibilities 118

Module 2: Engagement Planning and Assessing Risks 119

Module 3: Understanding Internal Control and Assessing Control Risk 121

Module 4: Responding to Risk Assessment 124

Module 5: Reporting 126

Module 6: Accounting and Review Services 127

Module 7: Audit Sampling 129

Module 8: Auditing with Technology 130

Reader’s Sharing 130

Chapter 11 Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) 133

What Does FAR Cover? 133

Passing Rate History and Trend 134

Study and Exam?]Taking Tips 134

Presenting the Outline 136

Module 9: Basic Theory and Financial Reporting 136

Module 10: Inventory 138

Module 11: Fixed Assets 140

Module 12: Monetary Current Assets and Current Liabilities 142

Module 13: Present Value 143

Module 14: Deferred Taxes 145

Module 15: Stockholders’ Equity 146

Module 16: Investments 148

Module 17: Statement of Cash Flows 150

Module 18: Business Combinations and Consolidations 151

Module 19: Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities 153

Module 20: Miscellaneous 154

Module 21: Government (State and Local) Accounting 155

Module 22: Not?]for?]Profit Accounting 157

Readers’ Sharing 158

Chapter 12 Regulation (REG) 161

What Does REG Cover? 161

Passing Rate History and Trend 162

Study and Exam?]Taking Tips 162

Presenting the Outline 163

Module 23: Professional and Legal Responsibilities 163

Module 24: Federal Securities Acts 166

Module 25: Business Structure 168

Module 26: Contracts 169

Module 27: Sales 171

Module 28: Commercial Paper 172

Module 29: Secured Transactions 174

Module 30: Bankruptcy 176

Module 31: Debtor?]Creditor Relationships 178

Module 32: Agency 180

Module 33: Regulation of Business Employment, Environment, and Antitrust 181

Module 34: Property 184

Module 35: Individual Taxation 185

Module 36: Transactions in Property 188

Module 37: Partnership Taxation 189

Module 38: Corporate Taxation 191

Module 39: Other Taxation Topics 191

Reader’s Sharing 192

Chapter 13 Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) 193

Passing Rate History and Trend 193

Study and Exam?]Taking Tips 194

Presenting the Outline 196

Module 40: Corporate Governance, Internal Control, and Enterprise Risk Management 196

Module 41: Information Technology 198

Module 42: Economics, Strategy, and Globalization 200

Module 43: Financial Risk Management and Capital Budgeting 202

Module 44: Financial Management 204

Module 45: Performance Measures 205

Module 46: Cost Measurement 206

Module 47: Planning, Control, and Analysis 208

Reader’s Sharing 211

Chapter 14 What If I Fail? 213

Perform a Self?]Evaluation 213

Review the Diagnostic Report 216

Recharge and Get Back the Momentum 216

The CPA Exam Is Not Rocket Science 217

Chapter 15 Final Words 219

Appendix A Countdown Plans 221

Appendix B Packing for the Exam Trip 223

Glossary 225

Acknowledgments 229

About the Author 231

Index 233