Q: I want to become an enrolled agent. What's my first step? Answer: The first step is to download the official IRS EA Candidate Bulletin. It will answer all your technical questions about how to sign up for the exam, and what to do once you pass.
Q: How difficult is the EA Exam? How much should I study? Answer: This is a complex question, because everyone is different. Candidates with tax experience will find the EA exam much easier than someone without any tax experience. However, a good rule of thumb is to study at least 40 hours for Part One (Individuals) and Part Three (Representation). Part Two (Businesses) is more difficult, so you should dedicate at least 60-80 hours of study time for that section.
Q: I signed up for the EA Exam. Can I take anything with me into the testing center? Answer: Exam takers cannot take anything with them into the testing room, except for their identification (such as a driver's license) or a medical device, such as a hearing aid or a pair of glasses. If you need accommodations for a disability, you must contact the test center in advance. All exams are in English. Difficulty understanding English is not considered a disability for test-taking purposes. However, if you have a physical disability (such as blindness), the test center can make special arrangements if you contact them in advance.
Q: How many questions are on the EA Exam? Answer: Each section of the EA Exam is 100 questions. All the questions are multiple choice.
Q: Can I use a calculator when I take the EA Exam? Answer: Yes, the testing center will provide you with a basic calculator, pencils, and scratch paper. You cannot bring your own calculator to the testing center.
Q: Can I go to the bathroom during the test? Answer: Yes, you are allowed to leave the room during the exam to go to the bathroom, but the time on your exam clock DOES NOT STOP! So it is very important to go to the bathroom before your test. Try to avoid leaving the test room at all costs so you can use all the exam time allotted to you.
Q: When will I get my scores? Answer: Right away! When you complete the exam, you will get a printed score report from the testing center.
Question: What is a passing score? Answer: The exam is scaled. The IRS has set the scaled passing score at 105 (out of 130), which is about 80%. If your final score is 102, you know that you were very close to passing. If your score is 65, you know that you need to study more. Prometric will send your scores directly to the IRS after the exam. Your exam results are confidential and will not be published anywhere.
Question: Do I have to take all three parts of the exam at once, or can I space them out? Answer: You can sign up to take each part of the EA exam on separate days, so you can space them months apart if you wish, but you only have 18 months to finish taking all three parts, otherwise you "lose" any passing scores and you have to start over.