Embarking on the journey to become an enrolled agent (EA) is a significant step toward a rewarding career in taxation, but mastering the EA Exam poses its own challenges. The key to success lies not just in hard work but in adopting a strategic and efficient approach to your study plan. At Surgent, we understand the value of your time and the importance of delivering targeted, timely content to help you achieve your goal of passing the EA Exam.

Studying for the EA Exam shouldn’t be a daunting task. That’s why Surgent EA Review has revolutionized the learning experience. Unlike traditional review courses that advocate a comprehensive, study-everything methodology, Surgent’s adaptive learning software tailors your study plan to provide essential content precisely when you need it. This personalized approach ensures that you optimize your study time and focus on the areas that require the most attention.

One of the benefits of choosing Surgent as your study companion is the remarkable efficiency it brings to the preparation process. On average, Surgent students are achieving exam readiness in under 50 hours per part. This means that, with Surgent, you can confidently set your sights on passing the EA Exam within three months.

In this blog post, we will delve deeper into why Surgent’s adaptive learning system stands out in the crowded landscape of EA Exam preparation. From personalized study plans to real-time performance tracking, Surgent empowers you to not only meet but exceed your study goals, making your journey to becoming an enrolled agent more efficient and effective.

How to Study for the EA Exam

Even when studying with Surgent EA Review, you will want to be strategic about how you approach the exam. Our experts have devised a study plan to help you pass the EA Exam in three months.

First, you need to familiarize yourself with the exam’s structure. The EA Exam consists of three parts that must be taken within two years, starting from the date the first exam is passed. Each part is comprised of 100 multiple-choice questions, 85 of which are scored and weighted equally, while the remaining 15 are experimental questions that do not count toward scoring. A candidate’s raw score is converted to a scale of 40 to 130. A minimum score of 105 is required to pass. Candidates have three-and-a-half hours to complete each part.

Not all exam parts are created equal, and do not need to be taken in chronological order. We recommend taking Part 1: Individuals first; followed by Part 3: Representation, Practices and Procedures; and lastly, Part 2: Businesses.

  • Part 1 — Individuals: Start with Part 1 because you already have a background in the content. Part 1 is based on individual tax returns. This directly correlates with the type of work you have been doing as a tax preparer.
  • Part 3 — Representation, Practices and Procedures: Next, study for Part 3. This part is based mostly on Circular 230, the governing document for ethical behavior of tax preparers.
  • Part 2 — Businesses: Finally, take Part 2, the most difficult and time-consuming section. This part focuses on business entity taxation, which is more complicated than individual tax returns.

Even though there are three parts, Parts 1 and 3 take roughly 50% of the total study time for the EA Exam. Completing these sections first gives you more time to focus on the more challenging Part 2.

You must follow an efficient study plan to pass the EA Exam in three months. Here are some tips to help you pass the EA Exam:

Study Effectively and Efficiently

One of the best ways to ensure you’re making the most of your sessions is to study in small windows of time. Studying in this format makes you more likely to stay engaged and retain the information you’re learning.

Surgent EA Review makes it easy to study in short bursts. Every time you log in to the software, you’ll see multiple-choice questions, readings, and lectures that target your specific knowledge gaps. Plus, with Surgent EA Review’s mobile compatibility, you can study on your morning commute, during your lunch break or in any short downtime you have during the day.

Know the Types of Exam Questions

The EA Exam has three different question types: direct questions, incomplete sentences and all of the following except questions. Become familiar with how these questions are worded to answer logically.


These types of questions are typical multiple-choice questions that ask a question directly. Sometimes, these will be answered with a “yes” or “no,” while other times you must choose a specific answer from four choices.

Example: The New Investment Income Tax may apply to which of the following?

a. Alimony

b. Taxable mutual fund distribution

c. Tax exempt municipal bond interest

d. Traditional IRA distribution


This type of question is also fairly straightforward. In an incomplete sentence question, you must select the answer that completes the question. These are similar to direct questions, but you will be asked to finish a sentence with the correct information instead of being asked a question.

Example: The standard deduction is increased for individuals who are age 65 or older and/or:

a. Receiving unemployment compensation

b. Retired from the military

c. A beneficiary of a trust

d. Blind


These questions require a process of elimination. Similar to incomplete sentences, candidates will be asked to complete a sentence, but the correct answer will not satisfy the conditions outlined in the question.

Example: All of the following income types are reported on from 1099-MISC EXCEPT:

a. Non-employee compensation over $600

b. Payments made to a physician or supplier or provider of medical or healthcare services of $600 or more

c. Canceled debt of $600 or more

d. Drop insurance proceeds of $600 or more

Stay Up-to-Date on Exam Changes

Tax law frequently changes, meaning a law in place last year may no longer apply. When tax law changes, so does the EA Exam. By keeping up-to-date on tax law changes, you can ensure that you aren’t studying outdated materials.

To ensure your materials are current, study with a review course that automatically updates as exam changes are rolled out. Surgent EA Review provides free, automatic updates with every course, so you can feel confident that you are studying the most relevant material.

How Long Should You Study for the EA Exam?

Based on the length of providers’ textbooks, hours of video lectures and number of multiple-choice questions, most courses take well over 200 study hours (some closer to 300) for students to reach exam readiness. Using data from actual students, Surgent EA Review has been proven to get students exam-ready in 144 study hours on average.

Surgent EA Review helps students save over 100 hours of studying on average compared to other providers. Our proprietary predictive AI learning software serves you the study materials essential to passing. Plus, Surgent offers the only exam-readiness indicator on the market, ReadySCORE™. This feature shows an estimate of what you would score if you were to sit for the EA Exam at that exact moment. So, not only can you pass faster, you can feel confident that you’ll pass when you sit for the exam.

To help you pass the EA Exam as quickly as possible, we’ve devised a study plan to help you pass all three parts in just three months.

Surgent EA Review: How It Works

Now that you have a thorough understanding of how to approach the EA Exam and some tips for how to study efficiently, let’s discuss how our review course works. Surgent EA Review breaks your study time for each part into three phases: Assessment, Study and Review.

Phase I: Assessment

Complete a series of quizzes with content covering all exam topics. You’ll receive a ReadySCORE exam-readiness metric and a Diagnostic Report, which details your starting strengths and weaknesses and estimates how many study hours you need to pass.

Phase II: Study

Our software continuously analyzes your scoring patterns and builds a custom study plan, focusing on the specific content you need to turn your weak areas into strengths. Real-time algorithms optimize your plan along the way, ensuring you’re staying on your fastest path to success.

Phase III: Review

Upon reaching a ReadySCORE™ of 105, you will be moved onto the Review phase. In this phase, you can take unlimited practice exams, designed to mimic the actual EA Exam.

The Surgent Difference

Here’s what Surgent offers to help you pass the EA Exam faster than competitors:

  • Predictive AI technology: Our predictive AI technology assesses what you know and need to know, so you spend time shoring up weaknesses to help prepare you for the EA Exam faster than other exam review providers. 
  • ReadySCORE: No guesswork on when you’re ready to take the exam. ReadySCORE predicts your likely score if you were to sit for the test that day. 
  • Unlimited practice exams: Relieve that test anxiety by taking practice exams as often as you like. 
  • Relevant content: Up-to-date IRS publications built right into the course.
  • Easy access: Compatible with desktop, tablet or mobile for easy, on-the-go studying.
  • 100% pass guarantee: Surgent’s pass guarantee means you don’t lose your prep course investment if something goes wrong.  

Pass Faster With Surgent

In the competitive realm of EA Exam preparation, time is a precious commodity, and Surgent EA Review understands the urgency of your journey. Choosing Surgent as your study companion isn’t just a decision; it’s a strategic investment in your success.

Surgent’s adaptive learning software revolutionizes the traditional study model by delivering essential content at the right time, personalized to your needs. By streamlining your study process and providing targeted resources, Surgent ensures that you not only save time but also study with purpose. Surgent students consistently outpace their peers, swiftly navigating the complexities of the EA Exam with confidence and competence.

Your journey to becoming an enrolled agent is a significant undertaking, and Surgent is committed to making that journey smoother, faster and more efficient. Join the ranks of successful Surgent students who have experienced the transformative power of personalized, adaptive learning — where time is saved and strategically utilized to propel you toward success.