EA Review Study Guide

Enrolled Agent Exam Study Guide

Most of you will know that the Enrolled Agent (EA) is a tax advisor who is a federally authorized tax practitioner empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Holding an Enrolled Agent credential is a distinction of tax preparer, demonstrating expertise in the industry. Their role is to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service for tax issues including audits, collections and appeals.

This Enrolled Agent Exam Study Guide will answer your top questions, and even provide some study tips! Spot something we didn’t cover? Send us your question to info@Surgent.com, and we’ll do our best to answer it for you!

What’s Inside the EA Exam?

Here at Surgent, we recommend that candidates take the extra time to dig into understanding the basics of what the EA Exam really looks like. This way you know what to expect and have a higher chance of passing on your first try!
So, with that said – There are three parts of the exam:

  • Part 1 – Individuals.
  • Part 2 – Businesses.
  • Part 3 – Representation, Practice and Procedures.

Each of the 3 parts of the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE – or also known as the Enrolled Agent Exam) include 100 multiple choice questions and you are given 3.5 hours to complete each part.

Top Tips on How to Pass the EA Exam


Make the Most of EA Exam Practice Tests

Really, as well as understanding how the exam looks, it’s pretty important to be comfortable with the formatting of it too. That’s where practice exams on your prep course come in.

Practice exams allow the candidates to test themselves under real examination conditions, using the software and timings that the real exam will also use. This is a crucial aspect of your studying, because it can help candidates to ease their testing anxiety.

Surgent focuses on practice exams, offering unlimited opportunities to dive into the exam-like conditions. While the questions won’t be the exact same as those you’ll sit for, you’ll have the opportunity to familiarize yourself with real prior exam questions to ensure that you’re prepared come exam day.

Study Intelligently

Studying for the EA Exam can be time consuming, and it can be tough too. But it doesn’t need to be.

That’s why the review course you choose matters – and why it’s important for it to fit your personal learning style. In fact, the one you choose could be the difference between passing and failing. Surgent Enrolled Agent Review is not like the typical course. In fact, Surgent prides itself on being the only EA course on the market with adaptive learning technology. We identify your weak areas and curate a hyper personalized study plan based on those topics and focused study materials – we then follow along your progress to make sure you’re always studying the most effective material for you.

That’s how Surgent students are passing an EA Exam section in just 47 hours.

Make Use of Existing Knowledge

Often, EA candidates can think they need to start their studying from scratch when using an EA Review Course – but that’s just not the case, and really is a waste of study time. In fact, we would go as far to say that the EA Exam Review Course should highlight and make use of the knowledge you have to date. And we would recommend even sitting for the exam as close to graduation as possible, so you can put those test taking habits and skills to use.

But candidates that have been out of school for a while need not worry – that’s where Surgent’s adaptive technology and hyper personalized study plans updated with content from IRS publications step in.

Check Your ReadySCORE™ Ahead of Exam Day

Even after hours of study, and countless correct answers on practice tests, it can still feel like you’re not ready to sit for the EA Exam. But don’t worry – Surgent has your back. In fact, that’s the very reason we created ReadySCORE™ – a one-of-a-kind exam-readiness metric that is proven to estimate real exam scores with 99% accuracy. No more going in blind! Try Surgent Enrolled Agent Exam Prep Review and practice questions for free today.



1. What job roles are common among EA?

While there are a lot of different roles that can benefit from the skill set that EAs have, the most common job roles that EAs hold and pursue are:

  • Tax Preparer
  • Public Accounting Firm Tax Staff
  • Small Accounting Firm Tax Staff
  • Banking
  • Law Firm Staff
  • Investment Firm Staff
  • Department of Revenue Staff
  • CEO or Owner of Your Own Business

    2. What kind of salary do EAs typically earn?

    We all know that when you’re investing time and money into something, the return has to be there. But rest assured, the EA is the highest credential in the tax preparer industry. An entry-level EA can earn nearly double the average entry-level salary for an uncertified tax preparer.

    3. Will there be continuing education required to keep my EA?

    Yes, for tax professionals to keep their EA after you pass the exam, you generally will need to earn 72 hours of CE during your 3-year enrollment cycle. Enrollment cycles are determined by the last digit of your social security number.

    4. What rights do Enrolled Agents Have?

    Enrolled agents, like attorneys and certified public accountants (CPAs), have unlimited practice rights. So, this means they are unrestricted as to which taxpayers they can represent, what types of tax matters they can handle, and which IRS offices they can represent clients before. On top of this, EAs are likely to be more respected by the IRS in client representations; since the IRS administers the EA exam and monitors the individual integrity of the credential, the IRS agents know EAs are industry professionals and up to date with tax law.

    5. Which part of the EA Exam should I take first?

    There is no set order of the EA Exam, and so you can choose the order you sit for them in. Because of that, the order you sit for them really is up to you and your experience – we recommend that you take a look at the EA syllabus closely to see which topics you are most familiar with and take that exam part first.

    6. Should I get the EA even if I already have the CPA?

    We definitely recommend getting both – though it’s absolutely not essential! Many CPAs have chosen to obtain the EA credential because it provides the same IRS representation rights as a CPA. But, unlike the CPA, an EA is recognized in all 50 states across the United States, and so this eliminates the applying to each individual state board of accountancy each time you move, or have out-of-state clients.

    7. Which is the best EA Prep Course?

    Surgent EA Review is one of the best EA review courses for tax professionals, according to several independent review sites, including Crush the EA Exam and Accounting Institute for Success. You can take a look for yourself in this Enrolled Agent Course comparison, looking into Gleim EA Review Course specifically.