Overview Of The Enrolled Agent Exam
The Enrolled Agent credential is the most elite certification the IRS awards. It authorizes the holder to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service. The 3 part exam is difficult and relatively expensive, but the benefits are huge! Once you pass, you’ll have “unlimited practice rights”, meaning you can represent all types of clients in all matters before all IRS offices.
Given the expense, it’s important to give yourself the best chance to pass on your first try, and study guides, flashcards, and review guides are a great way to do that.
We’ll cover the exam in detail, and give you our picks for the best Enrolled Agent study guides, review guides, and flashcards below, but if you just can’t wait, here’s the short list:
Enrolled Agent Exam Details
The Special Enrollment Examination (SEE) is composed of 3 different parts, each of which must be passed within 2 years. Each part is roughly 100 questions, and you’ll have 3.5 hours to answer them (plus 30 minutes for tutorial and survey).
Once you pass the 3 parts of the exam, you can apply for enrollment. You’ll then have to complete a criminal and tax compliance background check.
In order to maintain your status, you’ll need to complete 72 hours of continuing education every 3 years including 16 each individual year.
The 3 different tests which make up the full Enrolled Agent Exam are as follows:
- Representation, Practices, and Procedures
Additional detail on each of the sections is provided below.
Part 1 - Individuals
The Individuals section has 100 multiple choice questions spanning 5 topics. The topics covered are:
- Preliminary Work and Taxpayer Data (17 questions)
- Income and Assets (21 questions)
- Deductions and Credits (21 questions)
- Taxation and Advice (14 questions)
- Specialized Returns for Individuals (12 questions)
Part 2 - Businesses
The Business section has 100 multiple choice questions broken into 3 topics. This includes:
- Business Entities (28 questions)
- Business Financial Information (39 questions)
- Specialized Returns and Taxpayers (18 questions)
Part 3 - Representation, Practices and Procedures
The Representation, Practices, and Procedures test has 4 sections and a total of 100 questions. In this part, the topics covered are:
- Practices and Procedures (25 questions)
- Representation before the IRS (24 questions)
- Specific Types of Representation (19 questions)
- Completion of the Filing Process (17 questions)
Exam Registration, Scoring, and Cost
The Special Enrollment Examination is given at Prometric testing centers across the country. The test can be taken in any month of the year except March and April (during which exams are updated to reflect changes to tax laws).
If you fail any part of the exam 4 times in a given cycle, you’ll have to wait until the next one to try again.
The scores are calculated by computer immediately after you complete each part, and you’ll get a printout with your results. The test is scored on a scaled system, calculating the number of correct answers and scaling that between 40 and 130. You’ll need a scaled score of 105 to pass each part.
The fee for the exam is $181.94 for each part, or $545.82 if you pass each section on your first try.
Best Enrolled Agent Study Guides
Passkey Enrolled Agent Exam Study Guide
Pros: Complete and comprehensive review of all exam topics.
Cons: Some minor typographical errors.
Our Rating: 5.0 / 5
Passkey Enrolled Agent Exam Study Guide is our #1 recommendation for Enrolled Agent exam candidates. This complete guide covers all 3 parts of the exam in extensive detail, and has tons of great practice questions. The full list of features include:
- More than 800 targeted study questions and answers
- In-depth study guide for all three parts of the IRS Enrolled Agent exam
- Over 900 pages of high quality review material
This book is our hands down top recommendation (though we do recommend picking up the additional workbook below for extra practice questions). Using this book to form your study plan, is the best way to ensure success on your first try. The book has high production values, and a solid layout of material. If you only pick up one guide from this list, make sure it’s this one!
IRS Enrolled Agent Exam Study Guide
Pros: Excellent practice questions and exams, and strong review content.
Cons: Information layout can be unintuitive in some spots.
Our Rating: 4.0 / 5
IRS Enrolled Agent Exam Study Guide didn’t make the top of our list, but it’s still a viable resource for people preparing for the Enrolled Agent exam. It has full coverage of all exam topics, and does a good job of breaking things down in an easy to digest way. The list of features include:
- Over 400 pages of high quality content
- Coverage of all exam topics
- Tons of review questions with answer explanations
Even though it didn’t come in at #1, if your budget will allow for it, there’s some definite value in having a copy of both. The content is well done and presented logically, and if you don’t want to go with the Passkey guide above, this one has everything you need to be successful.
PassKey Review Workbook
Pros: Comprehensive question set covering all major exam topics in realistic fashion.
Cons: Not a full fledged study guide, so be sure to pick up one above too.
Our Rating: 4.5 / 5
PassKey Review Workbook is our top pick for additional practice questions to help you prepare for the exam. It has over 274 pages of questions containing tons of information across all test topics. Key features include:
- 600 targeted test questions created specifically for the EA exam
- Two full practice exams for each of the three parts of the EA exam
- All questions include answers with clear explanations
Practice questions are a great study aid for both assessing your current level of preparation, and knowing what to expect in the actual test. While these questions alone aren’t enough to completely prepare yourself (see the full fledged study guides above), complimenting other materials with this book is a very good idea!
Enrolled Agent Exam Frequent Questions
What is the best study material for enrolled agent exam?
Review courses, study guides, flashcards, and practice questions form the backbone of the Enrolled Agent Exam preparation.
How do I study to become an enrolled agent?
Studying to become an Enrolled Agent is a big commitment. The keys to success are:
- Obtain relevant study materials including Study Guides, Flashcards, Practice Question Banks.
- Prepare a study plan laying out how you will tackle each section.
- Start studying early and stick to it!
How much does an enrolled agent make?
This depends heavily on your level of experience and other factors, but the 2013 figures showed that the average income for Enrolled Agents was $75,000 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
How long does it take to become an enrolled agent?
Again, this depends on your level of knowledge and experience. Most people require somewhere between 3 months and 1 year to complete each of the 3 exam parts and become an Enrolled Agent.
Is the enrolled agent exam difficult?
The enrolled agent exam is quite difficult. Each of the 3 sections have different pass rates, but the lowest is part 2 at around %60.
For prospective Enrolled Agents, the Licensure Exam is the key to higher income and tons of other benefits. Study manuals and practice tests are a huge help to many people, and if you’ve read this far you’re probably one of them.
We’ve rounded up the best Enrolled Agent Exam study guides and practice questions and presented them above. To recap our recommendations:
|Top Study Guide Recommendation||Passkey Enrolled Agent Exam Study Guide|
|Top Flashcard Recommendation||PassKey Review Workbook|
Our top pick for best Enrolled Agent Study Guide is the Passkey Enrolled Agent Exam Study Guide. It’s the most comprehensive and accurate guide on our list, and has the best practice questions and other resources included.
For top practice question bank, we recommend PassKey Review Workbook. It’s got over 600 highly relevant cards covering all topics from each part of the exam.
Whatever your circumstance, supplemental study and review materials are a key part of ensuring success on the exam. We’ve listed some of the best Enrolled Agent resources available. Good luck, and study hard!