How to Study for the Enrolled Agents Exam

Becoming an Enrolled Agent is essential if you want to advance your career as a tax preparer.  IRS Enrolled Agents are unrestricted as to which taxpayers they can represent, the types of tax matters they can handle, and which IRS offices they can represent clients before.  One of the requirements of becoming an Enrolled Agent (EA) is passing the Special Enrollment Exam (SEE). The Special Enrollment Exam is a three-part comprehensive IRS test that covers all aspects of federal taxation.  The SEE also covers tax preparer responsibilities under IRS Circular 230.

If you are getting ready to take the exam, thinking about taking the exam or in the midst of studying for the exam, here are some study tips to help you along the way.

1. Put together a study plan that covers all tax topics on the Special Enrollment Exam.  This includes Individual Tax, Business Tax, and Representation, Practice and Procedures.

2. Don’t cram. Start your studying early and pace yourself – cramming all of that information into a few massive study sessions will not help you retain the knowledge you need and may add stress and anxiety.  Added anxiety never helps on test day, so make sure you take the time to prepare yourself for test day.

3. Find a study group. is a great place to search.  You could also try looking in Google+ communities.

4. Study the old IRS Exam tests posted on the IRS website.  They will help you get an idea for how the exam is structured, the topics that are covered and the way the questions are posed.  Although these exams don’t represent the current EA Exam – they can be a tremendous help.  You can download old exams on the IRS website here.

5. Don’t underestimate the Representation, Practice and Procedures section. Read the entire Circular 230.  There are sections in the test that are drawn from that document.

6. Go to the Thomson Prometric website, register, and download the recommended reading/study list.

7. Take a tax class or go through our Charted Tax Professional Program.  If you are just getting started as a tax professional, then you might want to take some tax education classes.  Our Chartered Tax Certificate Programs are a great way to ensure you will learn everything you need to know for the SEE. Check out our programs here.

If you are currently studying for the exam, or have already taken it, leave a comment and let us know your study tips.


Further Reading:

What it takes to become an Enrolled Agent

Register for and Schedule the Exam


2 thoughts on “How to Study for the Enrolled Agents Exam

  1. After evaluating several EA review courses I just invested in the Lambers EA Review test prep and video courseware. Because I am a student at the Income Tax School they gave me a very generous “student” discount on the package. They also pointed out that I can use the courseware and prep pkg in conjunction with my CTP coursework – as a supplement and for additional more in-depth research.

  2. I purchased the PassKey EA Review book for the SEE Pt. 3 – Representation. I gave myself about a month to read through the book and study the material, and passed on the first try. I am now using the PassKey EA Review book for Individuals to study for Pt. 1 of the exam.
    I have noticed the exam questions are worded to confuse the test-taker. If you’ve taken the proper time to study and learn the material, don’t second guess your knowledge on test day. Good luck!

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