I'm planning on taking the CPA exam this summer. I believe I meet the requirements to take the exam in my home state (PA) with only 120 credits. I'm thinking of foregoing the Macc program and just try passing the exam on my own in order to pursue a masters in finance. Will I have taken enough classes to properly prepare me for this exam? I'm an accounting major and will have taken financial, intermediate 1,2, tax, audit, and accounting info systems. Even if these classes will not have given me enough info, do you think I'd be able to get enough out of prep books to pass? I don't really want to spend thousands on a prep class especially if I can get all the necessary info from a book. I will probably start studying in December and will plan to start taking parts in the summer.
Most MS Finance Engineering/Applied Mathematics in Finance etc etc programs require heavy dose of math and other quantitative courses in his or her undergrad curriculum. For example at my alma mater NYU, its MS Applied Math Finance program "prefers" candidates with math, physics or engineering undergrad background and specifically requires certain intermediate to advanced math courses on top of GRE and GRE-Math scores. I remember that if you don't meet this requirement, you have to currently work on Wall St doing quant work to be considered for the program. (That's what they told me back in undergrad when I attended the info session). I am pretty sure all the "competitive" programs of similar caliber has similar requirements.
Secondly, CPA exam is really different for different test takers. Many take prep cpourses like Becker while others use free CPA prep resources available through the Big 4 firm or other accounting firm that he or she works for. I personally thought that additional prep material I received through my former employer was very helpful because topics covered on CPA exam is comprehensive. For example, your undergraduate law classes that satisfied your accounting degree might be slightly different than the law/regulations covered on CPA. For example, NY State undergrad business schools teach General Obligation Law in addition to UCC, Common Law and etc. General Obligation Law is NY State specific and different states follow different laws (and therefore, teach you same law topics with different applications/outcomes etc). For CPA exam, General Obligation Law is useless and I had to slightly re-learn certain regulations and etc and this was covered in the prep courses. Therefore, it is up to you to decide whether you will be ready for the exam straight out of school. Many people do so and they do pass the exam. So it's really your choice.