I Passed the IRS RTRP Exam

This year for the first time the IRS is requiring tax preparers to pass a certification exam. The Registered Tax Return Preparer  (RTRP) Exam is a two and a half our exam covering tax preparation, rules and regulations. You pay $116 to take the exam at a Prometrics Testing Center.

H&R Block gave us the Wiley study book and offered a web based training for exam preparation. I read the book and then yesterday took the practice exam in the web based training. It was hard! and I began to wonder if I would pass.


Today Duke and I took the exam and we both passed!

Compared to the practice exam the real exam today was easy. I think all the prep stuff wasn't all that helpful and it will scare anyone who is trying to prepare for the exam. I put quite a bit of time into studying and I am so glad I just took the exam and got it over with. 

If you have prepared taxes for H&R Block and you have reviewed the ethics and circular 230 materials you will pass the exam. Don't let the practice tests scare you!

Author: marionvermazen

I am a traveler, hiker, avid reader, Sun alumnus, computer geek, Spanish and French language student, knitter and genealogist. I am retired after working for almost 30 years in the Computer Industry. I live in Reno, Nevada with my husband Duke.

17 thoughts on “I Passed the IRS RTRP Exam”

  1. Thank for your blog. I am in the mist of prepping and I am totally discouraged. Your info has given me confidence again


  2. I am teaching symposiums for block in the south east district. So far we have no one who has attempted the test. What advice can you you give?


  3. I passed it in July. I would recommend doing several practice exams until you are consistently passing. I did about 8 and used the Wiley book only as a reference for specific topics I wanted to give more focus. Also, go out to the IRS site and try their “practice test” which gives you the look and feel of the test environment and, more importantly, how the access to Pub 17 works.


  4. FYI the practice test I mentioned is on the Prometric site as well. It’s a little easier to find there than on the IRS site.


  5. Jennifer,
    My two pieces of advice are be sure to focus on the ethics and circular 230 since you can’t look that stuff up and become familiar with the Pub 17 index and organization because you want to be able to find things quickly. I don’t think anyone who has prepared taxes for H&R Block will have a problem with the test.


  6. Thanks for the boost in my confidence. I’ve only been with Block for a year now but taxes have always interested me. My boss constantly tells me I have the knowledge of someone who’s been doing taxes for years, but I learned it on my own. So, you can see why I’ve been so anxious about the exam. I’ve been studying for weeks now and just finished the instructor based classes this week. The web based training in “compass” really had me worried. I’m thinking now I should just go for it! If you have any other advice I’d really appreciate it, thanks!


  7. You are very welcome Sheila! Jennifer my advice is study how to find things in pub 17, learn the basic stuff in circular 230 and then just DI IT!! It is really not that hard.


  8. I know that the search features for Pub 17 are disabled. But do the hyperlinks work? I’m a bit worried about having to scroll through an endless number of pages just to find the right answer.


  9. I just took the RTRP test in Overland Park, KS. and passed. I have been employed, part time, for H&R Block for 13 years. We were given the Wiley’s book to study. I read the book this pass summer and completed the “compass – RTRP.” I took the practice exam three times and didn’t measure up to the 80% Block standard. My highest score was 75! I thought about waiting until next year to take the RTRP exam, buy boss discourages it. All I have to say is that Block has one of the best on-line learning centers. If you work for Block or any of it’s franchises you will not have a problem passing the RTRP exam. Our office has a 75% pass ratio. If you have proper study skills don’t stress and schedule your test today. You will have a better 2013 season because of it. I completed my test in 1 1/4 hours and had 1 1/4 hours to go over my checked answers in pub. 17. I checked approximately 20 questions and was able to research all of them. I changed three answers and still finished 40 minutes earlier. The staff of Prometric was very professional and treated me right. I arrived 1 1/4 hours early and they had a computer available and started me early. It was completely up to me and I agreed. The only thing that made me feel uncomfortable was when she asked me to turn my pockets inside out and turn around and spread my arms and legs. She then used a metal detector around me. You have to lock up all of your possessions in a locker. The testing center is a no- nonsense testing center. It’s safe to say nothing gets pass them as they have cameras and two huge glass windows to view you. I thought the noise reduction ear muffs were also a nice touch. I decided to blog my experience so I could help my fellow H&R Block employees through the same anxieties that I experienced. I also visited the testing center two days prior. It’s a good test taking strategy. Good luck and have confidence!


  10. When you click on the pub. 17 icon it will bring up categories. If you didn’t know what chapter you wanted it was very difficult to scroll through. It was like a needle in a hay stack. If you clicked on index it brings up everything in alphabetical order. Then you can just scroll to what your looking for. Example: Moving Expense (Form 3903)


  11. I think some of the questions were unreasonable. Like remembering names of forms and specific dollar amounts.
    I barely passed.
    Most of the questions on http://www.irscompetencyexam.org appeared on the exam. The website is mediocre but the practice questions were helpful. At least to me.
    Can i take the CE online? If not I hope they will have online versions. Especially if we are required to take it every year.


  12. I took the exam and passed today. Thought the exam was extremely easy. Was done in 35 minutes and used rest of time just to recheck. I did not like Blocks prep courses at all. I paid $139 for the Gleim Complete study and it was excellent. I can tell you I understand things very well now. I afree with perso about Circular 230. My first 19 questions were on Circular 30. I dont understand about the person who said he/she barely passes as you are not given a score. It is either pass or fail. You do have access to a Pub 17 but it is HTML version so be sure to familiar with how that will appear. Gleim recommends you do not use more than 45 seconds on each question and just Mark for Review. When you have finished go back to all your Marked for Review. You also have access to a 1040. One of the multiple chice questions I had no idea of the answer but one of the 4 multiple choice answers was on line 35 of 1040. I went to the 1040 and quess what there it was on line 35. My advice study and take the exam. Don’t put it off and make use of the resources you are given to take the exam. Good Luck to all.


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