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    The CPA Exam Stats You’ve Been Waiting For: The Best-Performing Accounting Programs of 2011

    By | March 21, 2012

    Because the 2011 NASBA Candidate Performance book is a significant improvement over previous versions, we've got some new data to share and it's pretty exciting.

    Now, the following stats cover first-time exams across all programs (we'll explain program size in a moment).

    • SHOCK, Wake Forest is #1 yet again. The actual shocking part here is that they came in at an 88.4% pass rate – as many of you know, 2011 was a rough year for CPA exam candidates and the numbers weren't good. It should be some kind of consolation to the Wake haters out there that they "plummeted" from a 90.6% pass rate in 2010. Yes, "plummeted" is used loosely.
    • 2. University of Pennsylvania (wow, who saw that coming?) 85.5%
    • 3. College of Saint Benedict 84.8%
    • 4. University of Virginia 84.7%
    • 5. Duke 80.8%

    Now, this year the institution pass rates are divided by size of program as well, so let's just drill down starting with large programs (large defined as 60 or more candidates sent to the take the CPA exam from that program in the year in question):

    • 1. Wake Forest – again, DUH. Wake sent 63 candidates to 216 exams for an average score of 88.4. Well done yet again, kids.
    • 2. University of Virginia sent 127 candidates to 339 exams for an average score of 84.
    • 3. University of Michigan Ann Arbor sent 109 candidates to 307 exams for a pass rate of 80.1% and an average score of 81.8.
    • 4. Truman State University sent 80 candidates to 256 exams for a pass rate of 78.9% and an average score of 80.4.
    • 5. University of Florida sent 153 candidates to 353 exams for a pass rate of 76.8% and an average score of 79.9.

    How about some medium programs? This covers 270 institutions who sent 21 – 60 reported candidates each:

    • 1. University of Pennsylvania sent 34 candidates to 83 exams for a pass rate of 85.5% and an average score of 82.6.
    • 2. Vanderbilt sent 41 candidates to 143 exams for a pass rate of 79% and an average score of 81.1.
    • 3. Washington University St. Louis sent 47 candidates to 109 exams for a pass rate of 74.6% and an average score of 77.2.
    • 4. Concordia College (shout-out to Professor Albrecht!) sent 25 candidates to 63 exams for a pass rate of 74.6% and an average score of 77.2.
    • 5. University of Missouri Kansas City sent 57 candidates to 123 exams for a pass rate of 73.2% and an average score of 77.8.

    Of programs that sent the highest number of candidates, the Top 5 for actual number of candidates sent are as follows:

    • 1. CUNY Baruch sent 592 candidates to 1,018 sections for a pass rate of 51%
    • 2. University of Southern California sent 542 candidates to 1,181 sections for a pass rate of 62%.
    • 3. Pennsylvania State University Park sent 498 candidates to 1,052 sections for a pass rate of 47.3%.
    • 4. University of California Los Angeles sent 455 candidates to 935 sections for a pass rate of 63.9%.
    • 5. Lastly, the University of Phoenix sent 435 candidates to 777 exams for a pass rate of 30.4%.

    Keep in mind NASBA qualifies this data by saying "reasonable efforts have been made to insure accurate and up to date information" contained in their candidate performance book but this data is simply for informational purposes, like you guys comparing accounting programs amongst yourselves. In no way should this data be used to make critical life decisions without additional metrics. That kind of goes without saying, so if I need to say it, maybe you should find a new gig. NASBA also disclaims that not all of the data included in the book is completely reported. Hence not basing your entire life on the data contained therein.

    Do with this information what you will, just keep it light, please.

    • WakeGrad11

      Glad to see we didn’t blow it this year. Keep up the good work, class of 2012.

    • Lolbisco

      Would you fuck the moon if it was made of barbeque spare ribs?

    • KPMGuest

      (sadly my 4/4 performance didnt help the average that much)

      • Guest

        everyone I work with from penn state, regardless of whether they’ve passed the CPA or not, is a bunch of idiots.

        • KPMGuest

          i don’t disagree

        • Guest

           At least they are a modest bunch…

      • Guest

         Wait, did you really pass 4 for 4? Please tell us more, supreme leader! I’m really glad you shared your stats because you clearly weren’t bragging in any way.

        Oh wait, what?

      • Bringcookiesnow

         Well, the scores are in line with the national pass rate, sooo WE ARE… TOTALLY AVERAGE!

      • Jerry Sandusky

        I’ll show you my 4/4….


      Go Phoenix!!  I love when the “I am a Phoenix” commercials come on TV (or Westwood!!).  Those poor fuckers will never have a meaningful sense of employment and will always be snickered at by those of us who actually got what we paid for in education…

      • Guest

         More people from University of Phoenix passed the CPA exam this year than Wake Forest…

        • I’m pretty sure you’re a troll but I’ll bite anyway.

          It’s obviously because Wake is an exclusive program and University of Phoenix will happily take anyone’s money. I don’t think saying “more people passed” means much when you sent MORE people.

          I doubt “we send tons of candidates to the CPA exam but only a third of them passed” is much of a bragging right on the part of University of Phoenix.


            The scary thing about Phoenix grads is that less than 1/3 (Adrienne rounds up, not very conservative…) may have passed their respective exams in spite of their education, not because of it. Besides, who is not to say that the 30.4% of passers all used Becker to study and the other 69.6% used someone else….

            Again. Phoenix blows goats and is nothing more than a government subsidized pseudo college.  Probably the best of the group, certaintly better than ITT Tech…

            • My bad. This is why I leave the real number-crunching in your hands.

              Also: bwhahaha at your Colin-worthy typo. I am using “certaintly” from now on.

            • DOT.NOT.THE.FEATHER

              WHO THE FUCK IS COLIN???

            • DOT.NOT.THE.FEATHER

              You can’t spell certaintly without “taint”…just sayin’

            • guest

              WTF is “certaintly”? Maybe go with “certainly” you fucking moron.

        • Cookiemonster

          Of course 10 million people go to UofP, as it’s the worlds source of burdensome household debt.  

    • i’m surprised UCLA sent so many candidates since I don’t think they have an accounting major. any stats on UC Davis?

    • Probley

      Is #3 overall College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University?

      • Yeah, sorry, they were listed only as College of St. Benedict in the book so that’s what I went with. I assumed people would get it, is there even another St. Benedict in the country?

        • Probley

          I didn’t think so, I just rarely hear it mentioned alone. Thanks.

          • guest

            St. Ben’s is an all-female school/St. John’s is all-male, and they share a campus, kind of.

            • Django

               So is that data point for just the women at St. Bens, or does it include the men from St. John’s as well? Both are educated by the same faculty in the same classrooms.

    • 49er

      University of North Carolina, Charlotte = No. 1

      • Fellow 49er

        Fuck yes. UNCC bangin n slangin all day.


          Whats the matter losers?  Couldn’t get into a real NC school?  UNCC is for the all the Charlotte High School kids who just couldn’t bare the thought of leaving home for college.  That and Gas Vegas/Greensboro people who want to go to school “in the city”.  UNCC blows goats

          • Cash

            Ouch, sounds like someone is bitter about not being able to find a job after college… I suppose there is always the Occupy movement for you.

          • Fellow 49er

            No fucktard. I got into Wake, UNC, and State.  I just wasn’t dumb enough to pay 30k a year for an accounting degree.  While all those other kids decided they wanted to go to the “real” NC schools, I graduated with less than 5k in debt and the SAME BIG 4 JOB.  Don’t get it wrong, we’re all miserable around this time. Only difference is I have more money for booze than them.

            In other words, haters gon hate. 

    • WhatAboutMSA’s?

      Any master program updates?

      • unfortunately they don’t separate them out the same way as they did in previous versions of the book. I guess I could manually sort the top programs out but that’s an epic pain in my ass.

        • WhatAboutMSA’s?

           Not necessary but thanks anyways, appreciate it

    • guest

      wow….CPA smack. i didn’t know such a thing existed. Has the PCAOB approved this thread? going back to my finance job now. let me know when it’s approaching quarter end. Oh, and for you internal auditors….can you please send out your request lists in a timely manner this quarter? Thanks. 

    • Guest

      The 2011 NASBA book is based on 2010 data. It takes them 10-11 months to run all the statistics. Look for 2011 data near the end of 2012.

      • That is not correct. The 2011 book which was just released (in 2012) contains – wait for it – 2011 stats. The book normally is released toward the end of the year but it was released early this year. Ask NASBA if you doubt me.

    • Sbarber111

      go gators

      • gatorhater

        I heard Florida International University topped you guys in accounting school rankings this year tho..curious to see the CPA pass rates for FIU. 

    • Guest

      Passed exams per student:

      1. Wake (3.0)
      2. Vanderbilt (2.8)
      3. Truman (2.5)
      T-4. UVA (2.3)
      T-4. U of M – Ann Arbor (2.3)

      (don’t know where Duke and St. B’s would fall in this list)