CPA exam pass rates

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CPA Exam Pass Rates For 2019 Are Off to an Excellent Start

Whenever big CPA exam changes hit, some folks rush and try to get it done before the changes take effect. We saw this in 2010 with the pending implementation of CBT-e, a revamped “version” of the CPA exam that served little-to-no purpose other than getting CPA exam candidates worked up like a pack of untrained […]

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REG Changes Are Coming Right After Santa; Here’s What CPA Exam Candidates Need to Know

Do you remember December 2017? You know, back when “The Last Jedi” premiered (RIP, Carrie Fisher) and BTS was blowing up Twitter (“Mic Drop”)? Yeah, me neither. But one important event happened in December 2017: the signing of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) into law. This new tax law was last year’s early Christmas present […]

Let’s Talk About Those 2014 CPA Exam Pass Rates

The final tallies are in, all the BEC written communications have been skimmed for proper grammar, and the last 74s of 2014 have been posted. So, how did you all do this year? Let's see. Wow, a lot of you just phoned in that 4th quarter, didn't you? Ah well, it happens. Compared to last […]

CPA Exam Candidates Are (Still) Totally Killing It On the Exam

As you already know, today is July 1st which means two things: one, my rent is due; two, it's the first testing day of the third quarter. For those of you who have been putting off taking the CPA exam due to New Year's hangovers, busy season, and nice weather, now is the time to […]

CPA Exam Candidates Are Totally Killing It On the Exam

So, what gives? Are you guys studying more? Actually using those fancy apps? Doing more than highlighting and praying? If your tin foil hat is tightly strapped to your head, you might just think demand is higher for CPAs than it's ever been so that's why more are you are passing but what sort of […]

CPA Exam Pass Rates Basically Went Right Off the Cliff at the End of 2013

Your final tally of CPA exam pass rates for 2013 has been calculated. Way to go, end of the year procrastinators! Jeff at Another71 compared these to last year's and really, it isn't that bad. You guys are still killing it in BEC which either means you're studying harder or they finally made BEC easier […]

On This, The Eve of the Last CPA Exam Testing Window of 2013…

Holy crap, it's almost October already. OCTOBER. I don't know about where you are, but over here in Richmond it's as swampy as ever and that makes me feel like we're still lingering in the longest, most obnoxious summer ever. But that's beside the point. According to the calendar, it's still almost October. What that […]

Let’s Not Pretend That All Accounting Programs Are of Wake Forest’s Caliber

Here we have yet another article about how plentiful accounting jobs are, with Huffington Post using Wake Forest as an example this time. Which is totally appropriate because Wake Forest doesn't have a freakishly successful accounting program or anything. In "College Degrees With High Placement Rates," Scott Willyerd shares the fantastic news: Due to the nature of […]

Here’s the Real Reason Why CPA Exam Pass Rates Are Up

Sunil Kumar wrote a piece called "CPA Exam Passing Rates and CPA Salaries on the Rise" for Accounting Today the other day that offers up a few theories on why CPA exam pass rates are up these days. Among Kumar's ideas why numbers are up: Pre-2003, the CPA exam was a pen and paper exam […]

CPA Exam Pass Rates Are Up… WAY Up

Alright, so what did you all do to turn this ship around? This is a huge departure from the embarrassing early 2011 performance we saw around this time last year, what gives? Comparing this with last year, it's clear there's some good CPA exam mojo in the water these days: On a cummulative basis, candidates […]

Recruiting: “There Is No Need to be Bitter”

Lifted from the comments in response to someone who pointed out the Big 4 don't make a habit of overstaffing Meet the Firms at University of Illinois at Chicago – that's if they show up at all: There is no need to be bitter because that is the way it is. Unfortunately firms still go […]

Do Older Students Automatically Do Better on the CPA Exam?

A tipster would like an answer to the following: Why are the students at Thomas Edison State College are scoring better on the CPA exam than the average bears? According to Susan P. Gilbert, Ph.D., (Dean of the School of Business and Management at TESC): they are self directed, more discriminating due to age, and […]

Here’s How You All Did on the CPA Exam in the First Quarter of 2012

NASBA has released the Q1 CPA exam data for 2012 and I have to say… uh… well… it's not as bad as last year around this time, I guess. Of 40,709 candidates who sat in Q1, 45.5% of the exams taken were passed. 2012 Q1 Candidate Performance Read all about it from NASBA (PDF).

You Have a 1 in 5 Chance of Passing All 4 CPA Exam Parts on the First Try

I've been talking to NASBA, you know. Mostly because I need some clarification on 2010 CPA exam data before I share it with you, my little CPAs, but also because I want to know how many of you passed all four parts of the CPA exam the first time through. This comes from James Suh, […]

CPA Exam Pass Rates (Mostly) Up For the Third Quarter

According to the AICPA, the news from the CPA exam front lines isn’t all that bad.


Did I read that right? BEC has the highest pass rate?!

Satan definitely ice skated to work on the day this data came out. Nice work, people.

Turns Out You Don’t Have to Go to a “Real” College to Do Well on the CPA Exam

The great thing about accounting is that unlike law, you don’t have to go to a top school to have a successful career. While it helps to be in front of Big 4 recruiters at the major accounting schools if that’s the route you want to take, here’s a little proof that you can easily get through the CPA exam even if your educational background is comprised solely of community college. At least in Texas.

The Texas State Board of Accountancy recently released its list of top CPA exam pass rates among Texas colleges and universities and it turns out a community college is among the University of Texas and Texas A&M.

The University of Texas at Austin had a 75 percent pass rate (it is unclear if that is a first-time pass rate or what) while the Austin Community College came in 10th with 53 percent. Other schools on the list were Texas A&M, Baylor University and Texas Tech.

ACC was the only community college to make the list. Their CPA program currently has about 400 students.

ACC Dean of Business Studies David Quinn told KUT News that ACC has made the list every year except one since the school became accredited in 2002.

“I’m very proud of our faculty and our students in our professional accounting program,” he said. “They’ve proven time and time again that they can do as good of a job as the best universities in the State of Texas.”

If you’re interested, you can dig through the results from the TX Board here.

Q1 CPA Exam Pass Rates Worst in Three Years

Jeff shared some pretty depressing news on Another71 yesterday, it looks like pass rates are down. Way down:

Auditing and Attestation:
2009 Q1: 47.61%
2010 Q1: 46.86%
2011 Q1: 43.88%

AUD passing rates are down 7.8% over 2009 and 6.4% over 2010.

Business Environment and Concepts:
2009 Q1 46.23%
2010 Q1: 46.59%
2011 Q1: 42.32%

BEC passing rates are down 8.5% over 2009 and 9.2% over 2010.

Financial Accounting and Reporting:
2009 Q1 45.54%
2010 Q1: 44.95%
2011 Q1: 42.43%

FAR passing rates are down 6.8% over 2009 and 5.6% over 2010.

Regulation:
2009 Q1: 47.96%
2010 Q1: 49.00%
2011 Q1: 41.28%

REG passing rates are down 13.9% over 2009 and 15.8% over 2010.

What’s strange about this is that REG was the section least changed in CBT-e, leading us to wonder if some CPA exam candidates were, in fact, better at written communication than they thought. Taking these easy 10 points out of FAR, AUD and REG could have something to do with the first quarter’s awful scores, or it could be that candidates were not familiarized enough with the new format to do smashingly this time out.

One commenter on Another71 said “I took REG and felt like I studied for the wrong exam when I saw the questions,” which I’ve heard a lot about BEC but never about REG. In fact, for the last four years I have consistently told candidates that REG is the easiest for some candidates simply due to the cut-and-dry nature of tax and business law. It is not as large and all-encompassing as FAR, nor does it require all the extensive calculations. But this information could be game-changing.

The other strange fact here – and I have no specific numbers on this, going on my perception based on comments I have received from candidates who tested last quarter – is that for those who did pass, it seemed like many of them scored in the high 80s and 90s, as opposed to the usual large number of 75 – 79s like I usually see from passing candidates. Since I didn’t actually aggregate any real data, it’s hard to say whether or not this is an important point to mention. Perhaps I’ll try harder next quarter to get some actual numbers.

It’s also important to recall my conversation with the AICPA earlier this year when we discussed the possibility of changing the passing score in 2011. The exact statement was “In terms of the score reported to candidates, right now the passing score on that reported scale is a 75 and it’s going to remain there because we want to have consistency over time” from John Mattar, Director of Psychometrics and Research. What I took that to mean was that a 75 last year may or may not be the same as a 75 last year, which could explain why more candidates missed the mark this time around.

What do you think?