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Informative CPA Statistics!

Those who take on the CPA exam want useful tools and information that can help them better prepare. Looking at the times when people historically perform better provides insight and should help soon-to-be CPAs to develop a CPA exam study schedule.

CPA Exam Statistics Infographic

Sections of the CPA Exam

The Certified Public Accountant examination consists of four parts and 14 hours.

Auditing (AUD) – encompasses entire audit process: compilations, reviews, attestation assignments, and AICPA code of conduct

Business Environment (BEC) – operations, strategic management, economics, financial management, and information technology

Financial Accounting (FAR) – encompasses largest amount of information, focusing on key differences between IFRS and US GAAP

Regulation (REG) – encompasses federal taxation and business law, including ethics and professional responsibilities

All four sections must be passed within an 18-month period with a score of 75% or higher

CPA Pass Rates By Topic and Quarter – 2020

Auditing

QtrQtr Pass Rates
147.97%
265.29%
356.89%
447.50%

Average: 52.84%

  • Memorize the Audit Opinion – “Cheat Sheet” for entire section
  • Be familiar with Internal Control

Business Environment

QtrQtr Pass Rates
161.76%
276.92%
369.89%
460.77%

Average: 65.56%

  • Shortest test, 72 questions altogether
  • Prepare for Written Communication portion
    • Relevant, concise, organized

Financial Accounting

QtrQtr Pass Rates
146.37%
262.86%
355.67%
443.53%

Average: 49.98%

  • Statistically the hardest section to pass
  • Schedule extra study time

Regulation

QtrQtr Pass Rates
155.42%
275.97%
366.12%
458.00%

Average: 62.29%

  • Taxation questions comprise over 60% of questions
  • 3-hour test, good for building confidence

CPA Exam Tips

Review Course – 100% recommended to prepare for exam.

Don’t study using multiple choice questions only.

Complete a high-quality, accredited master’s program. The University of Scranton’s online Master’s in Accounting is ranked in the top 15 online degrees with the best CPA exam first-time pass rate.

Choose your strongest section to start. That’s the one most relevant to current work or recent course completion.

Create in-test timeline, detailing how long each section and question should take.

Studying to pass the CPA exam doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Just stick to an organized and action-based study plan, like the Wiley CPA Excel. Starting with your strengths while being aware of historical data will also help you pass.

Sources:

  • https://www.aicpa.org/becomeacpa/cpaexam/psychometricsandscoring/passingrates.htm
  • https://www.efficientlearning.com/cpa/
  • https://crushthecpaexam.com/first-cpa-exam-section/
  • https://rogercpareview.com/blog/10-little-known-facts-about-passing-cpa-exam
  • https://ipassthecpaexam.com/cpa-aud-exam/
  • https://www.accountingedu.org/top-15-masters-degree-programs-in-accounting-for-2018/