# CPA Exam First time pass rate

This topic contains 63 replies, has 45 voices, and was last updated by  wealthmanager3 4 years, 4 months ago.

Viewing 30 posts - 1 through 30 (of 64 total)
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• #157326

jmjones4
Participant

Hey,

I am just curious as to what the percentage is of people who pass this whole thing the first time? I know its pretty low, but I just wonder if anyone has an actual number of the people who only take each part once.

Thanks!

#340144

Bobbins
Participant

I am not 100% sure, but I think it is something like ~50% of applicants pass all 4 sections on their first try. I seem to remember reading something like that.

#340145

PursuitCPA
Participant

much lower bobbins

I wonder what the pass rates are for people who sat 3 or 4 times for 1 section??

#340146

CPA4AL
Participant

Pass rate for people passing all 4 parts on the first try is about 10% or less. Pass rates for each section is around 50%.

When you think about the odds, 50% x 50% x 50% x 50% is less than 10%.

I can’t remember if those stat’s come from the AICPA, Journal of Accountancy, or Becker…but I think that’s crazy!

#340147

The GaJone
Participant

Ok it’s definitely less than 50% but more than 10% guys. I don’t know the exact percentage but somewhere in the high 30’s is sticking out in my head for some reason.

#340148

zena
Participant

This is from one of Jeff’s posts: only 28% of those who sit for all four parts pass the first time. Find the whole thing at: http://www.another71.com/elijah-watt-sells/ – see under “Correction”

#340149

yes…it’s less than 30% first time pass rate.

45-50% of people who take a particular section pass it.

#340150

CapitalGains
Participant

Probably 20-30%. On a macro sale if you assume 50% pass the first time, you could likely use Bayes’ Theorem to extend the conditional probability to four variables, one for passing each section, given the probability that the other sections have been passed, etc.

#340151

DK
Participant

First timers pass rate is less 20%. Thats also according to one of the review courses.

#340152

ptmuldoon
Participant

Now that I can say I just passed my last section. I would its pretty low, under 25%. I studied pretty hard while working full time and having family at home. That said I passed FAR and REG the first time through, but needed 2 sitting each for BEC and AUD.

#340153

bbrowning911
Participant

Becker says less than 10% this is either in the Course review CD that you go through before you start studying, or in the beginning of FAR. Although I’m not sure that it makes sense to me, 4 tests at roughly 50%. 50%, 25%, 12.5%, 6.25%. Of course, that would mean that each individual persons chance of passing is completely random, like the flip of a coin. We know that this may be true for a person who has never taken a test before and we don’t know his/her study habits etc. However, if a person passes his/her first test, then the chances are probably higher than 50% (at least slightly), that he will pass the second, third, and forth. I would be willing to bet that the pass rate for the second exam, of people who passed their first exam, is substantially higher than 50%. Even if it were 75% for the remainder of the exams, the following would be more approximately the first time pass rate. 50%, 37.5%, 28.125%, 21%. I would venture to guess that this is more likely. But like I said, Becker says less than 10%.

#340154

tinkeltinkel
Participant

90% of people who have adequate time to study pass the first time.

#340155

Participant

ummm… no.

#340156

financeguy
Participant

I talked to someone on the phone at the CA state board of accountancy and they said it was somewhere around 10% as the first time pass rate for all sections.

#340157

AARON
Participant

45-51% chance each time you sit for a section.

Somewhere between 1-30% for all four parts on their first try.

#340158

tinkeltinkel
Participant

I think its comical when people compare the CPA exam to the Bar exam, medical exams, etc.

So many people take the cpa exam just to take it… never even pass one part, but they still go on to have successful careers in the accounting and finance world. Some people have to take it at their firm, some take it a few times and then decide to just flat out leave accounting, etc etc, and so on and so forth. I’m not saying this exam is easy by any mean.

How many people spend 5-8 years in undergrad/law school, and have to sit for the Bar exam more then twice.. and then just decide to leave the profession. These people are a lot more dedicated. Same thing with doctors. I’m not trying to take anything away from any diligent cpa studier, but come on people, there are 10000x more accountants than lawyers, doctors, etc. We are a dime a dozen, and all we need is a 4 years degree to take the exam, which our employer may or may not even require.

#340159

bbrowning911
Participant

TinkelTinkel. Bravo senor, excellent points all around, really swell job. Except the part about people going on to have extremely successful careers without passing the CPA exam (that really doesn’t add to your point about the CPA exam not stacking up against the other exams does it? It fact it does quite the opposite and is rather irrelevant to your point). Also, people taking the CPA exams, aren’t trying to be just “accountants” are they? They are trying to be CPA’s. So when you compare those numbers to people who are actual lawyers, I’m not really sure that the numbers are that staggering. For example the American Bar Association has 400,000 members, while the AICPA only has 350,000. http://www.aicpa.org/MediaCenter/FAQs.htm#aicpa_answer6 and http://www.abanet.org/about/home.html. Oh and also, most states require 5 years of college units, and those states that offer to allow you to sit for the exams with only 4 require extra experience. Oh and also, you don’t actually need law school to be a lawyer either, it’s called the Law Office Study Program (LOSP) where you can trade in your extra schooling for actual experience under an already licensed lawyer (sort of like the 4 year thing mentioned above that requires extra experience that some states offer). http://www.ehow.com/how_2377162_become-lawyer-going-law-school.html. Keep up the good work TinkelTinkel, I know I speak for everyone when I say that I find your thoughts to be extremely inspiring. Nothing says keep up the good work like “Quit complaining, the test is really easy. Just be glad you don’t have to take an actually hard test like the bar exam.” Now I’m not disagreeing with you about which test is harder, frankly, I wasn’t aware it was a competition nor am I aware why I should care about the Bar Exam at all as I am not actually in the process of taking it. However, unlike you, I will admit that my ignorance of the bar exam renders my opinions utterly useless and will not even purport to know a damn thing about it. But again, does it matter?

#340160

CPAWannaBe
Participant

Well said, bbrowning911!

#340162

TSword7
Participant

#340163

Participant

Really? I find it equally comical that “so many” people would pay our buddy Jon Corzine a boatload of money just to say that and pay the additional college costs for the ‘privelage and prestige’ of being fingerprinted, photographed, and patted down (OK,a little exaggeration there) and videotaped for four hours in a test center, for “nothing”

#340164

CPAWannaBe
Participant

I nearly tinkled on myself when I read that. Or is is “tinkeled”?

#340165

CPA4AL
Participant

Thank you bbrowning911 for your fabulous response! Well cited!

#340166

TheREAL_CPA_test
Participant

Ok. Looks like some of you have no clue what you are talking about. One response of, “…~50%” and another of over 30%. Granted, with the new testing process the numbers are up, devalueing those of us who tested all 4 parts at once.

So while a few of you are super proud of your first time passing–one section at at time and spread out over months, while it is an accomplishment, you did so by taking one part of the test at a time. That’s like claiming to have run a marathon but running 6.5 miles one week, 6.5 miles the next week, and so on for 4 weeks. Yes you ran 26 miles but not all at once. See how the numbers of succes grow as you make the challenge easier.

Take 2 full days and test all 4 parts and lets see how you do. Then you can brag.

#340167

Allyson
Participant

I think I smell troll.

#340168

herbert7890
Participant

@ TheREAL_CPA_test – Do you realize the breadth of content is probably 40-50% more per part than in the “paper exam”? That alone makes it equal to the paper exam. Nothing else to say here.

#340169

Allyson
Participant

When troll took the paper exam, there was no BEC either.

#340170

bammers2
Participant

@the’REAL’_CPA_test, I would have preferred taking the paper exam over 2 days than doing the CBT version, so take AND pass the computerized exam, THEN you can brag. How do ya like that one?

Comparing the paper exam to the computerized exam is like comparing apples to oranges to a certain degree and there’s no need to feel superior to those who took/passed one or the other. Get off your high horse and find some other way to stroke that fragile ego of yours.

#340171

herbert7890
Participant

Nice post bammers!

#340172

TheREAL_CPA_test
Participant

I just prefer to see the standard maintained rather than diluted. Shame on the AICPA for this. No doubt the change was driven to drive up revenue. More members means more revenue. Simplify the process and add to the “customer” base.

The selling point of the newer test is that the “breadth” of each section will compensate for the simplification fo the testing process. Sorry, but the ability to focus on one section only still does not compare to preparing for all. And the argument of breadth is pedestrian at best. The breadth was there before requiring the tester to prepare for it all.

So @herbert7890 and @bammers3, go play with your nerf ball and leave the leather to the pros.

#340173

Herbieherb
Participant

The old paper and pencil had Blaw and Pr was one whole part! So EZ!!

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