We all know the CPA exam is hard. But what are the real pass rates and statistics? We need to know!
We’ve compiled a listing of CPA pass rates and percentages to give you an idea of what you’re up against. Ultimately, though, you shouldn’t take these stats too seriously. If you’re putting in the time and effort that you need, you’re going to pass.
Individual CPA Pass Rates
As I’m sure you know, there are four individual exams that make up the CPA exam: AUD, BEC, FAR and REG. Passing rates for each exam have varied slightly over the last few years, but for the most part, they hover somewhere around 50% on average.
BEC consistently has a higher passing percentage, so if you’re someone who likes an early emotional boost, taking BEC first might be for you. FAR and AUD typically bounce back and forth for lowest percentage passing rate. So far this year, AUD has the lead by .01%.
The cumulative individual rates during this year as noted by the AICPA are below:
Passing All Four Parts Of The Exam
Individual pass rates are great for when we’re going into the exam, but what we’re really after is our chances of passing the entire exam. Because that’s what really matters.
The best I can find on this is 2014 data. In 2014, 25,643 candidates passed their 4th section of the exam. Since there were 91,384 candidates who took the exam, that’s about a 28% chance of passing all four sections. This is a rough estimate that doesn’t take all the factors into account, but you can expect somewhere around a 1 in 4 chance of passing your CPA exam.
Passing All Four Parts On The First Try
Apparently, there are hard statistics on CPA exam pass rates, but you have to purchase them, which is something you can feel free to do. To give you a quick overview though, in 2010, around 13,000 people passed all four parts of the exam with only 4 attempts. Since there were around 131,000 people who took the exam that year, around 10% passed all four parts on the first try.
This doesn’t take into account people who started taking the exam in 2009 and finished in 2010 or people who started in 2010 and ended in 2011. So the statistics should, in theory, be slightly higher.
Why Statistics Don’t Really Matter
Here’s the thing about looking at statistics: they have no real bearing on how you study for the exam. If you’re putting the time and effort into understanding the materials, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be in that 10%.
You should take these statistics worth a grain of salt and continue studying. Don’t let them get to you; just play your game and pass those exams one at a time. You got this!