CPA Exam Pass Rates How Hard is the CPA Exam?

how tough is cpa exam

To pass each section of the exam, you must score a minimum of 75. It’s important to understand that 75 doesn’t represent a percentage of the total questions you must answer correctly because questions are not weighted equally. The diagram below explains how the exam sections and different types of questions are weighted. Don’t let the low average pass rate for the CPA Exam discourage you. Our results make it clear that with the proper guidance, you can develop the skills and strategies that can help improve your chances of obtaining a CPA passing score. They also show that Becker is the best review course to prepare you for the big day.

Three Reasons to Become an Accountant

how tough is cpa exam

MCQs require critical thinking, too – especially when all the answers are closely related. Efficient time management before and during the day of examination is just as imperative as signing up for a good CPA review course. The three cores and three disciplines of the CPA exam each include both multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations.

how tough is cpa exam

Application and practice for MCQs

  1. Watt Sells award recipients obtain a cumulative average score above 95.50 across all 4 sections.
  2. Be smart and take more than just a glance at the CPA Blueprint taken out by AICPA every year before the exam.
  3. You get 4 hours to take each section of the exam, and each exam is broken down into 5 testlets (or sets of questions).
  4. In other words, the CPA Exam is a long exam, and this time investment makes every aspect of it that much harder.
  5. Our expert instructors will show you how to structure time for each exam part, providing valuable time-saving tips along the way.

Yes, the syllabus is neverending, and the time limit is constricting, but 50% of aspiring accountants do make it to the other side of the tunnel. Each section of the test has a duration of 4 hours, taking the total number of examination hours to a mind-boggling 16 hours total. The difficulty of the exam depends on several factors, primary among them being the candidate’s abilities – which are totally subjective. If you’re already studying, check out our free sample CPA Exam questions or demo. And if you’re in the market for a review course to help you pass the CPA Exam on your first try, take a look at how Gleim CPA Review stacks up against the rest.

CPA Exam Requirements

With that being said, the AICPA anticipates that the testing schedules will revert back to normal start in 2025. Amy Boyington is an Ohio-based freelance writer with degrees in English and education. As a lifelong learner is your business income subject to self herself, Amy enjoys researching and writing about colleges, degrees, and careers to help others navigate their educational paths. Each exam goes through a multi-step review process to ensure scoring accuracy.

Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP)

Learn all about how the CPA exam is graded by reading our free guide to CPA exam sections. Let’s talk about some of the main reasons CPA candidates find it so challenging. Instead, it’s worthwhile to speak to an exam coach or consider switching your CPA review course if you’re not seeing the results you’re looking for. That 18-month timeline allows you to try almost a dozen times. However, the costs quickly add up, and if your strategy is to “take it until you make it,” the CPA certification will become an expensive process. There are varying requirements to become a CPA and you may be on an alternate route.

On the other hand, not all sections of the CPA exam are going to be quite as rigorous. Most people report that the easiest part of the CPA exam is BEC. Business Environment and Concepts covers topics that are a lot more accessible than the minutiae of reporting and government operations.

All state jurisdictions will likely extend the credit period from 18 months to 30 months. CPA exam scoring weighs the scaled scores of multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations of each section equally at 50% of the total score. The only exception is the ISC discipline, in which multiple-choice questions make up 60% of the score and task-based simulations account for 40%.

As many as half of test-takers have to do this, so there are some options you can pursue. Keep in mind that it will add to your CPA exam costs each time you have to retake an exam section. You’ll also want to make sure you schedule your CPA exam dates with the 18-month time limit in mind, in case you need a retake. BEC’s relative ease is evidenced by its far higher passing rate. In 2019, nearly 60% of test-takers passed this section of the CPA exam. Each section uses a variety of question types, it is time-limited, and it utilizes multi-stage difficulties.