It’s no secret that the CPA exam is one the most difficult professional licensing tests to pass. Even though candidates are permitted to take just one section at a time, the CPA Exam is so complex that nearly 50% of candidates receive a failing score for each section. But have no fear, if you follow a rigorous study schedule, you can successfully pass the CPA exam.
Exam Pass Rate
So is the CPA exam hard? According to the statistics, it’s really tough. Overall in 2011, the CPA exam cumulative rates for each section were relatively low (as follows). In order to pass, you need to get 75% or over.
45.26% – Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
47.13% – Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
45.57% – Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
44.22% – Regulation (REG)
Preparing for the CPA
Many candidates are asking those who have passed, “how hard is the CPA exam?” Since everyone learns differently, the only way to pass is to prepare and practice. So how long should you study? Typically, you should prepare a study schedule at least three months before your scheduled exam. During the three months, set aside blocks of time that you solely dedicate to studying. Keep in mind that there is only a 30% pass rate for each section of the CPA exam and most candidates don’t pass all four sections on their first try. But don’t feel discouraged, many candidates have to re-take sections of the CPA exam before passing it in the end.
The moment you take your first exam, you have an 18 month test window in which you have to pass all four sections of the CPA exam. So how hard is the CPA exam to pass within this time frame? It’s difficult if you don’t study consistently. If you don’t pass all four sections within 18 months, your credit will be lost for the first section you passed. But you get a renewal of another 18 months and the cycle continues until you pass all four parts of the exam. Keep in mind that if you take the exams at a slower pace you risk losing your credits and that means you will have to pay the fees again and retake passed exams.
Preparing with a CPA Review Course
With so much at stake, it is imperative to purchase a CPA exam review course. There are several types of CPA exam classes available, from participating in live seminars to studying online or using self-study text books. Choosing the right review course for you will mean less study time and a higher pass rate. If you need help on choosing a CPA exam review course, check out my reviews here.
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