CPA Exam Advice
If you’re considering taking the CPA Exam, you’re probably already aware that it is difficult for many candidates to pass. In fact, the national pass rate of the CPA Exam is around 50%. Luckily, Surgent CPA Review is a great place to get CPA Exam advice and guidance. Our experts have been preparing CPA students to pass the exam for decades–and our candidates pass at nearly twice that national average pass rate! We are a great source for trusted CPA Exam advice, 1-on-1 success coaching, and a unique adaptive learning course to help you pass more reliably and with less study time.
If you have questions about the CPA Exam and how to go about testing, peruse some frequently asked questions that we’ve compiled from years of experience:
Q: What are the parts of the CPA Exam?
A: The CPA Exam is a four-part test that totals 14 hours total. The four sections are: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Regulation (REG), and Business Environment and Concepts (BEC). You have 18 months to score at least a 75 on each section in order to pass the CPA Exam.
A: The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) is responsible for administering and scoring the CPA Exam. Candidates take the exam at Prometric test centers. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) oversees content updates to the exam. In recent years, the AICPA has changed the test to focus more on analytical skills and evaluation, primarily through what are called Task-Based Simulations (TBS) and Document Review Simulations (DRS). These simulations (or “sims”) are designed to replicate real work scenarios that practicing CPAs will face. The rest of the test is comprised of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs). Simulations cover 50% of the total exam score.
Q: Can anyone sit for the CPA Exam?
A: There are requirements to take the exam, but because these can vary by state so it’s best to first verify your state’s requirements with your state board. Most states require a bachelor’s degree or at least 120 college credit hours to be eligible to take the exam. Many states require a certain number of credit hours in specific business and accounting subjects. Some states and jurisdictions allow you to take the CPA Exam outside of the U.S., but the eligibility requirements can vary. View requirements to sit for the CPA Exam as an international candidate.
Q: How difficult is the CPA Exam?
A: As mentioned above, the exam has changed in recent years, requiring different skills to pass it. In addition, as tax and accounting laws have changed, the amount of included content has grown quite a bit. As a result, CPA Exam pass rates have seen a steady decline. For many years, more than 50% of candidates passed. Now the AICPA individual sections average between 45% and 55% pass rates. Students very often pass one or two exam sections but are unable to pass all four within the required 18-month window.
Q: How can I increase my odds of passing the CPA Exam?
A: Because the CPA Exam is challenging and covers so much content, most candidates choose to get help from a CPA Exam prep course. While these courses used to feature in-classroom lectures, most popular CPA Prep courses are now online. The majority of these programs follow what is often called a “linear” learning approach meaning that the course is presented identically for each student. Basically, these courses suggest students study every topic, in order, from the first chapter to the last chapter, answering every question and watching every video. Becker CPA Review is a well-known example of this kind of traditional course that uses the linear study methodology.
Surgent CPA Review is a cutting-edge course that was designed differently, using adaptive learning technology to streamline the study process by personalizing study plans to each student’s performance. Rather than suggesting that students study every lecture, textbook, and test bank question, students use adaptive learning technology to focus their study time on the specific areas and topics they don’t yet understand. This has been proven to save hundreds of hours of study time, while better preparing students to pass.
Check out the links below for helpful material when deciding which course to buy and provide better overall understanding of the CPA exam process.