The official name of the CPA Exam is the Uniform CPA Examination. The exam is computer-based and comprised of questions developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), a national organization. Passing the CPA Exam meets one of several requirements for becoming a licensed certified public accountant.
Most state boards of accountancy require candidates to complete (or be close to completing) 150 semester college credits before they can take the exam. Within the 150 credits there must be a minimum of a bachelor's degree along with specified accounting and business courses from a college that the state board of accountancy recognizes as being accredited.
The CPA Exam is considered to be one of the most difficult professional licensing exams. Even though candidates are allowed to take just one section at a time, the CPA Exam is so rigorous that nearly half of the candidates sitting for any given section of the exam will receive a failing score.
To fully appreciate the difficulty of the CPA Exam, remember that it is a select group of bright accountants who are experiencing these low pass rates. The people taking the CPA Exam have:
A minimum of 150 college credits that include very challenging accounting courses with high grading standards.
A keen aptitude for and a strong interest in accounting.
Prepared themselves for the exam often by taking formal CPA Exam review courses and/or studying review materials.
It is a sobering statistic that nationally only 45-63% of candidates who attempt any given section of the CPA Exam will achieve a passing score. If your goal is to become a certified public accountant, the low pass rates emphasize the importance of a rigorous, high-quality, college accounting program. See our discussion under Accounting Degrees.
Some facts about the CPA Exam:
A strategy for attaining a passing score on each section of the CPA Exam must include a disciplined and aggressive study plan.
CPA Exam review courses and materials will help you develop:
We compiled the following alphabetical list of links for eight of the many CPA exam review courses and materials that are available. We have not reviewed any of these review courses and we do not receive any compensation from them.
CPA Review Courses