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2011 CPA Exam Pass Rates Aren’t *That* Bad


Well another year down, and that means another year of comparing CPA exam candidate performance to that of years' previous so the old folks can complain about how easy it was back in the day. The fine folks who own this domain and sign my checks were kind enough to provide me with a copy of the 2010 Candidate Performance book so I'll be digging through (read: making sense of) that data in the next couple weeks but for now, we've got the cumulative CPA exam performance for 2011.

Pass Rates 2011

I had to read it a couple times just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating it but it appears BEC boasts the highest pass rate this year. Yes, B-E-C. Sit with that for a minute. For many of you, BEC was the one exam you had to sit for more than once, and for some of you, you could brag about 2, 3 or even 4 trips to Prometric to beat that bad boy into submission. As suggested last quarter, a good guess as to why candidates did so well on BEC this year is thanks to the written communication section, which was moved out of FAR, REG and AUD and placed only into BEC at the beginning of the year. What this means for you guys taking BEC in 2012 is that you should start working on righting gud now. It doesn't take a poet to get the maximum number of points on written communication, just a friendly user of the English language.

Anyway, BEC's 47.13% was followed by 45.62% for AUD, 45.57% for FAR and 44.22% for REG. By comparison, AUD, FAR and BEC split a few hundreths of a percentage point off 47% in 2010 [PDF], with REG coming it at 50.66%. So, what happened? Are future CPAs better writers than originally suspected and hurting with the loss of written communication in those three sections?

Though the year started out pretty sad as far as CPA exam scores go – both in performance and time invested in waiting around for scores to be released – you guys finished hard. Congratulations. But seriously, do better next year.