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Here Are Some Random CPA Exam Facts You Didn’t Know You Wanted

It seems everyone is taking off of work this week (at least half my neighbors are) and unless the DoJ decides to bust a huge fraud in the next two days, I got nothing.

So you guys get bizarre CPA exam statistics that you may or may not care about.

All of these are courtesy the 2011 Candidate Performance book from NASBA (2010 CPA exam data), feel free to throw them around with your lawyer friends who think the bar was way harder than the pansy ass CPA exam:

The Virign Islands? – Yes, the Virgin Islands. Only two candidates tested in the Virgin Islands as repeat candidates in 2010. They each took FAR, while one also took AUD and the other REG. The candidate who took REG passed, one of them passed FAR and AUD was failed. It is unclear if the candidate who passed FAR also passed REG and it is impossible to tell from the data. This gives the Virgin Islands a 50% repeat pass rate. For first-time candidates in the Virgin Islands, five sat; two for BEC, two for FAR and one for REG. This is where the data gets weird. It shows a 50% pass rate for REG but if only one candidate sat for it, how could they half pass? NASBA gives the Virgin Islands a 20% pass rate for first-time candidates, which makes sense but only if REG is 100% since the one candidate who sat for it apparently passed (everyone else failed).

Another reason that Delaware is awful – Of the contiguous 48 states, Delaware had the worst first-time pass rate at 35.9%. Maine came in a close second at 38.5%.

California is a big, big deal – California was the largest NASBA jurisdiction of 2010, with 8,213 candidates sitting for the exam as repeat candidates in that state. BEC was the most popular exam for retakes, with 5,596 BEC exams administered that year. 36.8% of California candidates taking BEC as a repeat passed. 12,161 unique candidates sat for the exam for the first time in California in 2010. 7,531 of them took BEC and 51.7% passed. California ranked 36th of all NASBA jurisdictions for overall first-time CPA exam pass rates, and 28th for repeat candidates.

Overachievers – Utah had the highest overall first-time pass rate at 65.9%, followed by North Dakota, Kansas, Michigan and Wisconsin. Go Badgers.

Here's one that will really irritate our friend Big4Veteran – Of advanced degree, first-time candidates, the highest ranking school for the highest number of candidates sitting for the exam was University of Phoenix with 262 candidates sitting for 554 exams. What's #6? Keller Graduate School, with 143 (that's code for "I love you") unique candidates sitting for 295 exams.

Wake Forest has something in the water – Wake Forest dominated first-time pass rates, with 96% of its 217 exams taken passed. Of the 60 Wake Forest candidates who sat for the exam, only 9 exams were failed. Candidates took an average of 3.77 exams. That is bad ass.

Ditto for James Madison – Candidates from JMU with advanced degrees performed the best among first-time candidates, with 94.1% of its 111 exams taken passed. 34 candidates only failed 7 exams.