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Here’s How International Candidates Fared On the CPA Exam in 2011

Great news, folks, I have the brand new 2011 NASBA Candidate Performance book in my hands as of yesterday and have to tell you, I'm pretty excited about this new and improved version. It's substantially thicker than the last version (size does matter and don't let anyone tell you otherwise), which means it's packed with way more data to dig through (try not to get too excited). Sexists, xenophobes and overly enthusiastic college alumni should be able to find tons of interesting information relevant to their interests that will keep them busy for months. Well, at least I'll be busy for months.

Remember that while I'm sure NASBA does their best to make sure accurate information makes it way into this book for those of us actually interested in these numbers, some data is voluntary or self-reported, leaving a lot of room for error. So please don't go basing your entire life on these statistics.

While I planned on hitting California performance first, I found the section on international CPA exam candidate performance to be much more intriguing for our inaugural 2011 CPA exam stats post. This data is new to the 2011 version, obviously, as the exam only went international mid last year. Let's take a look at how candidates sitting for the exam in other countries did last year:

  • Bahrain had 93 candidates who sat for 164 sections for a pass rate of 31.1%, the lowest of international exam-takers sitting outside of the U.S. The average score was 65.6.
  • Japan sent the highest number of candidates at 898 (no shock there, they also send more candidates to take the exam in the U.S. than many U.S.-based colleges each year) and took 1,749 sections for a pass rate of 35.1% and an average score of 66.8. Interestingly, of all international candidates, Japanese candidates were the oldest on average at 35.7.
  • Kuwait sent 66 candidates who sat for 118 exams for a pass rate of 64.4%, the highest pass rate of all candidates sitting for the exam outside of the U.S. In fact, candidates from Kuwait performed better than every U.S. jurisdiction. By comparison, the best performing CPA exam jurisdiction in the U.S. – Utah – pulled a pass rate of 57.4% overall.
  • Lebanon sent 176 candidates to 333 exams for a pass rate of 52% with an average score of 70.7.
  • Lastly, United Arab Emirates had 371 candidates who sat for 705 sections for a pass rate of 43.3% and an average score of 68.4.

Stay tuned for more.


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