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You Have a 1 in 5 Chance of Passing All 4 CPA Exam Parts on the First Try

I've been talking to NASBA, you know. Mostly because I need some clarification on 2010 CPA exam data before I share it with you, my little CPAs, but also because I want to know how many of you passed all four parts of the CPA exam the first time through.

This comes from James Suh, NASBA Director of Training, Analytics and Quality:

In 2010, 12,892 people passed their 4th section with only 4 attempts (1 attempt per section). Because the exams often take place in multiple years getting a true first time pass rate for all 4 sections is not as easy but I would estimate the number to be somewhere around 20%. Interesting fact, 2 people passed all 4 sections on their first attempt with an average score of only 75.5 in 2010.

What I wouldn't give to hear from those two candidates who barely scraped by with 75.5s to pass all four parts on their first attempt.

To put that in context, 131,158 unique candidates sat for the CPA exam in 2010. That's 68,307 AUD exams, 83,818 BEC exams, 71,519 FAR exams and 61,541 REG exams. 52,258 candidates sat for the exam for the first time in 2010 across the four sections.

Now, when you think of it in terms of 20%, that means you have a 1 in 5 chance of passing all four parts on the first try. Of course, "chance" probably isn't the best term as well-prepared candidates are far more capable of actually tackling all four parts on the first shot than those of you who use the "pray and hope" method of studying but whatever.

I'm sorry, was that supposed to be inspiring?