When preparing for the CPA Exam there can be a lot of misconceptions about what to expect. On top of general performance anxiety, these common misconceptions can be a recipe for disaster. The best thing to do is take a deep breath, review these myths to ensure you’re adequately engaging with your study materials, study hard, and review a sample exam so you can get a real feel for the actual CPA exam experience.

  1. There is a curve when it comes to grading the completed exams – FALSE. 
    Every test is graded individually, therefore, giving every applicant an individual score.
  2. Not many applicants of the CPA exam successfully pass the exam – FALSE
    According to the AICPA or The American Institute of CPAs, the average pass rate varies by part between 46% and 56% depending on the section of the CPA Exam. Business Environment and Concepts or BEC typically has the highest passing rate, while Financial Accounting and Reporting or FAR typically has the lowest.
  3. There is an appeal process for barely failing grades on the exam – FALSE. 
    There is an appeal process, but since the implementation of a computerized grading system, the chance of an appeal changing a failing grade to a passing grade is only about 1%.
  4. As long as you get 75% of each exam section’s questions correct then you should pass the exam – FALSE.
    Each of the four exam sections is graded differently in accordance with its difficulty level.
  5. If you pass the multiple choice section you have a greater chance of passing the exam entirely – FALSE.
    While this isn’t completely untrue, it is not a very wise decision to place so much faith on one section of the CPA exam alone.
  6. The results of your CPA exam will not be given to you right away – FALSE.
    The uniform CPA examination results are released based on a score release timeline. Score release dates occur after the testing window has closed. The CPA exam results for each respective testing window have roughly the same time release dates everywhere, which usually occurs during the second week of the closed testing window month.
  7. If you take the most difficult section of the CPA exam first then the rest of the exam content will be a breeze – FALSE.
    No one section is particularly harder than the next. Difficulty is relative to your level of confidence and knowledge on the subject of the exam section. Each section requires the same amount of effort and study with a reputable CPA review course to be done well.

Do not believe every rumor you hear about the CPA examination. If you’re unsure about any information regarding score release, testing windows, eligibility requirements, or general questions on one exam section or the entire exam, contact either the AICPA, NASBA, or your respective State Board of Accountancy. They have the ability to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Have more questions? Ask our experts anything you need to know to help you along your path from CPA candidate to Certified Public Accountant!

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