The CPA Exam: Is it Really Tough?
pass the Bar; CPAs pass the Uniform CPA Exam. How hard can it be? Well,
according to the California Board of Accountancy, approximately 16,000
people take the exam annually, but only about 2,700 new CPA licenses
are issued. Actually, this is good news because if it were easy to
become a CPA, the accompanying prestige and earning potential would be
Most candidates take a review
course before sitting for the exam. You can find several by searching
under “CPA exam review courses in California” on the internet. A review
course requires you to invest time and money, but come test day you’ll
know what to expect and have several test-taking strategies to
complement your vast body of professional knowledge. This alone can
help calm jittery nerves and ensure success.
CPA Exam is a 14-hour, computer-based test that spans multiple days. It
consists of four sections: business environment and concepts; auditing
and attestation; regulation; and financial accounting and reporting.
The exam is offered up to six days a week, during two
out of every three months throughout the year. Candidates can take any
one part of the exam at a time, and can take failed portions of the
test up to four times a year. Once a section is passed, most
jurisdictions require candidates to pass all remaining sections within
18 months to receive credit on the previously passed section(s).
The test is a mix of multiple choice
questions and case studies called “simulations” that will test
candidates’ accounting knowledge and skills using real life
The simulations also
serve as a type of writing test, requiring candidates to write
memoranda, letters to clients or other communications that an
entry-level CPA would write on the job.
CPA: The New MBA?
increased regulatory focus on business and the accounting profession
has led to skyrocketing demand for accountants over the past five
years. This demand has not only sent entry-level salaries higher, but
has also virtually assured job stability regardless of economic
It’s no surprise then that accounting has
become one of the most popular majors in colleges across the nation.
The number of accounting degrees awarded nationwide in 2003 jumped 11
percent from 2002, with some of the largest accounting programs in the
nation reporting huge enrollment increases.
University of Florida, which hosts the nation’s largest accounting
program, saw a 43 percent increase in enrollment between 2000 and 2003,
and the University of Illinois, one of the largest programs in the
country, saw a 76 percent increase in accounting master’s students from
2001 to 2004.