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CPA Exam Pass Rates [Updated for 2019]

The CPA Exam pass rates, which average about 50%, are one of the most intriguing aspects of the CPA certification process. The AICPA releases the pass rate for each exam section once a quarter. These percentages reveal how well candidates who sat for the CPA Exam during the previous exam testing window performed. Historically, the average CPA Exam pass rate for each section ranges between 45-55%. But the pass rates shouldn’t discourage you, because they don’t mean you can’t pass.

Candidates, review providers, and other individuals invested in the CPA industry try to read the pass rates like tea leaves. They look to these 4-digit percentages to divine the future of their success with the exam. 

CPA Exam Pass Rates Release

As you may recall, CPA candidates can only sit for the CPA Exam during the 4 annual testing windows. The testing windows are open during the first 2 months and the first 10 days of the third month of every quarter. Usually, the AICPA gives the CPA Exam scores for a testing window to the state boards and NASBA on several score release dates each quarter. But the AICPA only publishes the pass rates for that testing window in the following quarter. Pass rates from 2006 to the present used to accompany the latest pass rates. But now, the AICPA’s pass rates web page only features the current year’s pass rates.

2019 CPA Exam Pass Rates

SectionFirst QuarterSecond QuarterThird QuarterFourth QuarterCumulative
AUD48.56%   48.56%
BEC58.00%   58.00%
FAR44.43%   44.43%
REG50.23%   50.23%

2018 CPA Exam Pass Rates

SectionFirst QuarterSecond QuarterThird QuarterFourth QuarterCumulative
AUD49.27%54.70%51.07%48.54%50.97%
BEC56.43%60.31%60.17%60.13%59.35%
FAR41.59%49.17%48.85%44.57%46.22%
REG49.99%55.75%56.55%50.22%53.16%

2017 CPA Exam Pass Rates

SectionFirst QuarterSecond QuarterThird QuarterFourth QuarterCumulative
AUD43.47%52.00%52.15%47.69%48.59%
BEC50.39%55.09%55.35%55.33%52.99%
FAR43.14%43.76%47.58%42.50%44.42%
REG46.10%48.32%49.31%45.89%47.24%

2019 CPA Exam Pass Rate Facts

This year is already off to a great start when it comes to 2019 CPA Exam pass rates. Several of the CPA Exam sections are already putting up higher pass rates in 2019 than they did for the same time in 2018. When we hold the 2019 CPA Exam pass rates up to pass rates of the more distant past as well, we can make these observations:

Q1 AUD CPA Exam Pass Rate

  • The AUD Q1 2019 pass rate was 5.09% higher than the Q1 2017 pass rate but .71% lower than the Q1 2018 pass rate.
  • The Q1 2019 AUD pass rate was the only Q1 2019 CPA Exam pass rate to be lower than its corresponding 2018 pass rate.
  • However, AUD’s Q1 pass rate for 2019 was the second highest AUD Q1 pass rate since 2006 (when the AICPA first recorded CPA Exam pass rates online). Only the Q1 2018 pass rate was higher.
  • The Q1 2019 AUD pass rate supplanted the Q4 2018  AUD pass rate as the 17th highest overall AUD pass rate in the last 13 years.
  • The next highest AUD pass rate was the 48.54% from Q4 2018, which was .02% lower.

Q1 BEC CPA Exam Pass Rate

  • The 2019 Q1 BEC pass rate was higher than both the Q1 2018 and Q1 2017 BEC pass rates. It surpassed the 2018 Q1 pass rate by 1.57% and the Q1 2017 pass rate by a whopping 7.61%.
  • This was the highest BEC Q1 pass rate in the last 13 years.
  • The Q1 2019 BEC pass rate was the 7th highest BEC pass rate overall.
  • The next highest BEC pass rate was a 57.9% from Q3 2014.

Q1 FAR CPA Exam Pass Rate

  •  The 2019 Q1 FAR pass rate was also higher than the pass rates for the same quarter in 2018 and 2017. This FAR pass rate rose above the corresponding 2018 pass rate by 2.64% and the 2017 pass rate by 1.09%.
  • This pass rate was the 6th highest FAR Q1 pass rate in the last 13 years.
  • The Q1 2019 FAR pass rate was only 38th highest overall FAR pass rate in almost a decade and a half.
  • The next highest FAR pass rate was a 44.27% from Q2 2011.

Q1 REG CPA Exam Pass Rate

  • The REG Q1 2019 pass rate was last but not least because it was one of the 3 CPA Exam pass rates for this quarter that was higher than the same quarter pass rates of 2017 and 2018. REG’s 2019 Q1 pass rate was .24% higher than its 2018 Q1 pass rate and 4.13% higher than the 2017 Q1 pass rate.
  • Furthermore, this was the highest Q1 REG pass rate since 2006.
  • The REG Q1 2019 pass rate was also the 14th highest REG pass rate overall in almost 15 years.
  • The next highest REG pass rate was the 50.22% from Q4 2018

Conclusion:

Here are the 2019 CPA Exam pass rates. Hope that the above article is helpful to you in your CPA exam preparation. If you have any queries, feel free to comment in the section below. Happy Learning!

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