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Best Bets to Prep for the CPA Exam

Best Bets to Prep for the CPA Exam

Dona DeZube, Monster Finance Careers Expert

September 03, 2009

You can do it online, in person or by watching a DVD. No, it’s not a close encounter of the personal kind — it’s preparing for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination.

Pass the CPA test, fulfill education and experience requirements, and you qualify as a CPA in the 50 states, Washington, DC, and the US territories.

However, the CPA exam is tough. More people fail than pass each of the exam’s four parts. According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the cumulative passing rates for each part in 2008 were:

  • Audit: 49.1 percent.

    * Business Environment and Concepts: 47.49 percent.

    * Financial Accounting and Reporting: 49.21 percent.

    * Regulation: 48.74 percent.

So how do you make sure you pass? Heed these tips for prepping for the CPA exam:

Choose Your Accounting Program Carefully

Before you enroll in a college accounting program, find out what percentage of its graduates pass the CPA exam, suggests William Parrott, associate professor of accounting at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa. “We have a very rigorous program,” he says. “The CPA exam scores [of our students] reflect that. The USF passing rate is number one in the country for graduates of the master’s in accountancy program.”