Common misconceptions about the CPA exam
December 20, 2021

6 Myths About the CPA Exam

The Certified Public Accounting (CPA) exam is an endeavour taken by many individuals hoping to break through into the accounting and finance industry. It is the golden standard of qualification when looking to become an accountant.

If you are in the midst of preparing for the CPA exam, you may have come across some common misconceptions about the exam process and wondered if there is any truth to them. Luckily for you, we will be debunking the top 6 myths about the CPA exam below so that you can rest assured in your knowledge as you prepare and study for the exam.

1. You have to be good at math

First and foremost, many people believe that in order to successfully pass the CPA exam, you need to excel in math. This is completely untrue and just as baseless and unfounded as the myth that accounting work is boring, draining, or dull. While numbers play a big part of the material, you will not be expected to do difficult equations off the top of your head or demonstrate a mathematical gift.

This is where Excel spreadsheets and calculators come in very handy. You don’t have to necessarily be good at math or even particularly enjoy it to pass the CPA exam or be successful in an accounting or finance career.

2. Most applicants fail the exam

Before you even take the CPA exam, you may have heard from others that it is difficult and hard to be successful. Don’t let these ideas fool you. Everyone who studies the material and prepares beforehand has a good, fighting chance.

According to the statistics from the American Institute of CPAs, the average pass rate can vary between 46%-56%. Different sections of the exam have different pass rates. Don’t let the myth that most people will fail the exam get you down, as this is simply untrue.

3. You can appeal if you barely failed

You may be wondering what happens if you fail the exam by only a small percentage. While it is true that there is an appeal process, it is highly unlikely that a failing grade will be changed to a passing one, even if the difference is small. So, don’t get your hopes up if you are thinking of appealing a failed grade.

4. Tackle the most difficult sections first

When it comes to the CPA exam strategy, you may have heard that if you start with the most difficult sections, then the rest of the exam will be easier. However, this is not entirely true, and can even be misleading. The difficulty level of each section depends on your particular strengths and your knowledge. 

What counts as difficult for one person can be easier for another. This is why you shouldn’t necessarily rely on the advice of others who have taken the exam. Each section is made to be equally as challenging as the next.

5. There is a curve for grading

The grading of the CPA exam is not curved. Each applicant is given an individual grade on his or her exam.

6. Each exam section is graded equally

When going into the CPA exam, it’s important to remember that each section is graded differently. Therefore, don’t expect to get the same score on each section and still pass. What is considered a passing grade in one section may not be the same in another. Also, remember not to depend entirely on one section to pass the entire exam. 

Many people believe falsely that if you can do well on the multiple choice questions, then you can pass solely on that. It’s never a good plan to rely heavily on one section without preparing adequately for the others. Thus, study well and review for all parts of the exam.

If you or someone you know is hoping to write the CPA exam in the future, it may be worthwhile to address some of these common myths and get educated on how the process really works. The more prepared you are, the better your results will be. This includes knowing what to expect about the exam’s format, passing rates, and the marking process. If you find yourself with questions about the exam, you can always contact the National Board for CPAs.

For more information on the CPA exam and our accounting employment agency in Ontario, please call AHK Accounting Recruiters at 833-399-1663 or contact us here. We have extensive knowledge and experience in the finance industry, and can help you get your foot in the door. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.