Is the CPA Exam too hard?

For anyone who is currently studying for the CPA exam or looking to take it in the future, you know how difficult the exam can be. The national average pass rate is only in the 50 percentile. That means that more than half of the candidates will fail the exam every single quarter. Some people have argued that having an exam this difficult it too restrictive and doesn’t allow average accountants to become certified public accountants. Others think that these strict requirements actually help the profession because it only allows the best of the best into the industry.

Both of these arguments have merit. On one hand, the exam needs to be difficult in order to restrict the people who shouldn’t be certified in the first place. This barrier to entry weeds out the runts and people who aren’t disciplined enough to take on the exam. On the other hand, does the exam need to be this difficult. Do we as a profession really need to fail half of the candidates?

The answer is yes. The test does need to be that difficult because it teaches candidates the skills of discipline and control. Will everyone remember everything they learned while they were studying? No. But they will remember how they got there. They will remember the drive, determination, and discipline that it took to sit down and study for 3 hours a night. This skill can only be taught through experience and it gives the profession a better reputation and standing in the community.

In short, the exam is tough. Man up and do what it takes to pass. Once you have, you will feel the sense of accomplishment that all of us CPAs have after we passed. Good luck!