The Q2 cpa exam passing rates, the first for the revised exam, are in!  

Q2 2017


Comparing the numbers to the previous two quarters it looks as if the new exam, if not easier, is more suited to today’s CPA candidate.  I would tend to think it better reflects what candidates are learning or know from school and the working world.

  • FAR is still the toughest section by the numbers as it had the smallest increase.
  • AUD had the biggest gain – 9 points.  This was coming off a particularly down Q1 but it’s still significant.
  • BEC got a definite bounce which is interesting considering it added task-based simulations and gives 35% of the scoring to them while keeping the same amount and scoring weight to the written communication portion.  Combine those last two points with the fact that now 20-30% of this section is dedicated to analysis one would think it would be definitely more difficult now.  But, then again, at least in the past several years, it’s had the best passing rate.


2013 through Q2 2017



  • Looking at the yearly averages for the past several years compared with the first half of 2017, every section except AUD is on a continued downward trend.
  • It would seem then that the new exam is indeed tougher overall.
  • FAR, which is the only section to have a consistent decline since 2013, saw the biggest drop for the first half of this year thus retaining its title as The Biggest and Hardest Section of the exam for many.


  • The average passing rate for 2013 through 2016 is 49.53%
  • The average for the first half of 2017 is 47.79%

So, don’t feel bad if you have to retake a section or two.  The cpa exam pass rate is still below 50%.

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