Another71 CPA Exam Podcast
CPA Reviewed #84 – Is the CPA Exam Curved?
Transcript: What is happening, everyone? Welcome back to another action-packed edition of CPA Reviewed, the official podcast of another71.com. As always, I am your humble host Jeff Elliott, a licensed CPA in the state of Kansas by the grace of God and to the chagrin of many. Happy whatever today is. Happy Wednesday to you. This is episode 84. So, yeah, I've done 84 of these. If you wanna be on the podcast, go to another71.com. Click on the upper nav. Ask Jeff, and it will appear in a future edition of the podcast. If you want to jump to the front of the line, you can become a NINJA Monthly member, and NINJA Monthly member get their questions answered first. All right.
First up is Ninja Ashley. When you study for an exam, was there a specific or target number of multiple choice questions that you completed per day? I'm looking for a specific number if you have one. I currently set up blocks of questions by section. There are four blocks. Each block contains six sections in various orders. I selected my block order based on which sections I am strongest in and which sections I need to strengthen my proficiency. Based on the book, based on the block I shared, you can see that regulation sections two and six are my weaker sections. I would love your thoughts on my current process to get through multiple-choice questions and any general feedback to base my questions on and how many questions I should complete each night. Okay. So, I don't have a set number of multiple choice questions that you should do per day; however, the AICPA has said that the average CPA candidate spends two minutes per question on the exam. So that's under exam conditions, and that's when you are ready to roll on exam day, so. If it takes you two minutes to do a question per, or on exam day, then let's say it's going to take you maybe three, three and a half, four minutes per section, per question while you study, because you're taking notes, you're looking up for each answer explanation, and so, so, if you can do three minutes per question, that is 20 questions per hour, if you study three to four hours per day, so that's, like, 60 to 80 questions per day. So, while you're in the MCQ phase, you're spending two to two and a half weeks on your nonstop MCQ, you can pretty much budget what you're going to do there. So let's say any given section has 1,500 multiple choice questions. Well, you can do the math there. You should be doing, so I guess you should be doing 60 questions per day minimum, but I know some people do a lot. So we used to have the NINJA Weekend Challenge where people would do like 500 questions in a weekend. So that's over like two days. So you can do a lot more than 60. But, so, 60 questions, 60 CPA exam questions per day should be your minimum.
Ninja Claude writes in, I have exactly 30 days left before I take FAR, my first section, and my studying is somewhat improving, and I'm feeling a little better. But I have a question about the exam itself. Is it true that they want a certain number of people to pass each time it is administered so they might actually curve the scores down if too many people do well? I really wanna get through this thing my first try, and any further nuggets or tidbits would be appreciated, especially the ones that would stop me from getting something like a 74. Okay, is the CPA exam curved? I don't know. That's been one of those conspiracy theories that have been around for as long as I have been in exam land, which is over 10 years, so. You know, when you look at the pass rates, they are like, for FAR, they're about 45, 47, 49%, pretty much every time. Does the AICPA curve them through the psychometric formulas? I don't know. Does that impact how you study? Not at all, and if you fail, does that give you license to blame the fact that you've been curved down? No, because in any given exam section, 50% pass, 50% fail, give or take, and you just need to study really hard,