U.Va. students score high on CPA exam

The University tied for 22nd nationally in performance on the Certified Public Accountant exam, according to recently released statistics from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

The 2006 edition of "Candidate Performance on the Uniform CPA Examination" ranked schools based on pass rate and divided the results based on the degree qualifications of candidates. The University tied with the University of Kentucky among students without advanced degrees. The only other Virginia university to place in the top 25 was James Madison University, which was ranked 25th.

NASBA spokesperson Kim Ellis said the pass rate of University students without advanced degrees was 47.8 percent, compared to the national pass rate of 29.95 percent among similarly qualified students.

Prof. Whit Broome said he was not surprised by the University's ranking, noting that the ranking reflects the quality of the University's accounting program.

"I think the way we educate students here really prepares them for future challenges, including the CPA exam," Broome said.

The exam is divided into four sections: Financial Accounting and Reporting, Auditing and Attestation, Regulation and Business Environment and Concepts. Candidates can take the sections separately and all are computerized.

"It's certainly a serious examination that requires a lot of study, time and dedication," Ellis said.

Broome said the fact that University students do much of their learning on their own enhances their performances.

"This makes them more confident on the exam," he said.

Ellis said a school's pass rate can be influenced by other variables.

"I think the pass rate depends a lot on when candidates take the exam," Ellis said, adding that "you always have students who take away a whole lot more from a class than others."

Broome added that University students are naturally very talented.

"We simply add a little bit to what's already a great skill set," Broome said.

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