All of the examinable content for your exam is taken directly from your study guide

Every question in your exam is checked for fairness, clear phrasing, and relevance to your study guide. Watch this short video to see how your exam is developed.

How your CPA Program exam is developed
Find out how your CPA Program exam is put together.

We don’t set the pass mark – members do

Pass marks are set by members. When a subject or exam goes through a significant change or update we assemble a specialist panel of CPAs for each subject – and it is this panel who set the pass mark.

It is the responsibility of the panel to understand the subject content, exam questions and the minimum acceptable competency in the subject, to determine a reasonable passing scaled score for that subject. We often hear feedback that this results in “existing members making it harder for new members to pass” and this just isn’t the case. The process ensures that the quality standards are upheld and that a CPA today exemplifies the same standards as a CPA who graduated previously.

Exams are stringently marked by CPAs and industry specialists

Marking exams is something we take very seriously. Watch the short video below to meet the people and processes responsible for ensuring the integrity and security of your exam.

Marking your CPA Program exam
Our new video demystifies the exam marking process and introduces you to the people and processes responsible for ensuring the accuracy, integrity and security of the CPA Program exams. Watch it today.

We do not fail a set percentage of candidates every semester

The simple truth is this: If you meet or exceed the passing scaled score, you pass. And if each and every candidate met the passing score, then we’d pass everyone.

If our failure rates seem to be at a consistent percentage each semester, it’s purely that a similar number of members have not met the passing score.

We make no apologies for demanding a high standard from our Associate members. Becoming a CPA is a mark of your professional expertise and so we do expect you to demonstrate a high competency in your exam.

Demystifying the process for special consideration

There’s lots of information on our website about special consideration, but we often hear feedback that members don’t know how to apply and aren’t sure of the process that takes place once you’ve applied. The key facts for you to know about special consideration are:

  1. You must have a valid reason, which are set out on our website.
  2. Your exam scaled score must fall within a pre-determined range which is an extremely narrow band below the passing score. If your scaled score fell well below the passing scaled score, it’s unlikely that you’d be considered for special consideration.
  3. If you have a valid reason and your score falls within the range, then your application is put before our Special Consideration committee. The committee comprises equal numbers of CPAs and CPA Australia senior education staff, all lead by an external chairperson who has the casting vote. All members of the committee are of senior rank and have deep expertise in the field of education. The committee will review the circumstances of each case using the application form and supporting documentation provided, and will also consider any relevant precedence to decide whether the candidate would have passed the exam if not for the extenuating circumstances. If the panel determine that yes, the candidate would have passed, then the result is adjusted to a pass. If not, the result will remain a fail.

Special consideration outcomes are confidential to avoid any chance of a candidate being discriminated by a current or future employer on these grounds. So, you won’t know whether special consideration was granted, nor are details of the committee’s deliberation on your case made available to you.

Know the facts, and share them with others

We discourage you from spreading myths any further – and if you see that your fellow members are misinformed, then please do set them straight. We are here to support you and we believe that with the right focus and commitment to study, everyone has the ability to succeed in the CPA Program.