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Wake Forest accounting graduates rank first in nation on CPA exam


January 22, 2008

For the third consecutive year, graduates of Wake Forest University’s Calloway School of Business and Accountancy have achieved the highest passing rates in the nation on the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. 

According to results compiled by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) for the 2006 exam, the most recent scores available, Wake Forest graduates led all candidates with advanced degrees by achieving a passing rate of 83.33 percent.  Brigham Young University tied for top honors with an identical percentage passing rate.

Since the Calloway School began offering a master’s degree in accounting in 1997, its graduates have achieved the top national ranking six times and placed second in the nation three times for candidates passing all four sections of the test on their first attempt.

“We have small classes, and we really put an emphasis on getting students to think about what they are doing and why they are doing it,” explains Dale Martin, Wayne Calloway Professor of Accountancy anddirector of theCalloway School’s accounting program.  “So, when they face new situations they haven’t seen before, whether in the real world or on an exam, they are able to perform well.”

On individual sections of the exam, Wake Forest graduates achieved a 93.94 percent passing rate on the financial accounting and reporting section, a 90.63 percent passing rate on the auditing section, an 87.5 percent passing rate on the regulations section and a 94.12 percent passing rate on the portion devoted to business environment and concepts.  By comparison, among all candidates taking the 2006 exam, just 7.1 percent passed all four sections on their first try.

Successful completion of the CPA examination is required for licensure to practice public accountancy in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and major United States territories.  The exam is written and graded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and administered by the NASBA.  Prior to 2004, a comprehensive paper exam was administered over two days at certified testing centers twice each year.  Since 2004, candidates have been able to take any of four sections of a computer-based exam during any of four testing periods throughout the year.

The Calloway School offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting as well as bachelor’s degrees in business, mathematical business and finance.  BusinessWeek magazine ranks the Calloway School 17th among the nation’s top 50 undergraduate business schools, and U.S. News & World Report magazine ranks the school 27th.  In its undergraduate business specialty rankings, U.S. News ranks the Calloway School 21st in accountancy and 18th in entrepreneurship.

Press Contacts:

Eric Frazier
(336) 758-5237


Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237


Kirby Hall, home of Wake Forest University's Calloway School of Business and Accountancy.
Kirby Hall, home of Wake Forest University's Calloway School of Business and Accountancy.
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