Summary: After incorporating Surgent CPA Review content and technology into its auditing course, Duquesne University experienced:

A 44% improvement in student pass rates on the Auditing and Attestation (AUD) section of the CPA exam

A 22% increase in students interested in taking the examᴬ

Duquesne’s challenge

In 2015, faculty and administrators at Duquesne University recognized that students taking their auditing course were not passing the AUD section of the CPA exam at the expected rate. The number of students sitting was declining, and the pass rate among those who did sit was 54.6%, only slightly above the then-national average of 47%. The Duquesne team needed to find a way to boost student pass rates.

The Surgent solution

To improve mediocre pass rates, Duquesne began looking for new ways to teach the content more effectively. After consulting with Surgent Executive VP Liz Kolar and exploring Surgent’s adaptive learning platform, Duquesne decided to pilot a program to supplement their auditing content.

Surgent CPA exam experts worked closely with Duquesne educators to ensure alignment with existing course syllabi. The team incorporated actual CPA exam content, questions and guided study into Duquesne’s coursework. Students worked with multiple-choice questions and simulations taken directly from the Surgent course. These materials provided students with a realistic approximation of the actual CPA exam experience.


Duquesne University’s pilot program improved student performance on the CPA exam. Prior to the pilot program launch, only about 50% of graduating seniors polled planned to sit for the CPA exam. In the years since the program’s implementation, 61% of seniors take the CPA. Better preparation encouraged the students to take the exam. 

In the first testing window following the pilot program in 2016, pass rates on AUD for Duquesne students jumped from 54.6% to 80%. Based on this success, the University continues to take advantage of Surgent CPA Review’s A.S.A.P.® Technology and utilize the bank of CPA exam questions within its auditing course. As a result, student pass rates remain high. In 2018, the Duquesne pass rate on AUD was 79%.

Key Results

Duquesne student pass rates on AUD rose from 54.6% in 2015 to 79% in 2018 (a 44% improvement).

Duquesne students sitting for AUD increased from 50% to 61% (a 22% improvement) over the same period.

Surgent helps students pass the CPA.

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