September 20, 2019

CPA Exam scores

Failed CPA exam

Here’s Your Open Thread for the Final CPA Exam Score Release of Q1 2019

Congratulations, kiddos, you made it through the first quarter. I’m sure there were many victories, failures, and breakdowns along the way but so goes the ballad of CPA exam domination. March 19 marks the 1/4-way point for CPA exam scores this year. As we round the bend into the second quarter, I’d like to remind […]

Here’s Your Open Thread For the Second CPA Exam Score Release of Q1 2019

It’s February 25 and you know what that means. Well, you know what that means if you sat for the CPA exam between January 21 and February 14 — score release day tomorrow! As promised, the AICPA has accelerated the score release process for 2019, so we’ve got two more score releases this quarter after […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for the Last CPA Exam Score Release of 2018

Woke up this morning, checked Twitter, and saw this: Scores are now available! Best of luck! — NASBA (@NASBA) December 18, 2018 Adrienne was pretty stoked yesterday to get this thread going this morning, but she came down with the plague or some shit overnight, so I’m filling in for her. Since that earlier tweet […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for the Second-to-Last CPA Exam Score Release of 2018

Well, here we are, children. It’s December, so you know what that means. If you need a reminder: it means hopefully you got your stuff together and squeezed in that last CPA exam part for the year if that was in your plan because if you haven’t, well, you’re SOL. Today, December 10, is the […]

CPA Exam Scores, Explained and Ranked

Today is the first CPA exam score release date for the Q3 testing window, meaning that answered prayers and shattered dreams abound.  In times like these, it's important to reflect on your score with a bit of context. Sure, you may have passed or failed but what does your score mean? Did you overdo it? […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for the Third CPA Exam Score Release of Q1

For you lunatics who thought taking a section of the CPA exam during busy season was a good idea, you will soon know if it was. The AICPA released to following #CPAExam scores to NASBA on March 10: 5076 AUD, 4604 BEC, 4591 FAR, and 4489 REG. — NASBA (@NASBA) March 10, 2015 The AICPA […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for the First CPA Exam Score Release of 2015

The anticipation. The excitement. The disappointment. It's finally time for those CPA exam scores to come trickling out! But first, this.   Honestly NASBA this countdown bs is just rude — slizzard (@levineliz) February 3, 2015 As we all know, the NASBA countdown clock is a new-ish evil plan by NASBA to fuck with you […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for the Second CPA Exam Score Release of Q4 2014

Last week, we entertained ourselves watching the NASBA countdown clock tick away the minutes ahead of today's planned score release. Watching the @NASBA countdown clock for no reason. It's actually kind of zen. — Going Concern (@going_concern) November 21, 2014 It would be absolutely hilarious if one of these days, NASBA shuts down their website […]

NASBA Is Shutting You Out From Their Website Ahead of CPA Exam Score Releases Again

NASBA's attempt to keep anxious CPA exam candidates from blowing up their website ahead of a score release must have gone swimmingly last score release, as they are planning to do it again for the next one. We will be temporarily disabling the online score page leading up to the target release date. #CPAExam scores […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for the First CPA Exam Score Release of Q4 2014

Last week, we learned that NASBA had all but shut down their website to prevent eager score-checkers from blowing up the site like they did last CPA exam score release. This was a first for NASBA and we'd be lying if we said we didn't secretly hope they'd somehow screw this up and end up […]

NASBA Is Now Taunting Anxious CPA Exam Candidates With a Countdown Clock

I'm really not sure if this is hilarious or cruel, probably a nice mix of both. I mean, it's NASBA after all. As we reported last week, NASBA decided to shut down access to scores completely until the target score release date of 11/4, which is tomorrow. Can you all handle waiting just one more […]

How Failing the CPA Exam Might Actually Help You Succeed

You may have heard but NASBA managed to release scores a day early despite day long website issues and lots of candidate bitching. Lots and lots of candidate bitching. Granted, the scores came out just before the stroke of midnight but hey, at least they came out. The news was undoubtedly good for many of […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for the Second CPA Exam Score Release of Q3 2014

We've only heard from one person today that CPA exam scores are out, which means either a bunch of you failed or they are slowly trickling out. NASBA scores are up on the online portal! OH JOY! The actual target release date is tomorrow so if you are in one of those pesky states that […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for the First CPA Exam Score Release of Q3

The actual target date isn't until Monday but apparently scores are trickling out. And we mean trickling out. Let the bitching commence! Oh wait, it has. NASBA you are KILLING me slowly. #releasemyscorealready — Kristen (@KristenMarie_79) August 1, 2014 @sophiemountainn gi came up with a drinking game – every time the nasba site goes down […]

BREAKING: CPA Exam Candidate Passes AUD

This is a developing story, courtesy the tip box: I passed AUD! 😀 Scores came out this morning! We tried to contact the tipster for more details; how many sections does this make total? What sort of score did this person get? How many attempts did they make to pass AUD? We have yet to […]

Texas CPA Exam Candidates Excited to Embrace the Future

Wait a second… are you telling me that up until this point, one of the biggest CPA exam states in the country did not offer its future CPAs the ability to check their score online? Isn't obsessively refreshing that screen supposed to be both the best and worst part about taking the modern day exam? […]

Look Whose CPA Exam Scores We Dug Up for Throwback Thursday

We had to comb through the Smithsonian to find these ancient scores but we found them! You'll note Colin was one of the last crop of aspiring CPAs to take the pencil and paper exam back when you had to walk uphill both ways to the testing center. The funniest part is the "best wishes […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for the First CPA Exam Score Release of 2014

I bet you read that headline and got REALLY excited that scores are out. I hate to burst your bubble (haha yeah right sure I do) but no, nothing yet except a lot of furious F5 pushing and anticipatory tweets. Tomorrow, February 4th is your actual target date, meaning you likely will not see shit […]

Psst, CPA Exam Scores Are Slowly But Surely Coming Out

As usual, folks over at Another 71 are reporting they've received scores despite NASBA keeping mum for now: @NASBA AUD Scores releasing now http://t.co/TEefr5aETF #cpaexam — Jeff @ another71.com (@another71) December 6, 2013 Also as usual, please feel free to share your victory (or defeat) in the comments if you need a pat on the […]

We Hear The Second Batch of CPA Exam Scores For Q4 Are Here

NASBA hasn't announced it yet but according to Another 71, CPA exam scores — which were due to be released tomorrow — are slowly but surely @NASBA CPA Exam Scores (FAR/AUD/REG/BEC) are now all trickling out http://t.co/P3e5q6Ovf5 #cpaexam — Jeff @ another71.com (@another71) November 21, 2013 As always, feel free to share your victories or […]

We Hear Some Q4 CPA Exam Scores Are Trickling Out…

This, per Another71: CPA Exam Scores are now releasing per Another71 Forum http://t.co/P3e5q6Ovf5 #cpaexam #cpa — Jeff @ another71.com (@another71) November 1, 2013 And the tip box: CPA scores are out And a bunch of people getting excited on Twitter. I PASSED THE HARDEST PART OF THE CPA EXAM! — Katie Hansen (@katieeehansen) November 1, […]

Here’s a Bunch of Folks Really Upset at NASBA

Twitter wasn't the only place to air your expletive-filled grievances on Friday. Even though all CPA exam score release dates are target dates (meaning shit can and does happen and the AICPA makes no promises you'll actually see your score on the date they announce), apparently a few people were upset by the delay in […]

At Long Last, the Second Batch of CPA Exam Scores for the July/August Testing Window Have Been Released

For those of you that have been holding your breath since Thursday, the suspense officially ceased on Saturday morning. #AICPA released the following scores to #NASBA for the July/Aug 2013 testing window: 4492 AUD, 4087 BEC, 4675 FAR and 4660 REG #CPAexam — NASBA (@NASBA) August 24, 2013 Browsing through the Twittersphere, you'll find that […]

(UPDATE) This is the Worst Friday Ever For a Few CPA Exam Candidates

You can almost hear the frustrated clacking of F5 keys everywhere. Rest assured candidates who took the exam from July 21-Aug 14 will likely not be getting much work done today. I used all three gigs of my data plan today waiting for @NASBA to release score. pic.twitter.com/vxvDa7gZoF — Adam Panella (@AdamPanella) August 22, 2013 […]

CPA Exam Scores Are Delayed and, Naturally, People Are Losing Their Minds

I present to you, Exhibit A: NEWS FROM THE #AICPA: Score release delay: #CPAexam scores will be released on August 23, 2013 for results received by August 14, 2013. — NASBA (@NASBA) August 21, 2013 And a few reactions: @NASBA You are killing me. 🙁 — marty (@m_arty) August 21, 2013 “@NASBA: Score release delay: […]

The First Batch of CPA Exam Scores for the July/August Testing Window Have Been Released

We always hear from a few people whose scores get released early, but we don't mind waiting for NASBA to make the official Twitter announcement, as they did right on cue this morning: #AICPA released the following scores to #NASBA for the July/August 2013 testing window: 5548 AUD, 4906 BEC, 6480 FAR and 5699 REG […]

Your Final CPA Exam Scores for Q2 Are Bursting Forth

Apparently the excitement started this weekend, a few days ahead of schedule. I received this email Saturday: Hi Adrienne, The latest batch scores have dropped for TN. The tweet has not posted from NASBA yet, but that bright, shining 77 doesn't lie. I thought I would pass along the information! Not wanting to work on […]

The Second Batch of CPA Exam Scores For the April/May Window Have Been Released

Rejoice! Either you've got Memorial Day weekend off to celebrate or it's back to the books for you, loser. Additionally, the AICPA has released 242 AUD, 154 BEC, 188 FAR and 131 REG scores for international candidates to NASBA. Feel free to share your victories and failures in the comments if you feel so inclined […]

The Third Batch of CPA Exam Scores Has Been Released for the Jan/Feb Window

Today is the last scheduled release date for scores in the first window of 2013, so if you managed to crash and burn again, you have the rest of March to curse the sky and/or plot your comeback: #AICPA released the following scores to #NASBA for the Jan/Feb 2013 testing window: 5675 AUD, 3196 BEC, 4837 FAR […]

The Second Batch of CPA Exam Scores for the Jan/Feb Testing Window Has Been Released

Right on cue, NASBA started rolling the scores out on Monday, but sometimes these things fly under the radar. Sorry about that. I'd offer the excuse that I'm losing my touch, but there's really no evidence that I had any touch to begin with. #AICPA released the following scores to #NASBA for the Jan/Feb 2013 testing […]

The First CPA Exam Scores for 2013 Are Coming Out Any Second Now, Let’s All Freak Out At Once!

How many of you are doing this right now? Now, technically scores should start trickling out tomorrow but that isn't stopping a bunch of you from wearing the letters off your F5 key today anyway. Share the good (or bad) news in the comments, tweet us or just sit in the corner and cry once […]

Let’s Discuss: 2012 CPA Exam Pass Rates

We don't really have any theories behind the enormous improvement in CPA exam scores for 2012; maybe it's something in the water, maybe it's that the exam is getting easier like all the old school paper-and-pencil people say, maybe it's that shift in consciousness the Mayans promised. Whatever. They're up and that's what matters. Here […]

The Third Batch of CPA Exam Scores Has Been Released for the October/November Testing Window

Yes, it's a little ambitious for us to be posting on a Saturday in December, but we're here for those of you that have suffered long and hard for some BEC closure. Plus, NASBA doesn't rest on the Sabbath: #AICPA released the following scores to #NASBA for the Oct/Nov 2012 testing window: 6195 AUD, 4620 […]

The Second Batch of CPA Exam Scores Has Been Released for the October/November Testing Window

For those of you whose lives have been revolving around the chase of the most coveted credential for accountants, it's unfortunate that you had really nothing to share with family and friends over the holiday weekend in the way of interesting life events. NASBA waited until today to drop scores, so presumably you had very […]

Apparently NASBA Is Not Going To Torture Some CPA Exam Candidates Through the Holiday Weekend

Although it hasn't been officially announced on NASBA's Twitter account yet (are they off for the day or what?), we've gotten word CPA exam scores are slowly but surely rolling out ahead of the holiday. From the tip box: Scores for days 21 – 45 of the Q4 window (scheduled for Nov. 26th) were just […]

Word to the Wise, All CPA Exam Questions Are Not Created Equal

As we all know, CPA exam advice is a dime a dozen these days. There are handfuls of sketchy blogs spitting out generic – and sometimes completely wrong – advice that appears to be written by English-challenged spambots, new CPA review programs popping up all the time and all manner of "resources" that are really […]

The First Batch of CPA Exam Scores Has Been Released for the October/November Testing Window

Hurricane Sandy managed to throw the AICPA off its game for a few days, but anyone that was expecting delays to extend into next week will be excited (or terribly disappointed) that things are moving right along: #AICPA released the following scores to #NASBA from the Oct/Nov 2012 testing window: 4971 AUD, 4313 FAR and […]

Hurricane Sandy-adjusted CPA Exam Score Release Timeline not as Devastating as…Ya Know

Anyone that was hopping mad about the delayed release of their CPA exam score due to Frankenstorm Sandy can untwist their undies; you'll only be tortured for an extra week: Barring further complications, scores for test results that were received day 1 – 20 by the AICPA will be released by NASBA to state boards of accountancy […]

Let’s All Freak Out at Once About the Possibility of CPA Exam Scores Being Released One Day Late

Today's CPA exam freak out comes courtesy the tip box. Just a reminder to those wanting to freak out via said tip box, please include an email address so we can write you back for more details – in this case, those "more details" would have been the actual email from NASBA. Derp: The NASBA […]

Here’s Your CPA Exam Score Release Timeline For Q3 and Q4 2012

If 2012 is the first year you've had the pleasure of taking the CPA exam, you probably have no idea just how torturous waiting for your scores used to be. You'd either refresh on your state board's website incessantly for several weeks or stalk the CPA exam forums hoping some almost-accurate psychic would know the […]

Warning To College Accounting Programs: Fudge Your CPA Exam Ranking And We Will Find You

A concerned accounting student exercises his or her professional skepticism here (good work, kiddo, you'll be a true asset to the profession!): I am an accounting student at San Diego State University.  SDSU claims that student test scores on the CPA exam rank among the top five in the nation.  I copied this from SDSU's […]

Here’s Your (Second) CPA Exam Scores Open Thread for the January/February Testing Window

Hot off the NASBA wire:  5,522 AUD, 3,468 BEC, 5,084 FAR and 5,637 REG scores were released by #AICPA to #NASBA from Jan/Feb 2012 testing window #cpaexam — NASBA (@NASBA) March 8, 2012 So whether you're doing a happy dance on the desk in your cubicle or trying to punching a bathroom stall door (acceptable […]

Here’s Your CPA Exam Scores Open Thread for the January/February Testing Window

The AICPA and NASBA managed to hit their score release date under the new timeline without breaking at sweat. [via @NASBA]  

How Do The U.S. News Top Accounting Rankings Compare on CPA Exam Scores?

I'm sorry if you guys are sick of these stats but someone suggested we hit these rankings and last time I dared to write about something other than CPA exam scores, I was essentially laughed right off the Internet. Thanks for supporting my dreams, people, that'll teach me to try to get you all excited […]

And Now, We’re Going to Judge Florida Colleges’ Performance on the CPA Exam

First, can I just say I am beyond thrilled that you guys even care about these CPA exam stats? I mean that. I half expected all of you to call me a boring loser for wasting precious Going Concern real estate going over these, so thanks for proving me wrong. I might still be a […]

Let’s Look at Some Random CPA Exam Statistics From California Colleges

This post comes courtesy of a reader request. If you would like specific CPA exam statistics, shoot me an email and I'll dig through the candidate performance book for you so you don't have to waste $90 on it yourself. You're welcome. What are the top California schools for CPA exam performance (based on 2010 […]

2011 CPA Exam Pass Rates Aren’t *That* Bad

  Well another year down, and that means another year of comparing CPA exam candidate performance to that of years' previous so the old folks can complain about how easy it was back in the day. The fine folks who own this domain and sign my checks were kind enough to provide me with a […]

Anyone Want to Talk About the Improved CPA Exam Score Release Timeline?

I should know better than to bring up this touchy subject but I'm only going there due to this email suggestion: I'm amazed that the AICPA kept its promise and released scores on time. Perhaps that could make for good convo on GC. You could also talk about the new anticipated timeline for score releases. […]

International CPA Exam Scores Are Now Available for the October/November Testing Window

Isn't it nice know that someone, just like YOU, outside the U.S. has also been anxiously awaiting their score from their third attempt at passing BEC? If you're an international candidate and are unfamiliar with these posts, this serves as your sounding board. For example, did you feel like you just wasted the last few […]

Here’s Your CPA Exam Scores Open Thread for the October/November Testing Window

All that hard work has either really paid off or was the biggest waste of time in your life.


CPA Exam Stumper: When Does the 18 Month Window Actually Start?

I want to be clear with you guys that though it may feel like I pull most of my CPA exam advice out of my ass, there are usually reasons behind whatever I suggest, and the methods are proven. Despite me never having personally proven them myself (no need).

Sometimes, there are questions I don’t have the answer to. Maybe I could Google this but as anyone who has ever tried to Google CPA exam information ever can tell you, it isn’t always easy to aggregate the answers in a singular place in a way that makes sense to an average human being. Forget about decoding the psychometric scoring system, it’s enough to try and understand why your ths hard as your first two.

So for once, I need you guys to answer this for me. You have NTSs, you have 18-month windows closing in on your asses and you are all around the country so the results should be fairly varied across the jurisdictions.

Here’s the question (via the CPAnet forums):

Can someone please help me?

There is so much conflicting information about the starting date of the 18 month testing window.

I passed AUDIT on May 3rd.2010. Conclusion after reading many blogs is I can take my last section by the End OF November 2011.

IS THIS CORRECT?

18 MONTHS WILL BE November 3rd but it rounds to the end of the month.

Please confirm as soon as possible… Thank you so much for your help.

Now, here comes the obligatory procrastination rant. Why the fuck are you waiting until October 27, 2011 (as per the timestamp on the CPAnet post) to ask this question when you had a full 16 months or so to figure this out? Even if you got your Audit score at the last date possible, you still had at least a year and a handful of months to gather this intel. Also, even if you have until the end of the month instead of the 3rd, you’d really be doing yourself a disservice by waiting until the very last day possible. Why? Things happen. Prometric closes on you and leaves a note. You get the stomach flu. Your girlfriend starts hassling you about your relationship the night before and you oversleep your appointment the next morning.

Now, all of this is moot, it being December 6th. Whether this guy had until the 3rd or the 30th, it’s passed. But maybe there are a few of you out there scrambling for this information a week before your 18 month window closes who this will be useful for a month or 6 or 12 from now.

As far as I’m aware, the 18 months means you have 18 months from the date you sit for and pass your first part. That means exactly 18 months from the day you sat for the first exam part that you passed, regardless of the date you received your score (hopefully this is better with the AICPA’s scoring improvements – those of you rolling over into your second 18 month window know how excruciating it used to be). I have heard that in some states it is the last testing day of the month in which your 18 month window ends, regardless of day of the month but as we know, “hearing” something is not reliable enough to use to actually pass the exam.

According to these folks on the Another71 forum, it can vary wildly from state to state. One candidate claims an expiration date from the approximate date scores were received while another says they received exactly 18 months from the date they sat for the first passed exam.

Which is it? I have no idea and I’m fine admitting that. Help me?

AICPA Ballparking Future Releases of CPA Exam Scores

Over the past month, many of you anxiously anticipated the release of your CPA Exam score like Ralphie and his Red Ryder. The waiting part isn’t so unlike an eternity in hellfire and when NASBA finally does put the official Tweet, there’s no guarantee that your score will be included especially if you’re in one of those pesky non-NASBA states. It’s agony, really.

Because the AICPA feels your anguish (and frankly, they’re sick of the hysterics), they’ve announced a new score release timeline:

Starting in the fourth quarter of 2011 the U.S. CPA Exam will begin releasing scores earlier and more predictably. Initially this may not seem very interesting; however, the change will mark a major shift in the U.S. CPA Exam experience and the strategies that prospective CPAs employ as they work toward passing the exam.

The AICPA “initially” thought this wouldn’t be too interesting but when they took a microsecond to remember the post that Adrienne wrote a post back in March that garnered 162 comments, half of them bitching about this very topic and the other half accusing of AG of being a good-for-nothing shill for the AICPA/NASBA that’s never taken the exam, they realized that yeah, people would be interested to know when their scores are released.

ANYWAY, here’s the schedule:

Everyone can relax now. I’m sure scores will be out like clockwork going forward.

New Score Release Timeline for the CPA Exam [AICPA]

Raise Your Hand If You’re Still Waiting for Your CPA Exam Score

From what we hear, everyone in California should have their arms in the air.


Texas, however, has finally ended the suspense:

Everyone in North Carolina, on the other hand, is still waiting on the USPS (still in business!):

While you wait, we’ll knock the dust off an old video to cheer you up:

NASBA Website Is Down UPDATE – They’re Back! (Sort of)

Now you’ve done it. Hot off the Twitter.

If you still haven’t seen your score and you’re interested in sharing some anxious thoughts or frustrations, you may do so now.

UPDATE:
We did see the homepage briefly but now it’s loading awfully slow. Please bear with them.

Here’s Your CPA Exam Scores Open Thread for the July/August Testing Window

BEC scores have been released so it won’t be long until you’re doing a happy dance or sobbing in a bathroom stall.


Either way, it’s your God-given right to react with euphoria or complete rage. Since most places of employment aren’t too keen on streaking through the cube farms or kicking over chairs, we invite you to let loose in the comments. We’ll update this post as the scores are released.

UPDATE: If you took the exam at an international location, NASBA just tweeted out a friendly reminder that you’ll have to wait a bit longer.

UPDATE 2: Yesterday afternoon while I was out playing, NASBA announced they got a boatload of AUD scores. Hopefully this doesn’t ruin your weekend.

UPDATE 3: More BEC scores were released yesterday. At 5 pm on a Friday, no less.

This Trick *May* Give CPA Candidates a Sneak Peek at Whether They Passed the Final Section of Their Exam

Maybe we shouldn’t publish this, lest TPTB catch on and close this loophole but as it’s soon to be CPA exam score release season, we figured it might be helpful to share this little trick to get your score early.


Note, word is it only works if you are on your last section and testing in a NASBA state. It doesn’t work all the time and will really only give you your score a day or so earlier than you would have actually received it from your state.

So if you’re waiting for a score now, don’t bother, it doesn’t work until the AICPA releases scores to NASBA, which is supposed to be within a 7-10 day period beginning the third week of September for this quarter.

To try it, follow these simple steps:

1. Go to the CPA exam section of NASBA’s website and select Ohio regardless of which state you are testing in.

2. Choose Apply Now under the “Re-applying for the Uniform CPA Examination” tab.

3. You will be asked if you have an Ohio jurisdiction ID. Choose no and it will ask you if you have a Social Security number. Choose yes.

4. Follow the rest of the prompts, plug in the information it asks you for and if you get the following message, congratulations, the loophole worked and you passed:

We are sorry. Our system shows that you have already passed all parts of the Uniform CPA Examination. If you have questions, please call your Coordinator at the number given below. Please call the number below.

800-CPA-EXAM
615-880-4250

Some have stated that the loophole also works if you’ve failed. If you get in and see the exam section you are checking on not grayed out, that means it’s allowing you to get a new NTS which obviously means you did not pass.

Bottom line: maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. If you’re driving yourself insane refreshing your score page waiting for an answer, maybe it wouldn’t hurt to try at the end of the month but you’re really only getting the news a few hours earlier than you would have if you just waited.

Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me You Can Earn Gold and Silver Medals on the CPA Exam?!

OK, this is new to me. I’ll admit I don’t know everything about the CPA exam but I try to keep up on as much as I can without actually subjecting myself to that level of masochism. With the deepest respect to those of you who do subject yourselves to that as always, I assure you.

Anyway, what’s this about getting medals for CPA exam scores?! Why didn’t anyone tell me this?

From the Oklahoma State Spears School of Business:

When she received a gold medal for her scores on the Certified Public Accountant exam, Lauren Gorman saw the result that made all of her hard work pay off. Gorman, who is working on her doctorate in accounting, said the award was important in a number of ways. “Receiving the gold medal was important to me because it recognized all of the hard work and months of studying I put into the exam,” Gorman said. “My brother, Ryan Gorman, earned the silver medal on the exam, so I also enjoyed beating him and receiving the gold.” Gorman’s brother took the exam a few years ago. Out of the thousands of students who take the CPA exam, only those who complete all four parts of the exam within one or two testing windows and earn a high score are awarded medals, according to a Spears School of Business press release. Three Oklahoma State University accounting students received the honors. Lauren Gorman and Anne-Marie Lelkes earned gold medals, and Dawn Kruckeberg earned silver.

Correct me if I’m wrong but I think they are referring to the Elijah Watt Sells medals, which isn’t at all clear in the article. A gold medal means A) you studied way too hard and B) you beat out every other candidate testing that year. It also means that you took the exam back when it was paper and pencil, as I’m pretty sure they eliminated the medals post-2004, am I totally wrong?

Prior to the computerized exam, the AICPA would award gold, silver and bronze medals to the top three performers on the CPA exam. When the exam went computerized, thereby allowing more flexibility in testing, they changed it to give the award to 10 of the highest scores in the country each year. To qualify, candidates must score in the very very high 90s on the first attempt (no retakes). Winners receive a plaque and the recognition that comes with being a bad ass high performer (even though no one asks what you got on the exam anyway).

So really… what medals are we talking about? Oh, duh, the Oklahoma State Society of CPAs issues them. It would help if the article mentioned that, I got all excited for a minute there.

Anyway, congratulations and all that.

What Your CPA Exam Scores Say About You

Since it’s score season, here’s an overly appropriate question from the mailbag:

Just a quick question. Does CPA exam score reflect one’s ability at work? Does 76 on AUD necessarily mean one would be a bad auditor?

90 on REG means one would good at tax? Not sure how should I choose career-path between tax & audit.

The short answer here is that a 76 on AUD means you studied just enough to pass (congratulations) and has absolutely nothing to do with how good (or bad) of an auditor you might be.

Remember that the CPA exam tests entry level knowledge required to be a CPA. An 88 or even a 99 doesn’t mean you’d be a better auditor than someone who failed that section, it just means that you have a better command of entry level skills. That’s great as far as passing the exam goes but has little to do with your career.

The CPA exam and the real world are two completely different places. The exam assumes scenarios that you will never see “in the wild,” as it were, an environment where companies always do the indirect method and auditors always do more testing than necessary.

A higher score on one section could mean that this is a better place for you to look when it comes to picking a career path if, say, you barely studied to get that 90 and actually enjoyed taking that section. Just like you shouldn’t rely on your score report as the gospel, you shouldn’t take that to be a sign that you’re destined for a life in tax but you can certainly take that as a strong hint if you didn’t mind sitting for that section, understood the concepts and kind of liked the process.

Hope that helps!

Here’s Your CPA Exam Scores Open Thread for the April/May Testing Window

If you passed, congrats! If you failed…well, we still love you but you may be hopeless.

Sounds like people are getting anxious for REG scores now, so keep us updated for when NASBA drops the word.

UPDATE:
AUD scores have no been released.

CPA Exam Candidate Attempts to Stop Attempting and Actually Take the Exam

From the mailbag:

Hi Adrienne – I have been “attempting” to pass the CPA exam for a few years now – and I must say I’ve never taken the exam or the goal to pass the exam seriously…up until now.

Hold it. Before we get to the second half of this question, we need to address the quotation marks. Obviously OP is trying to make it clear that studying has not been high on the priority list and we recognize this tactic as a CPA exam candidate trying to repent for non-studying sins. This isn’t the confessional but we’ll accept the confession nonetheless; it shows a desire on the candidate’s part to acknowledge what they have done wrong up until this point, which is halfway toward fixing it.

Continuing:

I took BEC on 4/4/2011 and REG on 5/14/2011 (today). I am registered to take FAR on 7/9/2011. My question is: Should I start studying for FAR now and try to take in July, or should I wait until I get my BEC/REG scores and if I score below a passing grade, try to take those in the July/Aug testing window? What should be the plan of attack – retake a recent exam, or jump to the next section? Considering I wont be getting my BEC/REG scores until the end of June, I feel like precious study time will get wasted if I just wait around for those scores…

In a follow-up with OP, we discussed how he felt when he was done. “I can’t say I felt on top of the world when I left prometric – I had more of a numb feeling than anything else. The sims were ‘interesting,’ and the MCQs were pretty challenging too…I put a solid six/seven weeks for this exam following Bisk’s recommended study plan.”

With scoring a little jacked up through the end of this year, you should probably move on to the next section as if you passed. If you did, you made the right decision. If you didn’t, you’ll just have to go back and study it over. You don’t necessarily have to start from scratch but let’s not think about that, let’s assume you passed.

You don’t mention Audit so I don’t know what your 18 month timeline is but if you have the flexibility, you should usually try to plan for the strategy that costs you the least amount of time so you actually have the time if you need it.

You’re right not to wait and just go on to the next section.

Keeping Promises, the AICPA and NASBA Remind Candidates About Late Scores

We’re sure no one wants to see a repeat of the first quarter’s scoring debacle but since we didn’t enjoy being called lots of names last time we dared to bring it up, we’re not going to discuss that.

Instead, let’s see the email NASBA sent out to candidates last week. It’s good to see them making the effort exactly as the AICPA told us they would, and we hope that this will cut down on any confusion/insults/whining in the two quarters left before the new, faster scoring system is in place.

Score Release Reminder, April/May 2011

Dear CPA Examination Candidate:

This message is to remind candidates of the score release timeline for 2011.

Because of the significant changes made to the content and structure of the Uniform CPA Examination in 2011, there have been comparable changes to the scoring process, all of which require more extensive psychometric analyses of both test questions and candidate performance for the first three windows of this year. Sufficient data needs to be aggregated for the required additional analyses and the data must come from actual, operational exam results. For each testing window, we have to acquire a sufficient sample size of exam results in order to perform the required analyses and score the exams properly. This process takes time. Therefore, for the first three testing windows of 2011, scores will only be released after the end of each window.

For candidates who have tested in the April/May 2011 testing window, barring unforeseen circumstances, the AICPA will release the scores to NASBA within a 7-10 day period beginning the third week of June 2011.

We anticipate that by the October/November 2011 testing window, we will have aggregated enough data so that the additional analyses won’t be necessary, and scores can be processed on a rolling basis, and hence more frequently. We encourage candidates to visit the Psychometrics and Scoring page on the Exams Web site for reliable information about score release and the scoring process. The AICPA does not endorse or support any other Web site or forum for disseminating information about the Uniform CPA Examination.

We won’t take that last bit personally since we are pretty sure it was not a dig at us; we try our best to keep you guys informed and always pointed towards the AICPA’s own material on any CPA exam subject we cover here. Well, except on the subject of drugs, there’s no candidate bulletin on getting hopped up on doctor dope to study for the CPA exam (rightfully so).

Everything You Thought You Knew About How the CPA Exam is Scored is Wrong

I’m 97% sure most CPA exam candidates are confused by the CPA exam’s psychometric scoring, either because it is supposed to be that way or they haven’t done their research. Either way, I once again got the chance to speak with John Mattar, Ed.D., Director of Psychometrics and Research and Mike Decker, Director of Operations and Development, both of the AICPA’s examinations unit. This time we focused on how the CPA exam is scored. Remember that most of this information is already available on the AICPA’s website, check out How the CPA Exam is Scored and the Psychometrics and Scoring section for more detailed, less sarcastic information than what you might find here. That being said, we appreciate John and Mike taking time to humor us anyway.


Of course, no discussion about how the exam is scored would be complete without rehashing last quarter’s somewhat tardy score release issue. John and Mike compared it to buying a new car but driving home in your old car, meaning scoring is going to be a broke down Toyota Tercel for just two more quarters but if you all can be patient, you’ll be spinning around town in that shiny new Lexus by December. “We’re doing everything we can to administer a quality exam, including communicating with candidates,” Mike told us. They also let us know that they will be using NASBA to push out timely information to candidates in the quarters ahead. See? Told you they were listening to candidates’ scoring concerns.

When talking about how the CPA exam is scored, it’s important to remember that candidates take different but equivalent exams. “It’s not possible to say what each testlet is worth because everyone is taking different exams,” said John. That being said, we did manage to get them to tell us that, contrary to popular belief, candidates are not compared to each other when they are scored. How do we know? While we still don’t know how many points each question is worth, John told us “we can say with 100% assurance if two different candidates get the same question, they will both get the same amount of points or credit for getting that question right.” This whole exam scoring thing is feeling less and less insidious by the minute, isn’t it?

For the final time: the CPA exam is not graded on a curve, nor are you compared to everyone who did better than you, nor are you compared to everyone who showed up to Prometric that day or week or month. “The way the exam is scored, candidates are compared to a fixed ability level. They are not compared to each other. If in the next window candidates maybe aren’t as well-prepared, fewer people will pass. They are being compared to a fixed level of ability,” John told us. Twice. Just to make sure we all got it. Got it? Let’s go over it one more time (from the Scoring FAQs):

The CPA Examination is NOT curved. Every candidate’s score is entirely independent of other candidates’ Examination results.

The CPA Examination is a criterion-referenced examination which means that it rests upon pre-determined standards. Every candidate’s performance is measured against established standards to determine whether the candidate has demonstrated the level of knowledge and skills that is represented by the passing score. Every candidate is judged against the same standards, and every score is an independent result.

Are we clear on that? Awesome, moving on…

Pretest questions make up fifteen MCQ in AUD/FAR and twelve in REG/BEC, one task-based simulation in FAR, AUD and REG and one written communication in BEC. The problem with gaming this system is that you can’t, since you have no way of knowing which questions are pretest and which are operational. So just guess equally on all of them as if every single one counts, mmmkay? Pretest questions will resemble operational questions since they are testing whatever is in the Content Specification Outline, meaning IFRS wasn’t tested on a pretest basis last year. What this means for candidates is that nothing outside of the CSOs will EVER be pretested. Maybe not a life-changing piece of information but really useful to know if you are prone to asking “what should I be studying?” and are familiar with the CSOs.

So what’s with the score report you get when you fail that compares you to those who scored between 75 and 80 in that window? Why not compare you to the CPA exam superstars who pulled down 99s without breaking a sweat?

“If you compared [failing candidates] to people that got all the way up to 99, it’s not as useful,” John said. “We want the basis of comparison that is going to be the most meaningful to the people who failed and that group is those that got closest to passing. If I got a 62 and the comparison group includes all the people who got above 90, that isn’t going to help me as much. Most of the people who pass are between 75 – 80.”

While we appreciate the AICPA taking the time to speak with us, we feel it’s important to point out that, at the end of the day, they are the best source of information for candidates. Answers to most of your questions can be found on their website. If you’re having trouble finding something or have a specific question related to the CPA exam, get in touch and we’ll do our best to do the Googling on your behalf.

Q1 CPA Exam Pass Rates Worst in Three Years

Jeff shared some pretty depressing news on Another71 yesterday, it looks like pass rates are down. Way down:

Auditing and Attestation:
2009 Q1: 47.61%
2010 Q1: 46.86%
2011 Q1: 43.88%

AUD passing rates are down 7.8% over 2009 and 6.4% over 2010.

Business Environment and Concepts:
2009 Q1 46.23%
2010 Q1: 46.59%
2011 Q1: 42.32%

BEC passing rates are down 8.5% over 2009 and 9.2% over 2010.

Financial Accounting and Reporting:
2009 Q1 45.54%
2010 Q1: 44.95%
2011 Q1: 42.43%

FAR passing rates are down 6.8% over 2009 and 5.6% over 2010.

Regulation:
2009 Q1: 47.96%
2010 Q1: 49.00%
2011 Q1: 41.28%

REG passing rates are down 13.9% over 2009 and 15.8% over 2010.

What’s strange about this is that REG was the section least changed in CBT-e, leading us to wonder if some CPA exam candidates were, in fact, better at written communication than they thought. Taking these easy 10 points out of FAR, AUD and REG could have something to do with the first quarter’s awful scores, or it could be that candidates were not familiarized enough with the new format to do smashingly this time out.

One commenter on Another71 said “I took REG and felt like I studied for the wrong exam when I saw the questions,” which I’ve heard a lot about BEC but never about REG. In fact, for the last four years I have consistently told candidates that REG is the easiest for some candidates simply due to the cut-and-dry nature of tax and business law. It is not as large and all-encompassing as FAR, nor does it require all the extensive calculations. But this information could be game-changing.

The other strange fact here – and I have no specific numbers on this, going on my perception based on comments I have received from candidates who tested last quarter – is that for those who did pass, it seemed like many of them scored in the high 80s and 90s, as opposed to the usual large number of 75 – 79s like I usually see from passing candidates. Since I didn’t actually aggregate any real data, it’s hard to say whether or not this is an important point to mention. Perhaps I’ll try harder next quarter to get some actual numbers.

It’s also important to recall my conversation with the AICPA earlier this year when we discussed the possibility of changing the passing score in 2011. The exact statement was “In terms of the score reported to candidates, right now the passing score on that reported scale is a 75 and it’s going to remain there because we want to have consistency over time” from John Mattar, Director of Psychometrics and Research. What I took that to mean was that a 75 last year may or may not be the same as a 75 last year, which could explain why more candidates missed the mark this time around.

What do you think?

AICPA Has Released AUD Scores to NASBA for the Jan/Feb Testing Window

For those of you who have been anxious, nervous or possibly livid about this whole waiting for your CPA exam scores thing, AUD has arrived. That leaves us with just BEC remaining for Jan/Feb.

Commence to partying (or reapplying with your state board/CPAES)!

11,828 REG scores and 9,491 FAR scores have been released so far.

Let’s Have an Adult Discussion About CPA Exam Scores

Since the last time I dared to bring this issue up I was insulted personally and professionally, I’m going to approach this very carefully. Starting with a few statements of my position:


First, I have the utmost respect for those who first suffer through a college accounting education and then decide to pursue a CPA. It’s not an easy thing to do and the experience only gets worse when you add kids, work and a life to the mix. I get that. I’ve suffered through it at the side of thousands of CPAs in the last four years and, empathetic jerk that I am, I absolutely feel their pain. I’ve been the crying shoulder and the therapist as well as tharing that with CPA exam candidates has been a real joy in my life. Mostly because I’m not the one who actually has to go through it.

Second, I believe 18 months is plenty of time to get through the exam. For those who have struggled 2, 3, even 5 years with this thing, it is not at all unreasonable for me to suggest that perhaps you should find another line of work. That doesn’t mean struggling candidates shouldn’t be offered support but at some point, you have to ask yourself if the Universe is trying to send you a very strong hint. That’s fine, the AICPA is doing their job if not everyone can pass. This isn’t a kindergarten playground exercise in how everyone deserves a trophy no matter how bad their performance, this is a professional license and it is a privilege, not a right.

That being said, I was not expecting the floodgates of CPA exam candidate hell to come bursting forth on Monday when I addressed a note the AICPA wrote to candidates. In trolling NASBA’s Facebook page and getting additional feedback from candidates (beyond the “screw you, AG, you’re not a CPA” comments), it’s clear candidates are livid about this whole scoring thing. There’s no other explanation for otherwise reasonable future CPAs lashing out like they did, since we all know professionals aren’t prone to that kind of behavior out of habit.

So the first thing candidates should be doing instead of snapping at NASBA, the AICPA and me is to write down their thoughts and send them to the AICPA and NASBA. The first three quarters of 2011 are basically practice for a new, improved scoring process the AICPA hopes to debut at the end of the year and if candidates stick to yelling at accounting bloggers, the important people who can really make a change aren’t hearing them. Be clear, be concise and be honest. What would you like to see changed? What do you feel is unfair? How do you feel about this entire process? Try to keep emotion out of it (save that for your therapist, your spouse or your best friend) but be explicit about the stress this has put on you if you feel it is necessary. Remember that complaints are easy but offering solutions or feedback that can help them improve stands the best chance to change things. I assure you all that the AICPA and NASBA are listening, they just might need to block it out if it’s mostly profane vitriol and hardly any common sense. I highly doubt that either agency planned for this to get so ugly, and if they are at all like me, probably didn’t expect it would be the meltdown it was. So keep that in mind when you are yelling at them like the intelligent professional I’m sure you are.

Speaking of which, we caught up with a real live intelligent professional who asked to keep her firm name out of this but wanted to weigh in regardless. A seasoned professional when it comes to the CPA exam from her work as an HR manager for a mid-sized Bay Area accounting firm, she is also a CPA exam candidate and has been vocal in expressing her dissatisfaction with this scoring debacle.

To her, the issue is customer service and communication, or rather lack thereof. She told us:

I advise candidates on everything about licensure (e.g. application process, review courses, changes to the exam, score releases, and serve as the unofficial firm “nag” reminding people they need to get or stay on the licensure path). In both roles, it is my duty to stay informed and I really try my very best to do so. To that end, this is why I felt so frustrated with NASBA’s recent post on Facebook. I didn’t receive the AICPA memo about the delay of scores for Q1-Q3 back in October of 2010. I went through my emails and see I have only received 3 email messages from NASBA and nothing from the AICPA. One was a 11/18/10 email from Prometric and NASBA about adding additional time slots in Q4 of 2010 to accommodate the high volume of candidates scrambling to avoid IFRS, and one on 1/4/11 announcing CBT-e was launched on 1/1/11. The last message contained 6 links, including sample tests, a tutorial, and a link to their October 21, 2010 message [a letter to the state boards that explained the new scoring process]. Obviously, I didn’t click on all the links until today. I was more focused on the tutorials.

Nowhere in the body of the message does it read the scores would be delayed. My bad for not reading the ‘footnotes’ but, in my humble opinion, later scores is a material item that should be separately stated in the ‘financial statements’/email message.

The communications from NASBA need more empathy. These candidates are overachievers who are probably failing at something for the first time in their life; emotions are automatically running high. Candidates are spending a lot of time, money and now even more money because they had to go out and buy brand new materials to be ready for the 2011 exam. We were sold on the idea that these changes would result in faster score reporting – God knows we were already at our wits end that it took so long for a machine to grade the old CBT- and here we are slapped with another round of delays. And they have the audacity to say they told us this back in October. Really?

As of the writing of this post, 9,491 FAR scores and 11,828 REG scores have been released by the AICPA.

The issue continues and we will happily continue covering it here so long as you all care. Any and all input (including gripes and general bellyaching but not insults towards the author or this website) is welcome in the comments.

AICPA Has Released REG Scores to NASBA for the Jan/Feb Testing Window

It’s been two days since they released FAR so at this rate, all scores should be out by Tuesday. Who wants to bet unforeseen circumstances delay BEC a tad longer? Just a guess.

Anyhoo, you’ve waited weeks (or months) for ’em, here they are.

All 32 CPAES states should have scores posted online within 24 hours (though preliminary candidate feedback is that this process is faster than it used to be). The only CPAES states which may take 24-48 hours to release online are Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska & Puerto Rico. Check with your state board of accountancy if you are in a non-CPAES state.

AICPA Has Released FAR Scores to NASBA for the Jan/Feb Testing Window

Rejoice! Despair! Whatever.

According to the NASBA Twitter feed, they’ll have scores for 32 states up with a few others taking 24-48 hours to appear.

Earlier:
The AICPA’s Note to Pissed Off CPA Exam Candidates on Scoring

The AICPA’s Note to Pissed Off CPA Exam Candidates on Scoring

The AICPA shared a note on Facebook the other day that was also shared by NASBA and brought up an interesting conversation full of frustration, anger and misunderstanding. The comments by candidates show how important it is to take information at face value and be sure you are not reading too much into what is shared by those who don’t have all the answers.

Before we get to that, let’s get to the note:

Thanks again to everyone who has been asking about the score release timelines. It’s an important topic and we appreciate the feedback. As a reminder, for anyone who hasn’t had the chance to visit our website, over the past year we ��������������������to state boards, scoring timeline FAQs, and provided an in-depth white paper describing how the Exam is scored, all available at the CPA Exam website. And if you’re interested in a refresher about the eligibility requirements, including the 18 month timeline and instructions for scheduling your Exam, the updated Candidate Bulletin from NASBA contains the information you need.

It also appears that there is some confusion about what it means to administer a “high stakes” test. For those of you who don’t know, the Uniform CPA Examination is a high stakes test. That means that there is a direct consequence of passing (or failing) the Exam – in our case, that consequence is meeting one of the requirements to obtain your CPA license. Becoming a licensed CPA carries with it legal authority, and an obligation to protect the public interest. That’s why the Exam must make valid, accurate assessments of examinees. The outcomes are too important.

Making those valid, accurate assessments is what this scoring process is really about. In high-stakes testing, any time an exam undergoes a major revision (as with the introduction of CBT-e), best practices dictate that scoring must be revised as well. That means that sufficient data needs to be aggregated for the required additional analyses (of both test questions and candidate performance) that must take place. This data must be taken from actual, operational exam results.

To our candidates, like you, this means that we have to acquire a sufficient sample size of actual exam results in order to perform the required analyses and score the exams properly. This process takes time and that’s why we are only able to release scores at the end of each window, for the time being. After three windows, we will have aggregated enough data so that additional analyses won’t be necessary, and scores can be processed on a rolling basis, and hence more frequently.

We hope this information provides the clarity that many of you are looking for. Thanks again for engaging in this conversation.

The AICPA was very clear long before the beginning of 2011 that scoring would be changing this year and has let us all in on its plan to accelerate the scoring process for the last window of the year. This information is freely available on the AICPA’s website and is digested here on Going Concern for those of you “too busy” to check for yourselves. But for many, this simply isn’t enough. Candidates who cut the 18 month window too close feel cheated and some are even expecting some sort of accommodation by the AICPA. What they seem to be missing is that even if they get their scores at the end of this month, they are not getting them any earlier or later than they could have under the Wave 1/Wave 2 scoring rules.

While many of us are in the business of helping candidates make sense of the wealth of CPA exam information out there, it is imperative to remember that some of what we do involves making educated guesses. Case in point, earlier this month Jeff Elliott at Another71 predicted scores would be out March 17th. Up until now, he’s been pretty dead on about score release dates so while there is no reason to believe he’d be wrong this time, it’s important to keep in mind that his score predictions are just that, predictions. He isn’t privy to information the rest of us aren’t, he has simply been doing this long enough to have a good sense of what to expect.

When March 17th came and went, candidates were outraged that they still didn’t have their scores. Some even took to NASBA’s Facebook page to complain. Said one candidate “A piece of advice for next time, don’t come out with this statement and expect us CPA candidates not to be frustrated and angry when you yourselves stated ALL SCORES would be released March 17th when you obviously knew that was never going to happen!”

But the AICPA never said that.

As of this morning, scores still haven’t been released and candidates are likely still pissed off that they were told March 17th but that isn’t the AICPA’s fault and it isn’t Jeff’s fault either. Such is the nature of the beast and surely candidates know going into this that anything can and will happen.

AICPA Updates Their 2011 Score Release Timeline

A few months back, we got a few moments with the AICPA examinations unit for insight on CBT-e and, most notably, the updated score release plan for this year.

Now it looks like the AICPA has updated their 2011 score release timeline with more details on changes to scoring later in the year, specifically an improvement that will allow them to release scores earlier for the October/November testing window which we first told you about in January. At that time, we were forbidden from telling you how frequently the AICPA wanted this to be but now that they’ve updated the FAQ, this information is all yours to enjoy:

Q. When can I expect to receive my scores after October 2011?

A. During the 2006-2010 testing windows , candidate scores were released in two rounds: The first round approximately one week before the end of the testing window, and the second approximately two weeks after the end of the testing window. In addition, not all candidates who tested early in a window were eligible for the first round of score release. Candidates who took test forms with new test content that required additional analysis and review before scoring were not eligible for the first round of score release.

With CBT-e, improvements have been introduced into the process. Beginning with the October/November 2011 testing window, scores will be released faster and more frequently.

The first round of score release will be approximately one month after the beginning of the testing window. Subsequent score releases will be made every two weeks after the initial release.

In addition, with very few exceptions (see below), candidates who test early in a window will be eligible for the first round of score release.

What are those exceptions? Amazingly, those taking BEC should not expect to get their scores early. The AICPA states that candidates taking BEC will have to wait a little longer for their scores just in case their written communication problems need to be analyzed by the AICPA’s skilled team of robots and/or human beings. They have always been (purposely?) vague about how written communication is graded and we will have to wait for a later talk with their examinations unit to see if we can get more insight on this process, specifically whether or not it will be changing with CBT-e.

Q. Are there any differences in score release by Exam section (AUD, FAR, REG, BEC)?

A. Yes. Candidates who take the BEC section may get their scores in a subsequent release due to additional analyses that may be required for the written communication tasks. Also note that written communication tasks now appear in the BEC section only.

Don’t get disappointed; overall, changes to scoring will improve over previous years and this is a work in progress, meaning the AICPA is working to tweak the candidate experience for the better based on their analysis throughout the year and beyond.

Don’t Wait at the Mailbox for Your CPA Exam Score This Year

On top of content and cosmetic changes for the CPA exam in 2011, the AICPA has pledged to deliver scores more quickly and efficiently by replacing the current random two wave system with a simple, single release during the blackout month.

Here’s how it has worked up until now: depending on when you sit for the exam, you can get your scores in either Wave 1 or Wave 2. Wave 1 includes most people who tested early in the window and Wave 2 is (supposed to be) released before or during the blackout month (that’s March, June, September and December) so you can get a new NTS and reschedule a failed part in the next window. Anyone who has waited for a score in the last few windows can tell you this system is flawed and obviously under quite a bit of pressure with increased applicant volume in recent months.


But for the first three windows on 2011, the AICPA is going to try out a new score release system that would mean those who test in January/February will receive their scores in one release in March. Apr/May will be released in June and July/Aug will be released in September. That means California applicants better hope scores come out early in the blackout so they have time to submit a reapplication and wait for a new NTS as the Board of Accountancy there has been overwhelmed with new applicants and current CPA exam candidates, with three fewer days a month to process everyone thanks to Furlough Friday. Unfortunately for them, it looks like scores will be released at the end of each blackout month.

For now, a passing score is still 75 but the AICPA plans to take data from the first window of the year as it considers changing that going forward. Better get in those exam parts while you can!

The AICPA claims that those testing in the fourth quarter can expect an accelerated release but with all these changes and fancy new tricks up the AICPA’s sleeve, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Should You Request a Rescore if a Simulation Snafu Cost You a Passing Grade on the CPA Exam?

For this, my first CPA exam advice column since 2010 testing finally closed, we have a pretty interesting question from a candidate in Georgia who wants to know if it her 74 is worth a rescore. Normally my advice is to forget about disputing your score as the AICPA has not actually changed a single failing score to passing in the last three years (remember, their formula is bulletproof and they are not about to admit their precious psychometric testing sucks) but this is a special case.

Hello, I have a question related to my score on Auditing and would appreciate any advice you could provide. I took the exam on 10/28/2010 and received my score of 74. I am wondering what my options are for appeal or review. The reason for this is because on the last simulation one of the tabs was not the same when I tried to review as when I first saw it. I am 100% sure that I had the choice of 6 options when taken the exam. But once I went back to review the test, there were only 4 choices available. I did report this to the coordinator that was present and she told me that she would write a report. I also reported in the section where they ask if there were any problems during testing.

Firstly, remember that Prometric test center staff are not hired by the AICPA to administer your test. They administer hundreds of different professional examinations, not just the CPA, so they don’t really get how important a single screwed up simulation can be to your overall score. Don’t be surprised if they merely wrote down your complaint and tossed it into the examination abyss.

That being said, the AICPA’s appeal process isn’t really going to help you. As I said above, the chances of a rescore turning out favorably for you are slim to none.

But you may have another option, available through your state board, that would allow you to meet with one of their representatives and see the questions you did not answer correctly. Whether or not this actually ends up in your 74 turning into a 75 is up for debate and in my three years of working in CPA review, I never met anyone who did this, let alone did it successfully.

Contact your state board and ask about the score appeal option. If available, you will likely have to pay a fee and there are no guarantees that anything positive will come of it but if you sincerely believe that the simulation changed, that’s a glitch and throwing out that simulation could just bring you beyond a 75.

Good luck!

Tales From the CPA Exam: Is Gum Really Banned at Prometric?

Directly from CPAnet comes word that gum could possibly be banned by Prometric, although it may only apply if the testing staff are having a bad day. I didn’t see gum on the list of prohibited items either and would assume the rules are not there for interpretation by staff based on the mood they are in.

The test facilitator at Prometric today made me take my gum out before the exam. I rebutted with the fact that the AICPA does not prohibit gum in the list of prohbited items in the AICPA Candidate Bulletin: She then explained that people have left their gum in the testing center and it has been a “mess” to clean up. She seemed irritated and ornery, and I didn’t want to raise my blood pressure any higher before going into the test room… so I conceded and spit out my gum.

Now, I tend to consider myself to be a courteous and responsible gumchewer. I dispose of my gum in its original wrapper that always ends up in a trash can. One reason I like chewing gum while taking a test is b/c it allows me to harness any natural stress and focus on the task at hand. I really could’ve used some gum today, but I didn’t let that ruin my test. However, I will never be able to quantify the effect of my lack of gum on my final score tbd. Does anybody know the official gum rule? I think this lady was just having a bad day…

I didn’t attempt to reach Prometric to confirm this candidate’s story, I believe that our little candidate here IS a responsible gumchewer. Since this was posted on August 3 (assuming the night after the exam), the candidate still has until September 3 to request a rescore though it’s been several years since the AICPA has actually granted one (don’t waste the money).

I believe you can also contest the conditions of your testing center within the same 30 day window so if you absolutely must, go that route. Complain that you were subjected to conditions outside of your control that had a detrimental effect on your performance and see how that works out.

Or hope you passed and don’t bring gum next time. Regardless of why you wanted it, you should have been allowed it since it wasn’t on the list. Hopefully this person checks in and lets us know how it turns out.

Are Too Many People Passing the CPA Exam?

The AICPA recently announced that it would be re-evaluating the CPA exam scoring process and we’ve been wildly speculating awhile as to what that might actually mean. Staying true to the doom and gloom, yours truly immediately thought the AICPA Board of Examiners was convinced you kids would bomb FAR horribly in Q1 and 2 of 2011 with the addition of IFRS and they were just preparing for that.

Upon further reflection, maybe the exam is too easy. Maybe requirements to sit are not strict enough (even though we’re down to 4 states that allow you to sit with 120 units last I checked). Maybe the job market is worse than anyone wants to admit — now wait a minute, what does that have to do with it?


There isn’t raw data that tells us how many would-be CPAs we have on our hands who have passed all four parts of the CPA exam but still can’t get a job, at least none I’ve seen. I’ve spoken to these people and it doesn’t seem to be getting better in the aggregate.

I believe the BLS numbers somewhat concur with this conclusion, if you can believe them. (CPA Trendlines has them)

I hear you guys bitching about it all the time. If you’re still employed and trying to take the CPA exam, you get the extra special designation of ultra-masochist but it’s not you guys the AICPA BoE is worried about, it’s the bottleneck of people who’ve passed the CPA exam trying to squeeze in 2 years in public to get a license.

Case in point, a friend of mine here in the great (broke) state of California decided to take on the CPA exam a tad later in life than some of you. We won’t hate on her for that. She worked her ass off and eventually got through it. She’s a leader of a prestigious accounting society in her community and has the credentials a lot of the kids coming out of school don’t. She can’t find a job. She’s tried every firm in town large and small as well as the surrounding area. I’ve scouted the Bay Area and can’t find anything for her either.

She’d stay more than 2 years and be more than a body filling the chair but they don’t even have a chair for her.

She’s not the only one. So maybe the AICPA BoE caught on and is going to try to change that. They can’t create the jobs so what do you think they’ll do?

Oh, and if anyone has a lead on a public accounting gig in the top half of California for my qualified little friend here, do get in touch.