The CPA Exam Scoring Process

Taking the CPA exam is stressful enough without adding on the anxiety of waiting for your scores. But you definitely won't stress out as much if you know exactly how many points you need to pass the exam. Ease your nerves a little and read on to learn about the CPA exam scoring process.

Points Needed to Pass the CPA Exam

All CPA exam scores are determined by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), with scores ranging from point values of 0 to 99 (not percentages). To pass the exam you must score 75 points or higher; 74 points and below is a failing score. All scoring is automated for each section of the exam, except for the written communication portions of the simulations. While some written communication responses are scored using an automated process, some responses may be graded by humans deemed fit to score by the AICPA. No matter which way your exam is graded, all scores are verified throughout the scoring process.

How Points are Allocated

For the AUD, REG and FAR sections, 70% of the score is based on the multiple choice questions and 30% is based on the simulation sections. 10% of the simulation scoring is based on the written communication portion of the simulations. Because the BEC section does not have simulation sections, 100% of the score in the BEC section is based on the multiple choice questions.

Scoring Standards

Many people believe that the CPA exam is graded on a curve, but that actually is not true. The exam is scored against pre-determined standards and every score is an independent result. During the scoring process the pattern of correct and incorrect responses, as well as the difficulty level of the question, are taken into account.

When do I get my Score?

Now comes the frustratingly slow process of waiting for your score. The CPA exam scores are released in two waves for each quarter or testing window, generally between three and six weeks after the exam date. The AICPA releases the scores to all jurisdictions, and then it is each jurisdiction's responsibility to notify their test takers. Most likely you will receive your notification through traditional mail, through the NASBA website or through an online posting on the state board website. Each state is different however, so be sure to check with your state board for the exact details of how you will receive your score.

Now that you know a little more about the CPA exam scoring process and how it works, you can stop checking your email every five minutes and stop accosting your mail carrier when they deliver your mail. Waiting for your score can sometimes feel harder than actually taking the test, but just think about how good you'll feel when you find out you've passed!

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