cpa-exam-did-not-passSo you got a 74, huh? We know, it's a crushing feeling and if you're within passing by just 2 or 3 points (as opposed to getting a 60), a 74 can feel like the end of the world. But don't let a failing score scare you away from your goal of CPA licensure as failure is sort of written in to the entire experience. If the CPA Exam were easy, everyone would be CPAs and we would be out of business!

The strategy for retaking a failed exam depends a lot on how you did. For a 70 - 74, though you didn't pass your score shows that you have an excellent command of the information and only need a little more practice to nail a 75 or above. Your first step is to submit a reapplication to your state board or CPAES and get a new Notice to Schedule for that exam. The sooner you do this the better as the material is still fresh in your mind.

If you have a different exam scheduled, try to put it off. If you are unable to reschedule your other exam without penalties, you can go ahead and study for that one as well but at a minimum try to push that new exam off until the very last minute on your current NTS if you can. More information on the CPA Exam schedule here.

Using your score report, you can look at how you did on the failed exam per topic but remember that these results are comparing you to other candidates and not necessarily a reflection of how you did compared to passing scores as determined by the AICPA Board of Examiners. However this information is useful in giving you an idea of where you need more work. Oftentimes you already know when you leave the test center that you blew a simulation because you ran out of time but the score report will also break down your performance according to the CSOs by topic so if there are any areas where you really need work, focus on those when you go back to studying.

Don't forget to review every area and not just the ones you did poorly in as it's important to keep your body of knowledge fresh for when you go to retake your failed exam. It wouldn't do you much good to spend 18 hours studying pensions on FAR only to forget bonds and blow another exam. Don't make that mistake!

If your failing score is in the 65 or below range, you do have the option to move on to a different part before re-attempting your failed exam as a score of that level shows you have a ways to go as far as studying is concerned. If you are under time pressure because of an about-to-expire NTS or the rolling 18 month period, there's nothing wrong with moving on to the next section and starting from scratch on the section you have just failed once you are ready.

And remember, if you're just a few points short (especially if this is not your first attempt), you might want to look at trying a cram course to freshen up the material and offer a new perspective. If you have been studying the same lectures for several weeks or months, it could be that you have memorized the information. A cram or some additional supplement thrown into your study mix could add new material that can help you break out of that study rut.

Good luck and remember, when you fall off the horse don't sit there in the mud, get back up and kick the horse in the shins!

Go here to watch Roger's tips on passing the CPA Exam.