CPA Hot Topics 03/14/11 – CBT-e Scoring Update

Garrett Gleim sends CPA candidates bimonthly emails concerning different aspects of the CPA exam. Candidates can see the most recent email and all the archives here on the CPA Candidate Forum.

If you were one of the inaugural candidates who took a section of the CBT-e Exam in January or February, you are probably on the edge of your seat right now, waiting for the score release. When I took my first section, I felt confident that I had passed, but I was still anxious about my actual score. Instead of stressing about it, however, I decided to learn as much as I could about the scoring procedures so that, when the time came, I could correctly interpret my grade. In this Hot Topics, I will outline for you the most salient points of the scoring and score release process for the CBT-e Exam. The more you know, the more confident you feel as the release date approaches.

Score Release for January/February 2011 window:
In an online article entitled “FAQ: 2011 CPA Exam Score Release Timeline” the AICPA informs candidates that “For the first three testing windows (January/February, April/May, July/August) in 2011, all candidate scores will be released after the close of the testing window.” This indicates that the scores for the first window of 2011 will not be released until some time after February 28, 2011. Since we are now in the second week of March, we can expect a release any time now. Note that the AICPA warns in the article that BEC scores may be released later due to the more complicated grading process for the written communication simulations.

Passing Score:
In their bulletin entitled “How Is the CPA Exam Scored?” effective January 1, 2011, the AICPA confirmed the following: “Section scores are reported on a scale that ranges from 0 to 99. A total reported score of 75 is required to pass each section.” This means that there is no change from the passing score from 2010.

The Scoring Process:
The bulletin mentioned above (“How Is the CPA Exam Scored?”) describes the AICPA’s scoring procedure in detail. The scoring is an extremely complicated process, to the point where the exam is basically curved. However, I really do not suggest that candidates get caught up in the intricacies of scoring. Instead, you should feel confident that you studied using the Gleim suggested steps and answered each question on the exam to the best of your ability.

Candidate Performance Reports:
The AICPA has unveiled a new Candidate Performance Report for the CBT-e Exam. These reports are supplied to NASBA, who may then elect to forward them to candidates along with their scores. All candidates who do not pass a section of the exam should use these reports to assess their strengths and weaknesses. Each Candidate Performance Report has two sections. The first section analyzes performance on multiple-choice testlets. For each area of that section’s Content Specification Outline (CSO), a candidate is graded as having a “weaker,” “comparable,” or “stronger” performance than other candidates. The second section analyzes the candidate’s comparative performance (again using “weaker,” “comparable,” or “stronger”) on the two kinds of questions on that exam section. Therefore, candidates who sat for the AUD, FAR, or REG section will see how they performed on the multiple-choice questions compared to how other candidates performed on the multiple-choice questions as well as how they performed on the Task-Based Simulations compared with how other candidates performed on the Task-Based Simulations. Candidates who sat for the BEC section will see a comparison for multiple-choice questions and Written Communication performance instead. For more information on and multiple samples of this new report, see the AICPA’s online bulletin, “Review Sample Candidate Performance Reports.”

When you do receive your scores, we here at Gleim want to know how you did. It is, after all, the ultimate goal of everyone at Gleim that you pass your exam on the first attempt. In the meantime, try not to stress too much. Know that you used the best review materials on the market and that you did your best. Now, get back to studying that next section you are going to pass!

Do you have any questions or comments about this week’s Hot Topics article or the CPA Exam? Email me at Gleim Personal Counselors are available to help you develop a manageable study schedule and help you pass the CPA exam. Contact them at 800.874.5346, ext 498 or Take advantage of the opportunity to get help from our extraordinary team!

Sign up now for the Gleim CPA Hot Topic’s Email Subscription.

Click here if you know someone who would be interested in signing up for Gleim CPA Hot Topics.