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New Score Release Timeline for the CPA Exam

CPA Exam Score Report AnswersStarting 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.

With the transition from a pencil and paper exam to the computerized format in 2004, came a shift in the strategies and expectation of CPA candidates. In particular, the ability to take one exam section at a time and nearly year-round scheduling opportunities has dramatically changed the way CPA candidates prepare and plan for the exam. After the transition to computer based testing, one of the most common requests received from CPA candidates is for faster score releases so they can start planning the next steps in their test taking process.

Early score reporting is now possible due to the implementation of a major U.S. CPA Exam update known as CBT-e, launched in January 2011. CBT-e includes the key to early score reporting, the Task-Based Simulation, a short simulation that is akin to a subcomponent of the simulations previously found on the exam.  Scoring data for a TBS is easier to gather, alleviating one of the primary bottlenecks previously found in the scoring process.

Starting in the fourth quarter of 2011 the following score release timeline will be implemented:

Day in Testing Window*

Target Release Date Timeline

Target Q4'11 Score Release

Day 1 – 20

10 business days following day 20 of the testing window

November 3

Day 21 – 45

5 business days following day 45 of the testing window

November 21

Day 46 – Close of window

5 business days following the close of the testing window

December 7

After Close of Window

5 business days after receiving all scoring data for the testing window


* Records received by AICPA

Note: Some scores for the BEC section may be released in a subsequent release due to the written communication tasks.

More details on task-based simulations and the recent CBT-e Exams update may be found on the CPA Examinations webpage.

Oliver Zhang, Ph.D., Senior Psychometrician, American Institute of CPAs. Dr. Zhang holds a Ph.D. in Psychometrics from University of Delaware.  He oversees operational scoring and analysis, and test assembly. Dr. Zhang is also conducting research on item exposure control methodologies and inventory management models.


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