Analyzing Your CPA Test Results

Analyzing CPA test results

You’ve been refreshing the scores page for the last 15 minutes waiting for yours to finally pop up. When it finally does, you’re either completely elated or totally let down. Really, there is no in between. But how exactly do you analyze your CPA test results? Well, as usual, it depends on your score.

You Got A 75 Or More

No need to analyze. There are some people who are going to be overjoyed that they got a 75. There are others who will feel like they may not be as good as others with just a 75. But the reality is, at least in the job world, your actual passing score doesn’t matter. Employers simply want you to get those three letters behind your name, whether that means passing with a 75 or passing with a 99.

Obviously, you can celebrate a great score. Say you got a 92 on FAR and you’re over the moon. Go ahead and post the score on Insta, throw yourself a party (with all your jealous accounting friends), and revel in that 92 (at least until you start studying for your next exam).

You Missed The Mark

It can be mind-numbing to open that score report and see something lower than a 75. A million negative thoughts are going to run through your brain, but you have to put a stop to them right away.

Our minds tend to think that anything less than passing means that we failed. That we aren’t good enough. But you have to remember, there are hundreds of factors that go into preparing for and taking the CPA exam, and any number of them may have been the reason you didn’t pass.

Keep in mind, the CPA exam is hard. The difference between passing and failing literally could have been about 4 hours of studying. That doesn’t make you a failure, it just means you’ll have to factor those 4 hours in next time. The most important thing you can do with a score less than 75 is learn. Think back on how you studied and what you felt like on exam day. Was everything ideal? If not, then you know where to improve.

What Should You Do If You Didn’t Pass?

It may seem silly to interpret a score less than 75, but hear me out. There are certain future steps you should take depending on your score.

If you scored pretty close to 75 (I would say between 65 and 74), then you should re-study for and re-take that same exam. You were clearly on the right path since you were so close to passing, so go back, brush up, and hammer out the material you weren’t completely comfortable with. Then take on that exam again.

The only exception I would give to this rule is if you’ve been studying for your next exam more than 6 hours a day for a few weeks. You’ve already got all that new material in your brain, so don’t waste your time going back to study for the one you didn’t pass.

If your score was less than a 65, I would consider opting for a different exam. Take a short break to let your brain recover and then dive into some new material. It will give you a change of scenery, and when you come back to the exam you didn’t pass, you’ll have a fresh start.

And, as always, good luck, my accounting friends!

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