Do CPA Exam Scores Matter?

You just opened your score report and you crushed your exam. Now you’re wondering how to let future employers know just how well you did on that section. But before you get too crazy, Google “do CPA exam scores matter”. You’ll find plenty of threads that contain comments that are along these lines:

“I could care less what score you got, as long as you passed.”

“I would probably hold it against you if you scored higher than me.”

“If you put your scores on your resume, I’m going to think you’re annoying.”

So harsh! And I even edited out the bad stuff. The truth is: to the state licensing boards and to future employers, only the fact that you passed matters. As long as the score you received was a 75 or above, you’re good to go.


But My Scores Matter to Me!

That’s great – why shouldn’t they?  You should DEFINITELY brag about scores to your family and friends. Believe me, if you open your score report and see a 96, you’re going to want to brag to someone. Tell a friend and allow yourself to jump up and down with excitement. And if you got that magical 75, remind your parents (and yourself) of your perfect studying efficiency. You clearly put in the exact amount of study time needed to pass the exam.


Should I Go Into A Career In High Score Sections?

It can be easy to think that since you rocked your AUD exam but barely passed REG, you should probably take the audit track and forget about going anywhere near tax. But remember, the CPA exam, although really hard, is a test of basic accounting knowledge. Working in a field and taking an exam are two completely different animals.

Whether you go into Audit, Tax, Corporate Accounting, Consulting or Forensic Accounting, you’re going to feel like a newbie on the first day, even if you got 99s on all of your exams. But you’ll learn and hone your skills over time to be good at any accounting career path you choose.

Also, some people retain certain subjects much easier than others. For example, AUD is mostly information and processes. FAR on the other hand deals more with math. If you enjoy soaking up information but aren’t that great at math, you’re probably going to do much better on AUD. But just because math isn’t your thing doesn’t mean you’d be a bad corporate accountant (I’ll let you in on a secret: you use Excel for EVERYTHING).


CPA Stands For “Couldn’t Pass Again”

The CPA exam is a necessary step to put those three, beautiful letters behind your name. But ask anyone who has passed it, and they’ll probably say they don’t remember what they learned. They did what they needed to do to pass, but if they had to take it again, right now, they probably wouldn’t pass again. Does that mean that they’re terrible CPA’s? Most likely not.

So keep in mind that scores don’t necessarily reflect whether or not you’re any good at accounting. As long as you pass, you should be a happy camper!






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