Along with the day you sit for the exam, the other most important day in your CPA journey is the CPA Exam score release day. On the NASBA score release day, you learn the results of all your hard work. You also get a sense of how much longer the journey will last. But when is score release day?
I’ll tell you the CPA Exam score release dates and also provide more details about this significant exam event. Even if you haven’t taken a CPA Exam section yet, you should check these dates as you make your CPA Exam study plan. Then, you know when you’ll receive your scores once you do sit.
Historically, the CPA Exam was available during 4 annual testing windows:
But starting in 2024, the CPA Exam will start to have some blackout dates again. And since the new exam will follow a Core+Discipline Model (candidates take 3 core sections and 1 discipline section), those sections have different blackout dates, too.
The schedule for CPA Exam score release dates is changing slightly in 2024. You can find the information about the 2023 score release dates listed below, but here’s a summary of the 2024 dates:
The AICPA wants you to know the following about your CPA Exam score release date:
You should know that these dates are not usually set in stone. While the AICPA announces the score release dates as early as possible, they may occasionally adjust these dates throughout the year.
Also, these are the target score release dates. You can’t be 100% sure as to when you will receive your score. However, you can increase your chance of getting your exam score by one of these dates. You just have to avoid taking the exam on a cutoff date (i.e. Day 20, Day 45).
For best results, give yourself 2 days of leeway. For example, take the exam on Day 18 or before or on Day 43 or before.
As you can see from the tables, in the past, the score release dates for a testing window have occurred multiple times during that quarter. Typically, the AICPA plans the first score release date for a testing window in the first week of the second month in that quarter. Then, the subsequent score release dates happen every 2 weeks after the initial release. Usually, this schedule produces 5 score release dates per testing window.
However, when the exam experiences significant changes, such as those affecting the 2017 and 2018 CPA Exam versions, the AICPA may reduce the number of score release days. The AICPA uses this extra time to statistically validate candidate performance and conduct standard settings.
I know how stressful it can be to watch @NASBA’s Twitter feed waiting (and waiting some more) for the official score release announcement. However, you can plan for the releases and better manage your stress.
Since the AICPA releases the CPA Exam results in batches, 2 factors affect how long you must wait for your score. These factors are the number of score release dates scheduled for that quarter and the time at which you take the exam in the testing window.
When the AICPA schedules fewer score release days, you have to wait longer to get your score if you sit for the exam within the first two months of the quarter.
In general, you’ll receive your results sooner if you sit closer to the end of the window. Let’s look at Q1 2023 to see how long it will take CPA Exam candidates to receive their scores.
|If you take your exam on
|You’ll receive your score within
|Or if you’d like to consider how many weeks, that’s
|2 weeks and 2 days
|1 week and 5 days
|1 week and 2 days
|1 week and 1 day
As we learned from the tables, the AICPA receives the exam data files from Prometric, the testing centers that administer the CPA Exam. The AICPA then sends the scores to NASBA. Finally, NASBA delivers the scores to the state boards of accountancy. NASBA makes the score data deliveries on dates that fall within the testing windows.
As you probably know, all 4 sections of the CPA Exam are computerized. So, why do you have to wait so long for your exam results?
You have to wait a few weeks at least for your CPA Exam score because the AICPA puts your responses to the exam questions through multiple quality assurance reviews to ensure scoring accuracy. The AICPA ascribes a high level of importance, due diligence, and attention to accuracy to the CPA Exam scoring process.
The AICPA also has systems in place to verify the correctness of a score in special cases. Also, the exam grading system is not a straightforward calculation. Humans must monitor the conversion to the scaled grade of 0-99. Therefore, it is understandable that this process would take some time to complete.
Of course, on the CPA Exam score release day, the most important question is, “How can I check my CPA score?” Well, your CPA Exam results may come from 1 of 2 sources.
First, your state board of accountancy may utilize NASBA’s online score retrieval service. If so, you can visit NASBA’s website on the CPA Exam score release day to get your score (aka the NASBA Candidate Portal).
Not all state boards use this service, so you must check with your state board to determine if they do. You should also consult your state board for answers to any of your other score release questions.
Second, your state board may handle the score release process themselves. In that case, you will receive your exam score from them. Your state board may post the scores on their website and then email you when you have the opportunity to find your score there. Or, your state board may mail your scores to you in a physical letter.
Some larger state boards, such as the California Board of Accountancy (CBA) or the Maryland Board of Accountancy, post scores in the accounts their candidates have for their online CPA Exam systems. Additionally, the IL Board of Accountancy also does not utilize the NASBA Candidate Portal for score releases.
Again, check with your state board of accountancy soon so you know exactly where to find your CPA Exam results on the CPA Exam score release day.
If you passed the CPA Exam, you’ll receive a score notice that states your score, your credit status, and the date on which your credit earned for any passed section will expire. In contrast, if you failed the CPA Exam, you’ll receive a performance report. In this report, you’ll see your performance on each content area, as well as by Item Type. You’ll find your score notice and performance report in the NASBA Candidate Portal within 72 hours of receiving your score.
If you earned less than a 75 on the exam and a CPA Performance Report is generated, you’ll be compared to candidates who have just passed the exam. The AICPA defines just passed as a candidate who earns a score between 75 and 80. What’s more, you’ll receive separate high-level information about your performance on MCQs and TBSs.
A passing score for any and all CPA Exam sections is 75. This number is a scaled score. Therefore, it does not represent the percentage of questions you got right. Your CPA Exam score can range from 0 to 99. Also, the AICPA does not curve exam scores.
The AICPA Board of Examiners (BOE) establishes the CPA Exam passing score. To do so, they consider many factors, such as standard-setting study results, historical trends, and exam content changes. They also receive input from NASBA, consultant psychometricians, the academic community, and licensed CPAs.
Then, the AICPA measures your CPA Exam performance against these pre-established standards. Additionally, they hold every candidate to these same standards.
Basically, your score is the weighted combination of scaled scores from the multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and task-based simulations (TBSs).
The balance of MCQs vs. TBSs on the CPA Exam is changing in 2024. Plus, written communications will be a thing of the past starting in January 2024 because the BEC section will not appear on the new CPA Exam. However, the 2024 CPA Exam will follow a Core + Discipline model, and candidates must take 3 Core sections (AUD, FAR, and REG) and choose 1 of 3 Discipline sections (BAR, ISC, or TCP). Here’s the question breakdown for the 2024 exam:
|Multiple-choice questions (MCQs)
|Task-based simulations (TBSs)
When does your CPA Exam score expire?
The credit you receive for passing a CPA Exam section lasts for 30 months. Once you pass your first exam section, you have 30 months to pass the other 3 sections. If you don’t pass the remaining 3 sections in this time period, you will lose credit for the section you passed first.
The start of your 30 months will then roll back to the date you passed your second section. If you don’t pass the remaining sections (including the section you lost credit for) in this new 30-month window, you will also lose credit for the second section passed.
This cycle will continue until you have passed all 4 sections within 30 months.
You can’t just sit around while you wait for your CPA Exam score. Instead, you’ve got to keep studying until you run out of sections. You should know which section to review for next before you receive the score for the previous section. Therefore, you should start studying for that section shortly after your testing appointment.
Even if you receive a failing score and need to retake an exam section, studying for the next section is still a good idea. It allows you to stay in study mode so you don’t lose any ground mentally. It also lets you make progress in an upcoming section, even if you must temporarily interrupt that progress.
To give yourself the best chance at seeing a passing score on the day of your CPA Exam score release, you must study with the best CPA review course for you. Thankfully, I can help you determine which course is right for you. I can also help you save big on your exam prep with CPA review discounts!
If you see a number less than 75 on CPA Exam score release day, you probably won’t feel like the day has been a success. But if you take the proper steps in response to a CPA Exam fail, it can be! I’ve got the information you need to effectively recover from a negative score release experience, so get my score-improving advice today!
If you do earn a 75 or higher, congratulations! You’re so close to the CPA. So now, you should discover what you’ll need to do after the CPA Exam.
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley), and I also passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam on my first try. Additionally, I have led webinars, such as for the Institute of Management Accountants, authored featured articles on websites like Going Concern and AccountingWeb, and I'm also the CFO for the charity New Sight. Finally, I have created other accounting certification websites to help mentor non-CPA candidates. I have already mentored thousands of CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, and CFA candidates, and I can help you too!