CPA Exam Score Release Timeline:
January 1-20 Exams
Official Target Date: February 4
NINJAs Said: Monday, February 3
Actual Date: Monday, February 3
January 21 – February 14 Exams
Official Target Date: February 25
NINJAs Said: Monday, February 24
Actual Date: Monday, February 24
Next: February 15-28 Exams
Official Target Date: March 10
NINJAs Say: Friday, March 7
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David is a NINJA CPA Blogger.
10:45 am. October 2, 2002. A phone call that would change my life forever, and alter my CPA path for a very long time.
I had been studying for the exam for about three months–back when it was paper based, 4 exams in two days, only in November and May. The call was from my brother, telling me my mother had suddenly passed away in a tragic car accident.
I was dumbfounded, shocked and in utter disbelief. I was a total mommy’s boy, and spoke to her at least two times a day for as long as I can remember. She helped me through college. Through my extra 30 hours. She was my life and my CPA motivation. She believed in me.
I was stunned and in a literal state of shock for years (and still am). I ceased my studying to deal with the loss and the arrangements. Two days before the exam, I realized I had already paid for it and might as well take a shot at it despite my lack of studying. I failed all 4 parts miserably.
I lost all motivation. All desire for the exam, and in life. I sunk into a deep depression. Needless to say, the exam was the last thing on my mind. I forgot about it. And used my depression as an excuse not to re-take it. I ended up getting out of public accounting and became a Controller at a private VC firm.
Time moved on. I got married to the woman whom my mom spoke her last words to. We had two beautiful kids. Passing the CPA exam was nowhere in my plans. My position never required it, so I didn’t care.
Fast forward a number of years to when I lost my job in late 2011. I had no idea what to do. Then my wife said, “you have time now … You need to get your license. Your mom believed you could do it. You owe it to her memory and to our family. Why get this far and not even attempt it?”
So I got back on the train in December 2011 and started studying … And studying. And spending time away from my family. One section at a time.
My wife’s grandfather paid for my first retake in 10 years. Then he passed away on February 3, 2012, before I received my first passing score. But I passed the one (REG) that he paid for. Now I was determined. I owed it to me, my mother, my wife’s grandfather and my family.
The third attempt at BEC finally gave me my second pass, but I had to pass FAR and AUD in the same window to prevent REG from expiring. All while having to go through heart surgery (not open heart, but an ablation on 5 faulty heart nerves) during that window. 83 on AUD, 74 on FAR. Lost REG, Ugh.
And then I lost my job. Another Ughhh. Free time, but had to use half of it to find another position, while studying. So I retook FAR first, since the info was still somewhat fresh in my head. Another 74. Yet another Ughhh. So I switched to REG in the same window and fortunately passed my retake right away.
So I now had about a year to pass FAR to be done. I didn’t want to wait that long. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to land a job with a Fortune 20 company, which pushed my motivation into overdrive. I needed to pass FAR so I could start focusing on my new job.
I got the FAR NINJA Notes, and befriended Mints on the Forum, and started following her journey. She was at the same point as I was … 3 down, and a FAR retake, due to the dreaded 74. Her posts motivated me.
Fast forward to February 3, 2014. Score release day: 80 on FAR. I’m done. On the anniversary of the death of the wonderful man who paid for my first retake.
It’s been a long post, but the bottom line is this: I’ve been through hell and back during this 10 year journey. The death of two incredible family members who believed in me and this CPA trek. Depression. Heart surgery. My marriage. The birth of two beautiful children. Employment and unemployment. Lack of study time. But I did it.
Finally. It’s over. I don’t think it’s a coincidence I passed two years to the day that my wife’s grandfather passed away. He and my mom are smiling down on me now.
For all those out there still going through this journey … Keep your eye on the prize. If I can do it, you can. It takes determination and self examination.
Thank you to my mom, Pop Pop, wife and kids, Jeff, Mints, Baxter, and all others who have contributed to my motivation and my ultimate success.
By the way, my forum name is Gatorbates. I’m sure a few of you have met me by now. Best of luck to all of you!! This journey is worth it!!
This is from the CPA Exam Survival Guide, which is a free download to all Another71 readers.
I know that right now is a miserable time and it is easy to start believing thoughts that simply are not true.
Thoughts like youʼre not smart enough to pass, accounting isnʼt for you, the AICPA hates you and does not want you in the profession, etc.
I personally felt all those emotions and had those thoughts going through my head as well. A few years removed from the exam process, I can tell you that being on the other side truly is worth it.
My problem was always commitment to the exam. I wanted to be a CPA, but I didnʼt really want to be a CPA. (I had better things to do after a long day of public accounting like play Madden.)
Picture yourself three years from now.
Will this momentarily failure – be it a 55, a 71, or a 74, mean anything?
No. It will be a distant memory and like most things, you look back at tough times with a fondness that wasn’t there when you were in the middle of it.
This very well could be one of the toughest times you encounter in your career outside of getting downsized or laid off.
Stay with it.
It will pay off in the end. Just the sheer fact that you got this far tells me you are more than smart enough to pass this exam.
Get up and dust yourself off. You’re tough. Youʼll be fine. Anyone can quit this thing. Quitting is simply not an option for you. It just isn’t.
You scored a 60 or less:
Is it hopeless? No way! It happens all of the time. It may seem like you’re the only one scoring this low, but I promise you that it happens more than you would think because I get the e-mails. They can’t talk to their spouse (who isn’t taking the exam). They can’t talk to their co-workers or boss (too ashamed). They e-mail me.
They work through it. They pass.
You scored a 71-ish:
Are you 4 “points” away? No. There is a significant hole in your conceptual understanding of a few topics. You know what they are if you’re honest with yourself. They are those sections of your exam that you pray you don’t see on Exam Day.
Start your study prep over and don’t cut any corners whatsoever.
The same goes for a 74:
Many people start looking for information on how to appeal an exam score when they score a 74 (or even a 73). Forget it.
You could take another exam and get your score back by the time you get your appeal results.
Let’s face it: there is a next-to-nothing chance the AICPA is going to overturn your score.
I’ve certainly never heard of it happening, and if it did happen, I would have heard about it in the Another71 Forum.
As you re-study, remember this:
You’re not one “point” from passing.
You’re 75 “points” away.
You scored that 74 more than a month ago.
Start over and hit it hard. Figure out what your weak area is and own it.
As the late Zig Ziglar said, “Remember that failure is an event, not a person.”
Never forget that.
Final point: If you fail an exam, aside from a spouse or loved one, it’s no one else’s business unless you decide to make it their business.
Tell your nosy co-worker to pound sand.
(I have an attorney friend who says that a lot and I like it.)
You lost an exam credit:
Losing credit for a passed exam is terrible. I know this first hand.
I was so elated over passing FAR that I literally took a year off from the exam to celebrate.
Not a smart move.
After I started rolling and passed BEC and AUD, I came to my nemesis: Regulation.
I had previously scored a 74 on REG and I was back for vengeance. My FAR credit was also on the line.
Pass REG and I was done with the CPA Exam.
Fail REG and I was back to having passed only two sections.
Stakes were high.
I fired up my laptop.
Hit refresh on the NASBA Score page.
Held my breath …
I stared in disbelief. I wanted to throw my computer across the room.
Not just across the room—I wanted to throw it through the wall.
Is this a mistake?
It wasn’t a mistake. I missed the mark.
It took me several days, but I eventually owned my failure.
I pretended like I didn’t have to pass FAR again because I dreaded re-studying for that thing so much.
Given a choice between being water boarded and taking FAR, I would have taken the former.
I hated FAR. I blocked it out of my mind.
I realized a harsh truth about failing REG: I was failing because there were a few areas that I flat-out refused to study.
I knew which ones they were, too: AMT, Like-Kind Exchanges, and 1231, 1245, and 1250 Assets. They were boring. I didn’t want to study them.
I forced myself to study them and re-studied everything else again.
I also re-passed FAR on my next attempt.
Back to you…
If you lost an exam credit, it only seems like it’s the end of the world.
Mentally, you have to take inventory of what exams you’ve passed, not what you just lost.
You lost credit for one, but you still have two exams passed.
A lot of people would give their left pinky to be in your shoes.
CPA Exam Fail: Recovery and Retake Recap:
If you just failed an exam, it’s no one’s fault except your own.
I don’t care what happened at the exam center that day.
I don’t care how crazy work got the week prior to your exam.
I don’t care how insane the simulation topics were.
It’s your fault.
Be accountable. There are no bailouts.
If you fail … Study harder.
If you fail again … Study even harder.
I too struggled with the blame game but the faster I got over it, the faster I got back on the road to a 75 .
(or a 92).
Jeff Elliott is a licensed CPA (KS) and author of the CPA Exam Survival Guide, which is available for 3 easy payments of free.
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