CPA Exam Score Release May Keep You Up at Night


The anxiety of waiting for the CPA Exam score release may be even harder than studying or taking the text. Some CPA candidates have called it torture. Others have called it worse.

Nothing is going to restore your sleepless nights, but knowing something about CPA score release timing may shorten those endless hours of waiting a little bit.

The good news is that the vast majority of CPA candidates will see their scores at midnight EST on the target release date. That’s 11 p.m. on the previous day for CST.

There Can Be Delays With Your CPA Exam Score Release

The bad news: A tiny minority of test takers may have to wait at least one additional day beyond the published CPA exam score release target date for their State Board of Accountancy to process and release exam scores. Scores will not be released until your state board reviews and applies standard quality control procedures.

If you are taking the business environment and concepts (BEC) part of the CPA Exam’s four sections, you’ve probably already heard that the written communication task requires additional analysis that can delay your score for one more week past the targeted release date.

The other three CPA exam sections—auditing and attestation (AUD), regulation (REG), and financial accounting and reporting (FAR)—don’t inflict that extra measure of agonized waiting.

Use Score Release Timetables for Planning

It’s a very good idea to plan your testing with the CPA score release timetables in hand. Take a look at the Uniform CPA Exam score release timetables posted by The American Institute of Public Accountants (AICPA) on AICPA Insights and on AICPA’s website.

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) created the CPA Exam with AICPA and releases scores to candidates and the state boards based on those timetables.

Look at how long you’ll have to wait to get your scores. Then think about the emotional impact of waiting for the first score if you’re planning to take a second section within the same testing period. How’s that going to affect your ability to study?

Keep in mind that you have an 18-month window to successfully complete all four parts of the CPA exam. If you don’t pass all four within those 18 months, you’ll have to take the entire exam again. Successfully scheduling tests during that crucial period depends on consulting those score release timetables.

How to Find Your Score

You may find your CPA Exam score on the NASBA website if your State Board of Accountancy uses NASBA’s online score retrieval service. NASBA’s service also will give you instructions on how to get your score if you don’t live in a NASBA state.

It’s a better idea if you don’t live in a NASBA state to check comfortably ahead of the target release date with your state board on where to find your score.

Here’s how to find your score on NASBA:

  • Go to homepage.
  • Click “Exams.”
  • Click “CPA Exam.”
  • Click “Get Scores.” If you are not taking the exam in a NASBA state, the page will tell you how to find your score.
  • On the Candidate Online Advisory Score page, enter your “Section ID Number” from your “Notice to Schedule.” Then enter your date of birth.
  • Click “Score.”

Last Minute Tip

Most CPA candidates keep an eye on the countdown clock NASBA puts up on its website few days before the exam. The clock tracks when the scores will be available. The enormous amount of traffic on the site once the clock strikes midnight EST may crash the site.

Here’s a hint: Keep different browsers such as Chrome and Explorer open as the clock winds down. Try refreshing with two or three minutes left on the clock. That may help you avoid a crash that could cost you another intolerable 30 minutes waiting for your score.

Helpful Links

The NASBA Candidate Bulletin offers this video on the CPA exam score release.

Jeff Elliott, author of, has posted a YouTube video on the CPA exam score release process.

NASBA 4th Quarter 2015 score release timetable.

AICPA CPA exam score release graphic.