Please don’t shoot the messenger.
The start of the new October-November round of CPA Exam testing may be a good time to remember that the folks at the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) don’t write the questions on the Uniform CPA Examination. They don’t score your test, and they don’t decide your grade.
Their role in CPA Exam testing is to release your score on the NASBA website. By all accounts they perform that task quickly, consistently and reliably.
It’s true that NASBA and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) joined together to create the CPA Exam, but Prometric creates the test content and determines your grade. Prometric then reports the results to AICPA, which in turn releases scores to NASBA and a handful of independent states.
Most state boards of accountancy hand off score reporting to NASBA. Once AICPA sends scores, the results go up very quickly on the NASBA website.
NASBA score release is often same day
Often CPA exam results go up on the website the same day NASBA receives them. Start looking at midnight EST on the target release date. You can figure on the corresponding time for your own time zone. For instance, candidates who live in Central Standard Time would target 11 p.m. on the day before the target release date.
Keep in mind that NASBA will not post those exam scores until the state boards of accountancy release them. Individual state boards apply their own standard quality control procedures, and they conduct reviews to make sure those procedures are followed. That process may delay score release by one day.
If you took the Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) section of the CPA Exam, you may find you don’t get your score for another week past the targeted release date. The holdup can be traced to the additional analysis that’s required for the written communication task on BEC.
If you want to use NASBA’s website, go to www.nasba.org homepage. Click “Exams,” then click “CPA Exam,” and the click “Get Scores.”
Here’s where the page will tell you how to retrieve your score if you do not live in a NASBA state. On the Candidate Online Advisory Score page, enter your Section ID Number from your Notice to Schedule and then enter your date of birth. Click “Score.”
Target score release timetables
NASBA releases scores to candidates according to the Uniform CPA Exam score release timetables, which are updated biannually on AICPA’s website and on AICPA Insights. The timetables give you a fairly exact idea of when you can expect your score based on the date you take the exam. When you look at the timetables, you’ll see AICPA releases scores at the midpoint of the second month of the testing window.
For example, the current testing window is October and November. If you take your test on or before October 20 and Prometric sends your examination data files to AICPA by 11:59 PM (EST) on October 20, your target release date would be November 4.
Testing windows are the first two months of each quarter. The next windows will be during the months of January and February; April and May; July and August. You’ll find score release timelines are updated biannually on AICPA Insights and on the AICPA CPA Exam website.
A visit to the AICPA Psychometrics and Scoring page will give you additional information about the CPA exam score release and scoring process.
What if you don’t live in a NASBA state?
CPA candidates who live in states that don’t use NASBA’s online score retrieval service should check with their state Board to find out how to retrieve their scores. Independent state candidates will find directions on the NASBA website that will help them retrieve scores from state Boards.
Links to a list of state boards is available at this NASBA score release link.
NASBA score release is provided as a service to state boards of accountancy, and CPA candidates with an anxious eye on the NASBA countdown clock are the winners.