3 Things You Need to Know About the CPA Exam Scoring System

Students tend to dread the CPA exam. Although they have been taking classes and studying for years now, the thought of having to sit for this rigorous evaluation is terrifying.

The CPA Exam: What You Need to Know

About the CPA Exam Scoring System

However, students who understand how the exam is scored often feel more confident walking in the door on test day. What are the three things every person should know about the CPA exam scoring system?

1] How the Exam is Scored

The AICPA scores the CPA exam using a scale of 0-99. In order to pass the exam successfully and become a Certified Public Accountant, an individual must obtain a score of 75 or higher. This is not the same as scoring 75 percent on the exam. A student needs to achieve a minimum of 75 points to pass.

This is important as testlets are weight differently. A person who performs well on a testlet that carries more weight while performing poorly on those testlets that carry less weight can still be successful.

Multiple choice question testlets and task-based simulation testlets tend to weigh the same. However, the exception is in the BEC section of the exam.

Here, the multiple-choice question portion accounts for 50 percent of the weight, the task-based simulation portion is 35 percent of the weight, and the written communication section is 15 percent of the weight.

In the past, multiple-choice sections carried more weight, but this is no longer the case. To see the different types of questions, check out the CPA Exam Review Course.

2] How the Test Works

Students begin receiving questions. If the right answer is selected, the student is then given a question that is more difficult. If the student answers incorrectly, the next question won’t be as difficult. Difficult questions are given more weight during the scoring process.

For this reason, answering a few difficult questions allows a student to obtain a better score than answering a number of medium questions. However, this only applies to multiple-choice questions. The task-based simulations and written communication portions of the test aren’t weighed in terms of their difficulty.

Be aware that each test contains both pretest and operational questions. The pretest questions don’t count toward the student’s score but the operational ones do. The pretest questions are only included so the AICPA can determine if they should be used in future versions of the test.

3] Question Difficulty

Students often want to know how the difficulty of a test question is determined. This is done using a statistical analysis of the responses received by candidates. The difficulty isn’t actually quantified as either moderate or difficult. Instead, a numeric value is assigned to each question along a scale.

Each testlet is categorized as either medium or difficult, and this is based on the average difficulty of all questions within the particular testlet. Each testlet has questions that span the range. The only difference between a difficult testlet and a medium one is the average level of difficulty of the questions found within.

Don’t allow stress to get between you and your dream of becoming a CPA. Learn all that is possible about the test beforehand, study, and make use of practice exam materials. Individuals who do so feel more confident walking in the door as they know what to expect and can begin working on the test questions immediately.

Don’t think about the difficulty of the questions or worry about how others have done. Simply move through the test and do your best. Those who do so find they feel better about the exam once it is over and can wait for the results without a great deal of anxiety. This is appreciated after the stress of preparation.

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Michael Austin

Michael Austin is a Internet Entrepreneur, Blogger, Day Dreamer, Business Guy, Fitness Freak and Digital Marketing Specialist. He also helps companies to grow their online businesses.