When you spend months preparing for the CPA exam diligently and studying hard for the upcoming sections of the Exam, you feel confident about yourself and you know you would ace the Exam. Once the NASBA posts your score, you are not satisfied as the score isn’t according to your hard work. Sometimes you made a mistake truly and at times, you might not be wrong.

This situation has happened to some candidates and it’s definitely necessary to know what can one do in such a situation? Because if you truly feel there has been a mistake in the scoring then you need to know your options.

When and how can I check my score?

First things first, you can basically refer to the score release timeline from the AICPA to see when your scores will be sent to NASBA to know your score. The NASBA CPA Candidate Account doesn’t permanently house your scores. You can only view the scores that were released for the current window. After the expiration date listed you will no longer be able to view your advisory score or the score notice. You should print the Score Notice once it is available to keep for your records. 

You will receive a Candidate Performance Report in case you failed an exam section that assesses your performance on that specific section. The report’s information, along with your score, provides an assessment of your Exam performance. You should keep in mind that these two items present different views of your performance and are determined separately. You receive the report for informational purposes only as it has no bearing on your official score.

CPA Exam Score Review:

If you don’t think the score you got is correct then in that case you may file a score report. The score review process is simply an additional independent verification of your CPA exam score. The review process involves making certain that the approved answer keys were used and applied correctly in determining a candidate’s score and is not an opportunity to have alternate responses considered. 

It is also noted that all scores undergo thorough quality control checks before they are released so it is unlikely that your score might change because of a score review. There is a score review deadline so make sure that you request a review within that particular time period. Contact your Board of Accountancy for all the information and instructions on how to request for the review. 

What is an Appeal?

Now, you should also know about appeals. In jurisdictions that allow for appeals, an opportunity where you can appeal a failing score. You must consider requesting an appeal only if you want to review your incorrect responses because you believe a question or simulation problem you would like to challenge. Due to the appeal option, you can view the MCQs or objective simulation problems that you answered incorrectly together with their responses and to submit comments online and the appeal doesn’t include written communication tasks. 

If you actually feel you want to request an appeal for the incorrect questions you wrote then obviously, you have to be completely prepared as you would have to present a compelling defense for the incorrect answers. You cannot submit new answers; you can only challenge the MCQs or simulations you gave in the Exam.  

Contact your Board of Accountancy or its designee to determine whether the appeal option is available in your jurisdiction. Score Appeals are not permitted in the following jurisdictions:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Montana
  • Texas
  • Virginia

The confidentiality of the Exam requires that such appeal sessions take place only in authorized locations, under highly secure conditions, and in the presence of a representative of your Board of Accountancy. Even regarding the appeal’s exact fees, you must contact your Board of accountancy; you will be charged a separate fee for each item, which is either an MCQ or a simulation. The exact costs of requesting a score review vary depending on the Exam section but typically costs between $150 and $200.

The Board will submit your appeal request to AICPA and NASBA once you qualify for an appeal. AICPA will be the one reviewing your answers and then forward the result to NASBA. NASBA will report the result to your Board, or its designee, and the result will be transmitted to you.


There are many times where candidates fail at least one section of the CPA exam on their first attempt. NASBA estimates that only 1 in 5 people pass all four sections on the first try. Over the first three quarters of 2016, the cumulative passing rates for each section ranged between 46.37% and 56.55% and it is possible that some of those failures really were mistakes.

If you do feel you need those scores checked and that there might’ve been a mistake, then yes, you should go for either a score review or request an appeal about which everything is given in the above blog. But since AICPA takes quality control very seriously and grades each Exam twice before sending results to your state’s Board of Accountancy, mistakes are very unlikely. In case you have any more queries regarding the CPA exam etc, you may drop your comments down.


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