Starting in the fourth quarter of 2011 the U.S. CPA Exam will begin releasing scores earlier and more predictably. The change will mark a major shift in the U.S. CPA Exam experience and the strategies that prospective CPAs employ as they work toward passing the exam, according to a publication released by the American Institutes of Certified Public Accountant (AICPA), today (9/28/2011).

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I can say that knowing the score release timeline in advance is extremely (yet strategically) important to any CPA candidate who in their CPA exam taking process. The earlier they know, the sooner they can start planning the next steps. This is time and stress saver indeed to have a more predictable CPA exam score release.

Unfortunately that was impossible in the past—there was no way to know when the exam score would be out, exactly. And today, the AICPA has good news for the next CPA.

“After the transition to computer based testing (in 2004), one of the most common requests received from CPA candidates is for faster score releases,” according to AICPA Insights.

“Early score reporting is now possible due to the implementation of a major U.S. CPA Exam update known as CBT-e, launched in January 2011. CBT-e includes the key to early score reporting, the Task-Based Simulation, a short simulation that is akin to a subcomponent of the simulations previously found on the exam.  Scoring data for a TBS is easier to gather, alleviating one of the primary bottlenecks previously found in the scoring process.”

So, starting in the fourth quarter of 2011 the following score release timeline will be implemented:

  • Testing window in within day 1 – 20 – The target release date timeline is 10 business days following day 20 of the testing window. So, for the Q4’11 score release is going to be on November 3’ 2011.
  • Testing window in within day 21 – 45 – The target release date timeline is 5 business days following day 45 of the testing window. So, for the Q4’11 score release is going to be on November 21’ 2011.
  • Testing window in within day 46 – Close of window – The target release date timeline is 5 business days following the close of the testing window. So, for the Q4’11 score release is going to be on December 7’ 2011.
  • Testing window after close of window – The target release date timeline is 5 business days after receiving all scoring data for the testing window. So, for the Q4’11 score release is going to be on the TBA.

AICPA also put an important note that some scores for the BEC section may be released in a subsequent release. (Source: )