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>75: What Happens When You Get a 74?

agony.jpgEditor’s note: Welcome to latest edition of >75, our weekly post on questions that you have related to the CPA Exam. Send your questions to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer as many of them as possible. You can see all of the JDA’s posts for GC here and all our posts related to the CPA Exam here.
It might be the worst feeling in the world. Trust me, I know people who have gotten 17s and 24s on the exam – these are not my CPA Review students, of course, these are people who tried to go the CPA exam alone – and a 74 beats their misery any day of the week.

Nearly 99% of the candidates I talk to (I’m making that percentage up off the top of my head, mind you) who get a 74 on any part of the exam did everything they were supposed to do. They did hours of multiple choice and tons of practice simulations and even did the tutorial at before test day.
These are people who asked me very early on how they could plan their time, requested updates weeks before they were available and had me emailing 3 years’ worth of previous CPA exam questions for them to practice on. From all appearances, they did everything they were supposed to and yet got a 74, the worst possible score you can get (17 on FAR aside but we won’t talk about that mmmmmkay?).
So what do you do if you’re that person?
Don’t bother requesting a “rescore” from the AICPA Board of Examiners: For all of 2008, not a single rescore request resulted in a candidate going from FAIL to PASS. It’s a waste of time and money and the AICPA isn’t going to admit their CBT is at all faulty (those of you who have actually taken it probably know better but we won’t talk about that either) so accept your score and move on.
Don’t move on to a new section While you have to deal with the fact that you’re going to have to pay re-application fees to the Board and another exam fee, the best thing you can do in the case of a 70 – 74 is to go right back to that section and schedule a new exam as soon as possible. A 74 especially shows that you have an excellent command of the information, just a little more studying and you’re over that hump.
Look at your score report: Your score report is going to give you quite a bit of insight on where you went wrong the first time. When you fail an exam part, they go so far as to tell you where you failed the worst, USE THAT! When you go back over your review materials, there’s no need to watch every single lecture video again fourteen times – just look at the report, figure out where you need more work, and do extra practice questions in those areas.
Finally, don’t beat yourself up. If this exam were easy, everyone would be a CPA.

A Week Really Isn’t That Long

calendar.jpgWe feel compelled to remind everyone that there is exactly one week to go until the corporate tax filing deadline of September 15th. By now, with seven days to go, most of you working in tax compliance have probably had one of the following experiences:
• A nervous breakdown
• MSG overdose
• Showered using the bathroom sink at the office
Regardless of your sitch, we’re here to get you to the finish line, even if the layoff rumors are still lurking. Discuss how things look down the stretch and drop us anything you hear regarding potential layoffs at your firm after the deadline.


watercooler.jpgThe first post-holiday workday is tough. We’re pretty sure most of you are to the point of seriously considering packing it up because the melancholy is too much for you. For those of you that aren’t using a cocktail of illegal prescriptions to get you through this day, get caught up on some stuff you may have missed last week. It will help you make it to lunch at least.
Deloitte Tops Business Week’s “Top Place to Launch a Career”. E&Y, PwC, KPMG round out the top four. GT landed at 51. Highest three year retention rate for these five was 56%.
E&Y bans Pandora, seemingly to save on bandwidth. It’s still worth bitching about.
Nearly half of you didn’t work this holiday weekend which means half of you did work (12% worked all weekend). Of course, lots of you probably didn’t get asked to take mandatory PTO.
• Surprisingly, bitterness is rampant.
RSM McGladrey seems to have a good understanding of why men are interested in golf.
Feel better people, it’s a short week (for some).