Candidate Performance Report and Samples - FAQs

March 11, 2017

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How does the candidate performance report relate to my score for this section?

Both your score and Candidate Performance Report information assess your Examination performance; however, they present different views of your performance and are separately derived.

Your score – the official result – was obtained using Item Response Theory (IRT)* scoring and was calculated as a whole, taking into account all of your responses**.

The Candidate Performance Report shows performance in each of the content areas of the Examination and overall performance by item type. The Candidate Performance Report is provided for informational purposes only, and has no official bearing on a candidate’s score.

*For information about IRT, please refer to

** For a detailed description of scoring on the CPA Exam, please refer to the paper,How is the CPA Exam Scored?

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Why is my performance compared to the performance of candidates who earned scores between 75 and 80? Why isn't it compared to the performance of all candidates who passed? How is the comparable group calculated?

Since the purpose of the Candidate Performance Report is to help you identify the performance areas you should improve in order to pass, your performance is compared to those who have "just passed" – candidates with scores between 75 and 80. Further, the relative performance scale (stronger, comparable, weaker) on the Candidate Performance Report are derived from the range between one-half of one standard deviation above and below the average score of candidates who earned scores between 75 and 80. Performance within the range is considered "comparable," below the range "weaker," and above the range "stronger."

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Should I only study the content areas that are indicated as being weaker?

It is always best to study everything. If you only study the areas where you are weak, you might do better on those areas, but worse on others when you re-test.

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