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I must share the ultimate horror story regarding the CPA Exam ...

This happened to one of my friends and fellow graduate-school student.

There was a group of us who always got together to study for the various classes we had in grad school. We spent a lot of time together because our program was full-time and very intense and we found it more productive to spend the extra hours working together than on our own. I can remember times when we'd spend the entire weekend (as we went to class four days a week, the weekend was Friday - Sunday) at Dodge Hall preparing for a mid-term or final ... literally from 9 or 10am until 10 or 11 pm all three days, but that's off the point of my story.

Anyway, all of us graduated in September 1998 and all of sat for the Uniform CPA Exam in November 1998 here in Massachusetts.

There were (as there are now) four parts to that exam -- FARE, ARE, Audit, and Law. We were required to sit for all four at the same time. As we needed a 75% to pass any one part provided you got at least 50% on all other parts, plus the requirement that you had to pass a minimum of two parts to get credit for any of them, our work was cut out for us.

What made it even more challenging is that the graders had recently changed their philosophy about passing people with marginal scores. We were told that there used to be a time when almost nobody got a 71, 72, 73, or 74. But no more. What you got was what you got, and if it was 1 point short then you failed and had to take the part over again. You could, of course, appeal, but as the exam was starting to move toward all-objective (ARE already was) there wasn't much room for regrading.

My friend Erik sat for the exam like all of us. He received his scores the same day we all did. The result?

FARE - 74%
ARE - 74%
Audit - 74%
Law - 74%

He couldn't believe it, and when he told me, I didn't believe him -- until he showed me the score report. It was 100% true. He, of course, appealed. The appeal was denied.

He never sat for the exam again.

(who thinks it quite unfortunate that the AICPA couldn't find 2 points somewhere)
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