Sunday, March 1, 2009

Analyzing the Candidate Performance Report

The Candidate Performance Report is printed on the back of the Score Notice. It compares your performance with the performance of passing candidates for each Content Area. It also evaluates your overall performance in Multiple Choice, Simulations and Written Communications compared to passing candidates. Here's a link to the AICPA's FAQ for Candidate Performance Reports: It also has a link to a sample report (PDF).

I understand that the Candidate Performance Report isn't a precise or completely reliable measurement (it even states that on the bottom of the page), but it’s the best tool we are given to analyze our performance and come up with a plan of action for passing the next time around.

I received my Candidate Performance Report for REG the other day and was very eager to analyze my grade per section compared with the last time I sat for this part. I received the same grade both times, despite additional studying, so I wondered what went wrong.

The result was rather shocking.

Business Law and Property Transactions remained relatively unchanged; this I expected. However, Ethics & Responsibilities was a surprise because my performance declined significantly. Maybe I didn't take that section as seriously since I did very well on it last time. On the other hand, I was happy to see that my extra study efforts for the Entity Taxation segment were well worth it; increasing my grade for that area considerably.

From this data, I realize that concentrating on weak areas at the expense of stronger areas is not the way to pass. I was close to a passing grade (9 points away), so the strategy made sense. But I don’t want to risk failing again, so I plan to study and do questions on all areas equally (and do questions at least twice for all sections) when I re-take REG in May.

Do you use your Candidate Performance Report to analyze your performance? Do you base your study plan on this report? Or do you just throw it in a drawer and start from scratch? Let me know what you do.

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