Cumulative Average of 95.5 but no Elijah Watt Sells Award

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  • #179086

    Many of you may be familiar with the famous Elijah Watt Sells Award. It is probably the most sought after and most respected award given in the accounting profession. Last year 39 out of 92,000 candidates or .04% won the Sells Award. The award is so respected that some firms, including mine, give a $20k bonus to any employee winning the award.

    The award is bestowed upon candidates who have obtained a cumulative average score ABOVE 95.50 across all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination, completed testing during the 2013 calendar year and passed all four sections of the Examination on their first attempt. What annoys me is many websites including Becker’s website states that the award is given to candidates averaging 95.5% or higher. But obviously this has not merit

    Yesterday I received my grade for AUD, my last exam section. I received a 99. A score that I really did not expect and although I was happy about this it’s bittersweet. This brought my cumulative average to EXACTLY 95.5%. In the 99th percentile and borderline EWS award, but close does not mean anything. It’s very discouraging and this is pretty much me venting.

    I plan to talk to as many people as I can about this issue. Im curious how common it really is. I am also going to try and see If I can appeal my lowest score BEC. Hoping that a review of my writing section could increase my score. (Please God)

    Anyways, I am happy to be done with this journey, took me about 7 months while going to Grad School to complete the exam. Although very time consuming, this beast is doable. Good luck to everyone! Hopefully there will be a miracle and I will somehow win the EWS award. I have always dreamt about winning this award, and not even for the check. Ill keep this thread updated as I took to various people at the AICPA, State Board, and NASBA

    REG - 95
    FAR - 96
    BEC - 92
    AUD - 99


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  • #585993

    Award or no award – congratulations to you! That is quite an accomplishment

    B - (08/29/2013) Passed
    A - (07/02/2013) Passed
    R - (10/17/2013) 73 - Rematch
    F - (05/29/2013) Passed


    Thank you very much.

    To anyone who is wondering i used Becker 100% for all of my exams

    REG - 95
    FAR - 96
    BEC - 92
    AUD - 99



    Congratulations on the great scores, Scottso990!!! Not sure what your mood is since it is hard to tell online, but I would give yourself a few days just to vent to yourself and calm down a little before contacting anybody. While it may not be a bad idea to reach out to a few people, I personally would not put up too much of a stink, since something like that could come back to bite you down the road. I'm sure you aren't the first person with a 95.5 average to approach them, and I'm guessing they have a protocol for handling it. Again, not saying it isn't worth it to contact them, but I wouldn't push back too much if they say no. Good luck!!!


    Might be something to chalk up to being close just like someone scoring a 74.

    Not sure how you firm would view it if you backed into qualifying through a regrade.


    I would just be thankful for having killer scores and move on, Scott. Maybe you'll still win?

    You don't want to be the guy complaining about “only” a 95.5 average. Just my take.

    Again – great accomplishment!


    AUD - 79
    BEC - 80
    FAR - 76
    REG - 92

    @Sameday that's what I was thinking too. There's this from Jeff's article from way back when: “There is no such thing as a rescore or a regrade. The service available is “score review,” an automated score verification process. It involves making certain that the approved answer key was used in scoring and that it was correctly applied. In 2008, score review requests did not result in any score changes.” Maybe it would be different since he's asking about the written section of BEC, but I can't imagine the AICPA would be thrilled to “regrade” the exam, just so that he could be eligible for the award. The firm's viewpoint is also something to consider like @Sameday said.


    Those are amazing scores. You should be proud. I understand the frustration of missing that award by a percentage of a point, but still – you should be proud. Congratulations.

    B: 75
    R: 80
    A: 77
    F: 81
    Ethics: 84, 92 and done!
    Licensed in California


    This post pretty much salt in the wound for anyone who didn't pass and/or lost credit on previous sections lol. Makes me chuckle #CPApassproblems haha. In any case, like everyone else said, kudos on the good score. Maybe they can put a tickmark on your CPA certificate denoting your cumulative score 😛


    A 20k bonus is nothing to scoff at. I hope you earn the award. If I do well enough on audit(sat on the 22nd) I'm going to move up one of my test dates to take a shot at the award. No bonus. Just a challenge for myself.


    I feel you pain Scottso. I received a cumulative average of 96.5 and did not get the EWS award because I wasn't in the top ten. The next year they changed it from the top ten scores to above 95.5.

    Not that I'm still bitter about it or anything…



    The AICPA can change the criteria when ever they feel like it. You won't know what the cut off is until the end of the year.

    BEC: 93 4/18/13
    FAR: 89 7/3/13
    REG: 90 8/30/13
    AUD: 95 11/29/13



    One of my buddies from college received the award… too bad he went to a small(er) firm and did not receive a bonus for it.

    I agree, that $20k would be nice. Do what you can but don't reek havoc.

    FAR - 91
    BEC - 89
    REG - 85
    AUD - 8/6/13


    boo freaking hoo…

    BEC 71,77
    REG 65,85
    FAR 7/1/13
    AUD 8/24/13


    I totally understand where you're coming from but I don't think you'll get much sympathy from people.

    Be happy with your scores as they are very impressive and just move on with your life. That is what I plan on doing hopefully.

    FAR 02/21/13 - 95
    REG 07/02/13 - 87
    AUD 08/02/13 - 94
    BEC 08/30/13 - 85
    Ethics Exam - 90

    Illinois candidate awaiting his license

    Used Becker Self Study | Ninja Audio | Becker Flash Cards | Ninja Notes | Wiley Test Bank


    I think the few of you who are less than sympathetic would feel much differently if you were that close to a major award and an extra $20k in your wallet. To the OP I hope by some streak of wild luck the criteria is changed in your favor. The Becker website says “95.5 OR greater” even though the AICPA says greater than. I'd just wait it out unfortunately. For all we know they could put it back to 96.5 if there are several candidates in your score range.

    FAR- 77
    AUD -49, 71, 84
    REG -56,75!
    BEC -75

    Massachusetts CPA (non reporting) since 3/12.

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