Cumulative Average of 95.5 but no Elijah Watt Sells Award - Page 8

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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


Viewing 15 replies - 106 through 120 (of 134 total)
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  • #586099

    Just curious, did you learn anything from your state's board? I'm in Oregon and haven't heard anything about the EWS award yet. I would think winners should be hearing something soon since it's usually announced in March…


    I called the AICPA back, and they confirmed that the threshold is anything over 95.5 again this year. I was a little confused by their explanation regarding the CBA, but what I got out of it was that California has some disclosure rule where they have to get permission to release that info but people in NASBA states don't have to worry about this. I spoke to one of the nicest women ever at the AICPA, and she said not to worry if we don't receive a letter from NASBA.

    On the other hand, I had reached out to my actual state board about this before hearing back from the AICPA, saying, “I heard last week that the AICPA had started notifying state boards to mail letters to people eligible for this award. I was wondering if you could verify if this was correct or if you had any other information regarding the timeline. I tried contacting NASBA about this, and they were not aware of the award.” The woman at my state board replied, “Yes, that is correct as I understand. May I release your contact information to NASBA for the award?”

    So long story short, I still have no idea what's going on, but it sounds like you don't have to worry if you don't hear anything from NASBA. I'd contact your state board if you do have any questions. NASBA hadn't heard of the exam, and the AICPA said they didn't have the list of winners (or they just weren't disclosing it yet).

    A guy in my office who won it last year said that the AICPA (not NASBA) contacted him in late February/early March to let him know he received the award before making the official announcement. Hopefully, we can all keep each other updated on any communications that come through!


    Thanks, that was helpful. I'll definitely let you guys know if I hear anything!


    @Scottso990 Please elaborate on your study plan please. Thanks


    I got the confirmation email about the award – looks like they do have the list of winners and the person I spoke to earlier this week at the AICPA didn't know.

    AUD - 99 (5/2013)
    BEC - 93 (5/2013)
    FAR - 97 (7/2013)
    REG - 94 (8/2013)


    Yup, got my email today as well, so it looks like they sent them out to everyone.

    REG (7/1/13) 94
    FAR (8/2/13) 98
    BEC (8/23/13) 97
    AUD (10/4/13) 99

    Ethics (1/14/14) 100

    I'm free!!


    I called this morning and asked about my EWS status, and they laughed their a$$es off and gave me the phone # to AA.

    Great scores guys … amazing.

    Licensed Florida CPA:
    B: 71, 73, 79
    A: 83
    R: 78 (expired), 77
    F: 74, 74, 80

    It's finally freaking over.


    S.emran88, I don’t think he will tell you anything about his study plan. He just has postings on this thread pretty much to toot his own horn. Barelyinsane on the other hand, posted a great strategy that Im using now. Thanks dude!



    I didn't even think about posting strategy. Let me know if anyone needs any tips, I'll be glad to share. I can't guarantee that my methods were the most efficient, but they apparently worked.

    REG (7/1/13) 94
    FAR (8/2/13) 98
    BEC (8/23/13) 97
    AUD (10/4/13) 99

    Ethics (1/14/14) 100

    I'm free!!


    I literally LOL Gator!!!! Thank you for the laugh!

    CPA EXAM: DONE!!!!
    Ethics Course: Passed
    Application Mailed: 3/16/15
    Professional Conduct Exam: 97
    Certification Date: 4/2/15!!!



    I think they should give an award for people who get 75% on all four sections on the first try. The perfect score award.


    @SlyCoug Can you please tell us your study strategy and any other helpful tips please?



    People ask this question everyday and its virtually the same response.

    practise tons of mcqs till you puke, practise simulations, wake up early and go to bed late.

    You have to assess your motivation for doing this and I believe everything will fall in place.

    But whatever, Im curious to know what his strategy was:)

    REG -63│ 84!!
    BEC- 59│70│ 71 │78!
    AUD- 75!
    FAR- 87!



    Overall my big key was note taking, not so much doing problems. Of course, I studied during the summer when I wasn't working, so that played a part in it, but for me the key is note taking. It's up to each person how to spread it out, but here was my regimen for each section (using Becker at least; it could probably be applied to other similar study programs)

    1st-Watch the video and highlight/underline whatever they say to do.

    2nd-Do the required MC problems; not any of the optional problems. I would usually do about half of the simulations for each chapter at this point as well. Feel free to look up answers and gain an understanding of things at this point.

    Do this one lesson at a time for all lessons in the book

    3rd-Start over at the beginning of the book with the first lesson. Read the lesson and take rigorous notes. Don't watch the videos again, just read and take notes. Don't copy things word for word, write them in a way that you understand. Some sections are challenging and the key is to decipher what the text is saying and put it in a language that is easier for you to comprehend. This can be VERY time consuming, but in my opinion the key to my success. Additionally, if you don't pass it is much easier to come back and review your notes rather than essentially a blank canvas. That way you don't feel like you have wasted a bunch of time if you aren't able to pass.

    4th- Now you Do ALL of the questions including the ones you have already done once as well as all of the optional questions and sims that you haven't completed. Because you have seen multiple choice questions before and taken notes, which has resulted in you learning things, this will give you practice opportunities. I would often try not to look at the book unless I had no idea. For problems you miss, add things into your notes that help you understand and remember the caveats and areas that you missed. Additionally, flag any ones you get wrong so that you can review JUST THOSE ONES later.

    Again do that one lesson at a time. Take notes, do problems, next lesson take notes and do problems, etc.

    Now, do one practice exam to get an idea of where you are at on things. Treat it like a real exam; don't look at any notes or book or anything. Just see how you do to figure out where you need to improve the most.Once you are done, look up the things you missed and add or highlight information in your notes that you either didn't have or didn't remember.

    Finally, one lesson at a time, review and try to memorize, as needed, your NOTES. I would shy away from the text at this point. Maybe use flashcards at this point as well. This is the point when you perfect. So, review and memorize one lesson, then do the problems you missed for that lesson. As you move to the next lesson, do a set of cumulative questions/quiz that includes multiple lessons so that you don't compartmentalize too much. Again go through the whole book.

    Finally, take the 2nd practice exam. If you can get in the 70's you should be in good shape. Once you are done with that, with whatever time you have remaining, just continue to review your notes, practice the problems you have flagged, and do comprehensive quizzes. Highlight in your notes the areas in which you are weak and make sure to have those be your last minute review items the night before/hours before your exam. Sometimes, I would even create a last minute review page and copy over the items I was struggling on. Take at least a day or two where you review EVERYTHING, at a high level so that you don't compartmentalize your learning.

    Remember, your notes should have an overall explanation of every topic (it's up to you how in depth each area needs to be, you will know based on multiple choice questions whether it is a very important area), as well as notes added as you find areas that you haven't adequately understood. Generally, my notes usually had enough to give me the information needed to completely understand the topic, with specific additional items added for any multiple choice questions that weren't adequately addressed.

    To give you an idea, I typed my notes and they were usually between 8-10 pages per lesson.

    I know this is long, but based on my scores it worked. I never really cared about getting an award, I just wanted to make sure that I passed on the first try; I wasn't going to leave it to chance. I'm sure you can do much less and get a 75, but if you are struggling to pass, this may give some ideas to help improve your score. It is up to each person how far they want to go on this, but the key for me is to learn the concepts rather than memorize how to answer multiple choice questions. For that reason, I spent more time reading and taking notes than I did on problems.

    Let me know if any of you have any questions!!!

    REG (7/1/13) 94
    FAR (8/2/13) 98
    BEC (8/23/13) 97
    AUD (10/4/13) 99

    Ethics (1/14/14) 100

    I'm free!!


    @SlyCoug Thank you very much for an in depth explanation of your study plan. Seems like solid plan. Just to clarify, you viewed the lectures first and took notes prior to reading the book?

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