Cumulative Average of 95.5 but no Elijah Watt Sells Award - Page 9

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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 14 replies - 121 through 134 (of 134 total)
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  • #586114


    So my first run through, I would simply watch the lecture, adding the items directly in the textbook they say to highlight and underline in the lectures, but I did not actually read the book on the first run. Then on the second time through the lesson, I would just read the actual textbook and type up notes (usually at least 8 pages), but not watch the lecture. Sometimes the things I was told to underline the first time through would help guide me on areas to take notes on, but mostly I would just do whatever things helped me the most.

    Hope that clears it up.

    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'm late to the party, but I got my email too!!! It seems like this is a little earlier than it may have been last year. Maybe they were like “Let's just release the names now to get these Another71'ers off our backs!” 🙂

    Glad my study plan was helpful, CR7!


    Congratulations to all of the EWS winners! That is such an amazing feat! I am so happy for each and every one of you.

    Do you get a bonus from your firm for winning? Just curious.


    Double Post so I will just slide in a little…

    *happy dance* =)


    Got my email today too, congrats to all! To Baxter's question, I'm at a regional firm that doesn't have any specified bonus for the EWS award, but I also don't think they ever really expected to have an EWS award winner, which could have helped lead to the omission. Due to the culture/attitudes of my office, I could see them doing something (no $20k pwc bonus by any means though). But I also wouldn't be surprised with just a pat on the back type of reaction. We'll see after the press release goes out, I'm under an AICPA-imposed gag order until then haha.


    I wonder when they will make the official announcement. I'm chomping at the bit to tell my grandpa (a retired CPA). I would imagine the first week of March at the earliest.


    There were 55 winners, from 24 jurisdictions, out of 94,154 candidates. Congratulatory letters have been sent to winners, state boards and state societies. The AICPA will officially announce the winners in a press release with a target issue date of mid-March. The press release will be posted on and an article with information on 2013 winners will appear in the AICPA Insights Blog. Each winner will receive an honorary plaque,


    Worth quoting:

    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.

    BA Mathematics, UC Berkeley
    Certificates in CPA and EA preparation, College of San Mateo
    CMA I 420, II 470
    FAR 91, AUD Feb 2015 (Gleim self-study)


    @higher_flyer, did you get the Elija Sells Award? Excellent work!


    You studied too hard. The goal is a 75.

    FAR - 70, 81
    AUD - 83
    BEC - 77
    REG - 70, 78

    Licensed in Ohio.

    Now what the hell do I do?


    “You studied too hard. The goal is a 75.”

    I wake up most morning disappointed with my REG score.

    REG- (1) 76
    FAR- (2) 64, (5)74, (7)83 (Over achiever!)
    AUD- (3) 70, (4) 75
    BEC- (6) 75


    What happens if you score high enough to get the award and your tests covered a two year period. For example, your first test was in Oct of 2014 and your last test was in May 2015? Would you not receive the award? I'm just curious how it works. It seems like in my scenario you wouldn't receive the award according to the guidelines, and that is so harsh.


    It's based on when you completed testing– so if you get a high enough average, took them only one time each during an 18 month window, and your last test was in May 2015, you'd qualify for the 2015 award.

    AUD 84 (1/9/14-Wiley books/TB + free materials)
    FAR 83 (5/21/14-the above + NINJA 10 Pt Combo Lite)
    REG 84 (7/9/14-Wiley books/TB + NINJA Audio/FC/Notes)
    BEC 76 (10/5/14-Wiley books/TB + NINJA Audio/FC)

    Disclaimer: My ninja avatar is not meant to imply that I have any affiliation with this site other than being a forum member. That's a pic of a T-shirt that my daughter gave me for my birthday. 🙂


    @Scottso990 Many Congratulations. My heart would have also broken in this situation.

    I was searching for EWS and your name came out.I am also planning for EWS. Can you pls share what were your strategies, how did you study, which review course you took, your study plan, what special you did for EWS, your examination experience, etc

    Thank a lot in advance!

    AUD - 78
    BEC - NINJA in Training
    FAR - 91
    REG - NINJA in Training
    NINJA in training
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