What is the Uniform CPA Examination?

What is the cpa exam

For the AUD, FAR, and REG sections, your total score is a weighted combination of scaled scores from multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations. Multiple-choice questions count for 50% of the total score and tasked-based simulations count for the other 50%. It’s important to understand that 75 doesn’t represent a percentage of the total questions you must answer correctly because questions are not weighted equally. The diagram below explains how the exam sections and different types of questions are weighted. CPA exam scoring weighs the scaled scores of multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations of each section equally at 50% of the total score. The only exception is the ISC discipline, in which multiple-choice questions make up 60% of the score and task-based simulations account for 40%.

  • To give yourself the best chance possible when taking the exam, taking one of the best CPA prep courses might be worth considering.
  • Have you ever wondered how the AICPA calculates your CPA Exam section scores?
  • If you’re already studying, check out our free sample CPA Exam questions or demo.
  • All persons involved with the Uniform CPA Exam, including candidates, must sign a confidentiality agreement not to disclose the contents of specific questions asked.

Now let’s break down each exam section to review the content they cover and the number and types of questions you will encounter in each testlet. There are four parts to the CPA exam and each part tests a different area of accounting. Multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations are incorporated into all 4 CPA exam parts, but written communication tasks are only present on the BEC exam. Since 1996, the Uniform CPA Exam has been a confidential examination.

It’s important to know that your total reported score does not represent a percentage correct, nor can you interpret it as such. When you fail an Exam section, you’ll also receive a Candidate Performance Report that assesses your performance on that specific section. The CPA exam comprises between 250 and 282 multiple-choice questions, plus 28 or 29 task-based simulations, depending on the discipline section you choose. ISC has the most questions and simulations in total, followed by TCP and BAR. Preparing for the CPA exam takes significant motivation and focus, and studying with other CPA exam candidates could help you stay on track. Consider looking for study group participants at work, through your local professional organization or from your graduating class.

CPA Exam Questions

The BEC section of the CPA exam has you demonstrate that you have mastered the business core which is foundational to success in an accounting career. It is the only section that includes written communication tasks (WTSs). All 4 parts of the exam must be completed within an 18-month window. With continuous testing, you can now take any section of the CPA exam year-round without any scheduling restrictions helping you reach your goal of becoming a CPA easier than ever before. The 30-month clock starts on the date the first examination section passed was taken. If the remaining sections are not passed within the next 18 months, you lose the credit for the first section and the next section passed becomes the target date.

What is the cpa exam

They must identify situations that might be unethical or a violation of professional standards and determine the appropriate action to these situations. In addition, they must identify key risks in a financial information technology environment. This section deals with standards for financial statements, what needs to be included in statements, and how to account and report for government agencies, non-profits, and other types of organizations. Test takers are expected to prepare financial statements, including balance sheets, income statements, statements of retained earnings, equity, comprehensive income, and cash flows.

Mentioned in this article

By deciding to release only a small portion of each exam—to help candidates prepare for the examination experience high-quality exam material could be reused. This made it possible for the first time to use statistical techniques for test equating and to use criterion-referenced passing scores. Maintaining a large database of secure examination materials also made it possible for the CPA Exam to later transition to a computer-based administration format in 2004. Education requirements vary the most among state boards of accountancy. For instance, Georgia only requires exam candidates to have a bachelor’s degree with 20 semester hours in non-introductory accounting courses.

You must show you understand the rights, duties, and liabilities of debtors, creditors, and guarantors as well as the audit and appeals process employed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This section also covers the alternative minimum tax and both estate and gift taxation. Your total score for the BEC section is a weighted combination of scaled scores from multiple-choice questions, task-based simulations, and written communication tasks. Multiple-choice questions count for 50% of the total score, tasked-based simulations count for 35%, and written communication tasks count for 15%. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) develops and scores the test, grading each part on a scale of zero to 99.

How to Request to Take the CPA Exam

This updated version is the result of comprehensive research and places an increased emphasis on critical thinking, analytical ability, problem-solving and professional skepticism. The length of the exam increased from 14 to 16 hours with additional Task Based Simulations for each of the four sections. The Content Specification Outlines (CSOs) are replaced by Blueprints which will be released by AICPA each year. An additional change to the exam is an optional 15-minute break that will not count towards the 4-hour exam period.

What is the cpa exam

Cumulative pass rates reported by the AICPA for the calendar year 2021 show that FAR had the lowest pass rate at 44.54% and BEC had the highest pass rate at 61.94%. Now let’s discuss what’s top of mind for all CPA Exam candidates–passing it. About half of the individuals who take the CPA Exam don’t pass on their first attempt.

CPA Exam Section Overview: Business Environment & Concepts (BEC)

Use Wiley’s CPA Test Bank to sharpen your FAR skills, replicate the real test environment, identify and tag weak subject areas, and much more. If you are having trouble matching to your NASBA Dashboard’s CPA Portal account, please review the tips found here. Before you can apply to take a section of the CPA Exam, you must be declared eligible. While taking this quiz, you will be asked a series of questions that will help put you on the right path to beginning your CPA Exam journey.

Testing windows

Passing this exam confirms you have the competence to practice in a highly specialized field. To ensure this, the CPA Exam tests candidates at advanced skill levels. So you’ve decided you want to become a certified public accountant (CPA). Although testing is conducted throughout the year, we publish candidate pass rates for each section on a quarterly basis. An increase in pass rates simply means that candidates are better prepared.

REG tests your remembering and understanding, application, and analysis skills evenly. CPA exam scoring is a bit complicated but knowing how the exam is graded can help you create an appropriate study plan. For a more in-depth look at BEC, including a breakdown of each exam topic, question types, and study tips, view our article on How To Prepare For & Pass The CPA BEC Exam. Here is an overview of how long you have to take each exam, what question types you will see on the exams, and the skills you will be tested on for each exam.

AICPA hosts a database of CPA exam preparation resources, including costs and user ratings for each to help you narrow your options. Each exam goes through a multi-step review process to ensure scoring accuracy. CPA candidates must choose one of three disciplines as the fourth section of the CPA exam.