What is the CPA Exam?

The Certified Public Accountant Exam is taken in order to become licensed as a CPA. The test is designed to only pass individuals if they can show that they have an understanding and proficiency is key accounting practices.

The Uniform CPA Examination is one of the “Three E’s” – Education, Examination and Experience – that constitute the requirements for CPA licensure. Of these three requirements, only the CPA Examination is uniform and accepted for CPA licensure by all U.S. jurisdictions.


CPA Exam Structure

There are four sections to the CPA exam, including:

  • Auditing and Attestation -This 4.5 hour length section includes both multiple choice questions (70%) and case study questions (30%). The content covers: planning and engagement, internal controls, obtaining and documenting information, reviewing engagement, evaluating information, and preparing communications.
  • Business Environment and Concepts – This 2.5 hour section includes three groups of 24 or 30 multiple choice questions. The content covers: business structure, economic concepts, financial management, information technology, and planning and measurement.
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting – This 4 hour section includes three groups of 24 or 40 multiple choice questions. Content covers: concepts and standards for financial statements, items on financial statements, specific types of transactions and events, accounting and reporting for governmental entities, and accounting and reporting for nongovernmental and not-for-profit organizations.
  • Regulation – This 3 hour section includes another three groups of 24 or 30 multiple choice questions. The content covers: ethics and professional responsibility, business law, federal tax procedures and accounting issues, federal taxation of property transactions, federal taxation of individuals and federal taxation of entities.

When taking the test and working on the multiple choice items, you are only allowed to revise answers from the question group you are currently working on. You are not allowed to go back to work on a particular group that has already been completed.


CPA Exam Scoring

The CPA exam is scored on a 0-99 range, and a minimum score of 75 is needed in order to pass the examination. If a score of 75 is not achieved, it is deemed a fail and you will need to take the exam again at another later date.