From Scoring to Costs: 10 Frequently Asked Questions Students Have About Their CPA Exam
Your goal is to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) but the Exam sounds a bit overwhelming. Read through these questions for clarifying information:
- What is the Uniform CPA Exam?
The Exam is a 16-hour, four-part examination designed to assess the knowledge and skills required of an entry-level CPA. The Exam is developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) with significant input from the National Association of the State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). As with all certification exams, it is not meant to be easy. Consider accessing Proven CPA Exam Prep Materials to better prepare yourself for success.
- Where do I take the Exam and how much does it cost?
The Exam is offered at Prometric test centers located in the 55 CPA licensing jurisdictions in the U.S. as well as testing sites in certain international locations.
- Is there a time limit for passing the exam?
Yes, you have 18 months to pass all four sections of the Exam. Check with your jurisdiction’s Board of Accountancy to determine how and when your time frame begins.
- What topics are tested on the Exam?
The CPA Exam consists of five testlets covering four topics:
- Auditing and Attestation
- Business Environment and Concepts
- Financial Accounting and Reporting
The Exam uses three types of testing methods including multiple-choice questions, task-based simulations, and written communication tasks.
- What informational materials and databases are available to me during the Exam?
You will be able to access authoritative literature, specifically the AICPA Professional Standards, FASB Accounting Standards Codification, and the Tax Code, for all task-based simulation questions.
- What are the sample tests?
Sample tests are an online version of the actual Uniform CPA Exam. You will have access to samples of all three testing methods. It is a smart idea to become familiar with the format of the questions to eliminate any undue stress at Exam time. Keep in mind that these are only practice questions, though, and do not represent any actual Exam questions.
- What is the passing score?
To pass the exam, your score for each of the sections – Auditing and Attestation, Business Environment and Concepts, Financial Accounting and Reporting, and Regulation – must be at least 75 on a scale of 0-99.
- Is Exam scoring an automated process?
Yes and no. Scoring is automated for the multiple-choice and task-based questions on the Exam but not for the written communication tasks. Most written communication responses are scored by a computer grading program but some are scored by actual CPAs. When your score is close to passing, your written communication tasks will be looked at again by human reviewers whose scores will be averaged for your final grade.
- When will I get my Exam results?
You will typically get your score one to two weeks after taking the Exam. Refer to aicpa.org for more specific dates.
- How do I contest the Exam results?
You have two options if you question the result of your Exam – a score review and an appeal. A score review is not an opportunity to plead your case for a non-correct answer. Instead, it is simply a review to ensure that the approved correct answer was used when grading your Exam. Basically, a second or third set of eyes looking at your Exam. The score review option is only available for a short period after you receive your results.
Not every jurisdiction allows appeals but, for those that do, you are allowed to review the multiple-choice and task-based simulation questions that you answered incorrectly. This review takes place under strict security guidelines and requires the presence of a representative from your Board of Accountancy. If you choose to challenge the answer in one or more questions, you must be prepared to present a strong and effective defense of your incorrect answer.
These questions and answers are the most commonly asked. There are numerous sites online that provide information about the Uniform CPA Exam – spend some time checking them out before signing up for the test.