CPA Exam Content & Structure
CPA Exam Content & Structure
The CPA Exam is a comprehensive test composed of 4 parts, given individually, over a total of 16 hours. The four exams cover a wide variety of topics taught in most University accounting programs.
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What's covered on the 4 parts of the Exam, CPA Exam scoring and pass rates, education requirements, application checklist & more!
CPA Exam Blueprints
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The CPA Exam Blueprints are created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to help CPA Exam candidates know what skills and content topics will be tested on the CPA Exam. The 2019 CPA Exam Blueprints were approved by the Board of Examiners on May 31, 2018 and will be effective on January 1, 2019.
The CPA Exam Blueprints are intended to assist candidates in preparing for the Exam and takes into account the minimum level of knowledge and skills necessary for initial licensure once candidates become CPAs. Not only are the CPA Exam Blueprints intended to assist candidates in preparing for the Exam, but also takes into account the minimum level of knowledge and skills necessary for initial licensure once candidates become CPAs.
While it's good to reference the blueprints to better understand what's required of CPAs, you also don't have to worry about them too much. We have already utilized them to guide our course materials so that you're prepared for the CPA Exam no matter what.
Topics Per CPA Exam Section
|Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and General Principles; Assessing Risk and Developing a Planned Process; Performing Further Procedures and Obtaining Evidence; Forming Conclusions and Reporting|
|Business Environment & Concepts|
|Corporate Governance; Economic Concepts and Analysis; Financial Management; Information Technology; Operations Management|
|Conceptual Framework, Standard-Setting, and Financial Reporting; Select Financial Statement Accounts; Select Transactions; State and Local Governments|
|Federal Taxation; Business Law; Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and Federal Tax Procedures|
Types of Questions
Multiple Choice Questions: One question and four potential answers, MCQs make up the majority of each exam.
Task-Based Simulations: Questions that require you to apply practical knowledge found in the AUD, BEC, FAR, and REG exams. This question type may include filling out a form or completing a research question.
Written Communication: Questions that require properly composed written essay responses and found only in the BEC exam.
Format of the Four Parts of the CPA Exam
AUD, FAR, REG Exam Format
The Auditing & Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG) Exams are similarly formatted. These three exams are composed of 50% Multiple Choice Questions and 50% Task-Based Simulations. The Multiple Choice Questions are broken up into 2 individual testlets: 36 questions per testlet for AUD, 33 questions per testlet for FAR, 38 questions per testlet for REG. The MCQ portion of the exam is followed by three testlets of 2, 3, and then 3Task-Based Simulations (TBS) for AUD, FAR, and REG, for a total of 8 TBSs per exam section.
BEC Exam Format
50% of the Business Environment & Concepts (BEC) exam is comprised of Multiple Choice Questions. Just like the other 3 exams, the MCQs are broken into 2 individual testlets, with 31 questions in each. The MCQ portion of the exam is followed by two testlets of 2 Task-Based Simulations, for a total of 4 TBSs. Finally, there are 3 Written Communication questions in the final testlet- one of which is pre-tested - that require a written response in a memo format.