CPA Audit Exam | Auditing & Attestation (AUD) CPA Exam Section

AUD CPA Exam Content & Structure

AUD CPA Exam Content & Structure

 

AUD Exam Overview & Insights

The Auditing & Attestation (AUD) section of the CPA Exam covers the entire auditing process, including auditing procedures, generally accepted auditing standards, standards related to attest engagements and the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct. It's important to remember that the AUD exam tests on how well a CPA candidate applies their audit and attestation knowledge when solving problems and performing specific Blueprint tasks, not how well they are able to memorize auditing concepts.

AUD Exam Content

15-25% Ethics, Professional Responsibilities and General Principles

  • Nature and Scope of Audit and Non-Audit Engagements
  • Ethics, Independence and Professional Conduct
  • Terms of Engagement for Audit and Non-Audit Engagements
  • Requirements for Engagements Documentation
  • Communication with Management and Those Charged with Governance
  • Communication with Component Auditors and Parties Other Than Management and Those Charge with Governance
  •  A Firm’s System of Quality Control, Including Quality Control at the Engagement Level

20-30% Assessing Risk and Developing a Planned Process

  • Planning an Engagement
  • Understanding an Entity and Its Environment
  • Understanding an Entity’s Internal Control
  • Assessing Risks Due to Fraud
  • Identifying and Assessing the Risk of Material Misstatement and Planning Further Procedures Responsive to Identified Risks
  • Materiality
  • Planning for and using the Work of Others, Including Group Audits, the Internal Audit Function and the Work of a Specialist
  • Specific Areas of Audit Risk

30-40% Performing Further Procedures and Obtaining Evidence

  • Understanding Sufficient Appropriate Audit Evidence
  • Sampling Techniques
  • Performing Specific Procedures to Obtain Evidence
  • Specific Matters that Require Individual Attention
  • Misstatements and Internal Control Deficiencies
  • Written Representations
  • Subsequent Events and Subsequently Discovered Facts

15-25% Forming Conclusions and Reporting

  • Reports On Auditing Engagements
  • Reports On Attestation Engagements
  • Accounting and Review Service Engagements
  • Reporting On Compliance
  • Other Reporting Considerations

70-76% Auditing Engagements and Standards

  • Engagement Acceptance and Understanding
  • Understanding the Entity, its Context, and its Internal Control
  • Audit Procedures and Evidence Evaluation
  • Audit Reports and Opinions

16-20% Professional Responsibilities

  • Ethics
  • Independence

12-16% Accounting & Review Services

  • Engagement Planning
  • Evidence
  • Reports

AUD Exam Structure & Format

The AUD Exam is 4 hours long, though the candidate is not required to use all the allotted time, and consists of 72 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and 8 Task-Based Simulations (TBSs).

Of the 72 MCQs, 60 are operational, meaning they count toward the exam score, while 12 are pretested and do not count toward the exam score. Of the 8 TBSs, 7 are operational and 1 pretested. Other than scoring, there is no functional difference between operational and pretested questions and no sure way for the candidate to tell the difference between an operational and pretested question.

The AUD Exam is organized into five testlets – two 36-question MCQ testlets followed by a 2-question TBS testlet, then an optional 15-minute break that does not count against the 4-hour test time, then two additional TBS testlets of three questions each. Once a testlet has been submitted, it cannot be revisited. 

 

AUD Exam Structure & Format

The operational MCQs count 50% toward a candidate’s exam score. The operational TBSs count 50% toward a candidate’s exam score. 

By default the first MCQ testlet is of ‘Medium’ difficulty. The difficulty level of the next MCQ testlet depends on the candidate’s performance on the first testlet. The candidate will therefore experience one of the following MCQ testlet difficulty sequences:

  • Medium – Difficult (candidate performed well on first testlet)
  • Medium – Medium (candidate did not perform well on first testlet)

Characterizing a testlet as ‘medium’ or ‘difficult’ refers to the average difficulty of the questions in an MCQ testlet. There is not a binary ‘medium’ or ‘difficult’ value assigned to each MCQ. Rather, the difficulty level of each question exists on a numeric scale.

Credit awarded for MCQs is weighted by difficulty level, meaning more credit is awarded for getting a more difficult question correct than for getting a less difficult question correct. Therefore, a candidate with a difficult testlet is not penalized for having harder questions, nor is there any advantage in having two Medium testlets.

It is still possible to pass the exam even with a Medium-Medium MCQ testlet sequence. In these cases, good-to-excellent performance on the second MCQ testlet and the TBS testlets is key to passing.

The assigned TBS testlets are pre-selected and have nothing to do with the candidate’s performance on the preceding MCQ testlets, nor do the TBSs within the TBS testlet proceed according to performance on the previous TBS.

While an MCQ is either right or wrong, there appears to be partial credit awarded for non-Research TBSs. Research TBSs are graded as either right or wrong with no partial credit awarded.

AUD EXAM LENGTH

4 Hours

AUD SAMPLE QUESTIONS

The AUD section of the CPA Exam covers the entire auditing process and requires a strong technical knowledge of the auditing process. Practice your AUD skills using our Interactive Practice Questions, which contains 5,000+ Questions and Task-Based Simulations, including AICPA-Released Questions.

AUD EXAM SCORING

CPA candidates are given 4 hours to complete the AUD Exam and are required to receive an overall scale score of 75 or higher in order to pass. Download our infographic for an easy guide on how the AUD section of the CPA Exam’s structure and test administration play key factors in how the exam is scored overall.

Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs)
Testlets 2
Operational 60
Pretest 12
Total MCQs 72
 
Task-Based Simulations (TBS)
Operational 7
Pretest 1
Total TBS 8

AUD EXAM HISTORICAL PASS RATES

AUD EXAM HISTORICAL PASS RATES

AUD EXAM STUDY TIPS

  • Commit to truly understanding the material.
  • Make a plan and stick to it – our Study Planners can help.
  • Consider eliminating distractions during your designated study times – block Internet access, turn off notifications, tell family, friends and colleagues you will be completely unavailable.
  • At the beginning of each AUD section, Roger reviews the big picture. Practice presenting the big picture to yourself, in your own words.
  • Practice the mnemonics not merely to memorize, but to understand – recite them while explaining, in your own words, what each element means and how it fits into the big picture.
  • When you find yourself stuck on a problem or concept, post in our Homework Help Center for additional guidance.
  • Eat well, exercise, and get plenty of rest.

AUD EXAM FAQS
 

I don’t have any auditing experience. Am I at a disadvantage?

No, the Roger CPA Review AUD course assumes no prior auditing experience on the part of the candidate, and our pass rate speaks for itself. Roger teaches the material from the ground up, and many of our students report finally being able to ‘get’ audit after using our course in order to pass the exam.

How many hours must I study for AUD in order to pass?

We estimate approximately 75-100 hours of study are required in order to pass AUD, but each student is unique and has their own time requirements.

In which order should I take AUD among the four sections of the CPA Exam?

The order in which a candidate takes the four sections of the CPA Exam will vary depending on several individual factors, but one general recommendation we make for AUD is to take AUD sometime after taking FAR. This is one of the reasons all our Study Planners begin with FAR.