Everything You Need to Know About CPA Exam, Read Here

Stepping into the world of accounting requires passing the CPA Exam, a task many find daunting. The exam is a rigorous 16-hour challenge across four critical sections.

Our post lays out everything from exam structure to preparation tips that will gear you up for success.


What is the CPA Exam?

The CPA Exam is a crucial step in becoming a licensed Certified Public Accountant. It consists of four exam sections – FAR, AUD, REG, BEC – and has specific education, examination, and experience requirements.


Education, examination, and experience requirements

To become a CPA, you must meet certain requirements. These include education, passing the exam, and gaining experience.

  1. Education: Before you can take the CPA Exam, most states require 120 college credit hours. This usually means having a bachelor’s degree with a focus on accounting or business.
  2. Additional Credits: Some places want you to have 150 credit hours before getting your license. That might mean extra courses after your degree.
  3. Uniform CPA Examination: You need to pass all four parts of this test. It covers areas like auditing and financial accounting.
  4. Exam Sections: The four parts are FAR (Financial Accounting and Reporting), AUD (Auditing and Attestation), REG (Regulation), and BEC (Business Environment and Concepts).
  5. Passing Scores: Each section of the exam has a passing score you must reach.
  6. Time Limit: You have an 18-month window to pass all parts of the exam once you start.
  7. Experience Requirements: After the exam, you need practical work experience to get your license. Each state has its own rules for how much experience is needed.
  8. State-Specific Rules: You should check with your state’s board of accountancy for exact requirements as they can differ from one place to another.
  9. Ethics Exam: In some states, you also need to pass an ethics exam before getting licensed.


Importance of becoming a licensed CPA

Earning a CPA license signifies your expertise and opens doors to various career opportunities in the accounting and finance industry. It demonstrates your commitment to ethical standards, professional development, and maintaining licensure requirements.

With the demand for skilled accountants on the rise, becoming a licensed CPA can lead to increased earning potential and job security. Moreover, it sets you apart as a credible and trusted financial professional, providing access to networking opportunities and career growth.

The CPA designation is highly valued by employers and clients alike, making it an essential credential for advancing your accounting career.


CPA Exam Structure

The CPA Exam consists of four sections: FAR, AUD, REG, and BEC. Each section has its own unique test format and scoring system. It’s important to understand the structure of the exam in order to effectively prepare for each section.


Overview of the four exam sections: FAR, AUD, REG, BEC

The CPA Exam consists of four sections, namely Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Regulation (REG), and Business Environment and Concepts (BEC).

  1. FAR focuses on accounting principles for business combinations, foreign currency transactions, and governmental entities.
  2. AUD assesses knowledge of audit procedures, professional responsibilities, and ethics.
  3. REG covers federal taxation, business law, and ethical standards in the accounting profession.
  4. BEC evaluates understanding of corporate governance, economic concepts, IT controls, and financial management processes.


Test format and scoring

Transitioning from the specifics of the CPA exam sections, let’s now delve into the test format and scoring system that is central to candidate success.

Section Format Content Question Types Scoring Duration
FAR Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs), Task-Based Simulations (TBS), Written Communication Financial Accounting and Reporting 90 MCQs, 7 TBS Scaled from 0 to 99; 75 required to pass 4 hours
AUD MCQs, TBS Auditing and Attestation 72 MCQs, 8 TBS Scaled from 0 to 99; 75 needed to pass 4 hours
REG MCQs, TBS Regulation 76 MCQs, 8 TBS Scaled from 0 to 99; 75 is the passing mark 4 hours
BEC MCQs, TBS, Written Communication Business Environment and Concepts 62 MCQs, 4 TBS, 3 Written Communications Scaled score from 0 to 99; 75 signifies pass 4 hours

Each CPA exam section has distinct question types and content areas, but all share a common scoring scale. Candidates must achieve at least a 75 to pass each section. Success demands a comprehensive understanding of the format and thorough preparation.


Essential study materials

After understanding the test format and scoring, it’s essential to prepare with the right study materials. Here are some important study materials for preparing for the CPA Exam:

  1. Review courses: Utilize comprehensive review courses to refresh your knowledge on topics covered in the exam such as financial accounting, auditing, regulation, and business environment concepts.
  2. Practice questions: Access a large pool of CPA exam sample questions to familiarize yourself with the type and format of questions that could be asked.
  3. Textbooks and reference guides: Use authoritative textbooks and reference guides that cover all exam sections to deepen your understanding of key concepts.
  4. Online resources: Take advantage of online resources including webinars, tutorials, and interactive tools provided by professional organizations.
  5. Flashcards: Create or use flashcards that summarize important formulas, vocabularies, and key points from each section of the exam for quick revision.
  6. Mock exams: Engage in mock or practice exams under simulated testing conditions to assess your readiness for the actual CPA Exam.
  7. Study groups: Join or form study groups with fellow candidates to share knowledge, discuss difficult topics, and motivate each other during preparation.


Preparing for the CPA Exam

Reviewing the Candidate Guide and understanding state-specific requirements are crucial steps in preparing for the CPA Exam. Utilize resources from NASBA CPA Examination Services and follow tips for success to ensure you’re fully prepared.


Reviewing the Candidate Guide

To prepare for the CPA Exam, it is crucial to review the Candidate Guide thoroughly. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Understanding the exam structure and content is essential for effective preparation.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the examination requirements specific to your state or jurisdiction.
  3. Utilize the guide to comprehend the registration process and scheduling specifics.
  4. Learn about test – taking strategies and tips for success from experienced professionals.
  5. Make note of important deadlines and requirements outlined in the Candidate Guide.
  6. Ensure that you are aware of any recent updates or changes to the examination format or content.
  7. Use the guide to access additional resources and practice materials recommended for exam preparation.
  8. Familiarize yourself with the scoring system and understand how your performance will be evaluated.


Understanding state-specific requirements

Each state has its own set of education and experience requirements for CPA licensure. These criteria may include specific coursework, minimum credit hours, or even additional certification exams.

It’s crucial to research and understand the particular prerequisites outlined by your state board of accountancy to ensure you are eligible to sit for the CPA Exam. The educational requirements can vary widely among states, so it’s important to be aware of these specifics when planning your path towards becoming a Certified Public Accountant.

Moreover, certain states might have unique regulations regarding work experience or internships necessary for obtaining CPA licensure. Familiarizing yourself with these state-specific requirements early in your career will help you navigate the process smoothly and efficiently.


Utilizing resources from NASBA CPA Examination Services

NASBA CPA Examination Services provides valuable resources to help you prepare for the CPA Exam. Accessing their Candidate Guide is crucial, as it outlines everything you need to know about exam content and format.

Understanding state-specific requirements is also essential, so make sure to utilize NASBA’s website to stay updated on your jurisdiction’s regulations. Additionally, take advantage of the study materials and practice tests offered by NASBA to ensure thorough preparation for each exam section.

By using these resources, you can maximize your chances of success in passing the challenging CPA Exam.

Remember that NASBA CPA Examination Services offers tools and support tailored specifically for aspiring CPAs like yourself. Take advantage of these resources to streamline your preparation process and enhance your overall readiness for the exam.


Tips for success

  1. Utilize the CPA exam candidate guide for detailed information on exam content and structure.
  2. Understand your state’s specific CPA exam requirements to ensure eligibility for the exam.
  3. Access resources available from NASBA CPA Examination Services to aid in your preparation.
  4. Develop a strategic study plan that covers all sections of the exam and aligns with your learning style.
  5. Familiarize yourself with test – taking strategies to manage time effectively during the exam.
  6. Enroll in review courses or utilize study materials that cover essential CPA exam content.
  7. Practice with sample questions and mock exams to gauge your readiness for the actual test.
  8. Stay updated on changes to the CPA exam schedule and testing windows, ensuring timely registration and preparation.
  9. Engage with peers, mentors, or professional networks for support, advice, and additional resources.


The Benefits of Becoming a CPA

Becoming a licensed CPA opens up numerous career opportunities, with high demand in the job market and potential for substantial earning. In addition, CPAs have access to professional development and networking opportunities and play a vital role in upholding ethical standards within the industry.


Career opportunities and job market demand

Becoming a CPA opens doors to diverse career opportunities in accounting, finance, and business sectors. The demand for CPAs is on the rise due to their expertise in financial management, tax preparation, and auditing.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 6% from 2018 to 2028, creating around 90,700 new jobs. Furthermore, CPAs are sought after in various industries like public accounting firms, government agencies, corporations, and nonprofit organizations.

With the ever-changing regulatory environment and increasing global financial complexities, companies rely on CPAs for expert advice on compliance issues and strategic financial decision-making.

The earning potential as a CPA is promising with competitive salaries across different job roles and experience levels. Additionally, maintaining licensure as a CPA signifies commitment to ethical standards and ongoing professional development – attributes highly valued by employers seeking reliable accounting professionals who can navigate complex regulatory landscapes.


Earning potential

Becoming a CPA can lead to lucrative career opportunities. On average, CPAs earn higher salaries compared to non-certified accountants. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for accountants and auditors was $73,560 in May 2020.

However, those holding the CPA certification often command significantly higher salaries due to their advanced skills and qualifications. Furthermore, as businesses increasingly seek expertise in financial reporting and compliance with regulations, the demand for CPAs continues to grow, contributing to their strong earning potential in various industries such as public accounting firms, corporate finance departments, government agencies, and more.

With promising job prospects and competitive compensation packages available for certified professionals across different sectors of the economy – including business operations management and consulting – those who pursue a career as a Certified Public Accountant stand ready not only for high-paying positions but also for long-term financial stability.


Professional development and networking opportunities

Passing the CPA exam opens doors to various professional development and networking opportunities within the accounting and finance industry. Once certified, CPAs can join organizations like the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) to access exclusive resources, continuing education events, and networking platforms.

By engaging in these opportunities, individuals can stay updated on industry trends, expand their skill set, build valuable connections with other professionals, and enhance their career prospects.

Furthermore, being a licensed CPA provides access to a wide range of career advancement possibilities in fields such as public accounting, corporate finance, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

These avenues present considerable potential for growth and leadership roles within the industry. Additionally, maintaining active involvement in professional communities allows CPAs to uphold ethical standards while staying informed about changes in regulations that may impact their practice.


Importance of ethical standards and maintaining licensure

Maintaining ethical standards is crucial for CPAs to uphold their professional integrity. Adhering to ethical codes, such as confidentiality and objectivity, helps build trust with clients and employers.

Ethical behavior also ensures the protection of public interest, contributing to the overall credibility of the accounting profession. Additionally, maintaining licensure through ongoing education and adherence to professional standards is essential for career advancement and ensuring continued eligibility to practice as a CPA.

Understanding these important aspects not only impacts one’s professional reputation but also plays a vital role in fostering trust within the industry. Moving forward let’s take a closer look at ways to prepare effectively for the CPA Exam.



In conclusion, the CPA Exam is a crucial step in becoming a Certified Public Accountant. Understanding its structure, preparing diligently, and knowing the benefits are essential for success.

It’s an exam that demands dedication but offers rewarding career opportunities. Becoming a licensed CPA opens doors to lucrative jobs and professional growth while upholding ethical standards.


Frequently Asked Questions


1. What do I need to start CPA exam preparation?

To start preparing for the CPA exam, you should understand the exam format, learn about state-specific requirements, and study test-taking strategies.


2. How do I become eligible for the CPA certification process?

To be eligible for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification process, check your state’s CPA exam requirements including education and experience needed before registering for the exam.


3. Where can I find information on licensing requirements after passing the CPA exam?

You can get details on licensing requirements from your State Board of Accountancy or visit their website for complete instructions on how to obtain your license after passing the CPA exam.


4. What are the steps for scheduling my CPA examination?

For scheduling your CPA examination, first determine if you meet eligibility criteria; then register with your state board and choose a convenient date through their official exam scheduling system.


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