What is the Uniform CPA Exam?

The Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam is a very important piece in the puzzle known as the CPA license. While licensing requirements tend to differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction (55 in total), the Uniform CPA Exam, which is a test of fundamental accounting knowledge, does not. This computerized set of exams tests the same content areas to ensure aspiring candidates have the necessary educational competencies to protect the public through the practice of public accounting.
 

Behind the Scenes of the CPA Exam

To put together the CPA Exam experience, several organizations including the specific jurisdiction Board of Accountancy, The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), Prometric, and The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) work with one another. The general hierarchy of how these organizations interact is displayed below.

CPA Exam Organization Hierarchy

As you can see, your CPA Exam experience is primarily driven by the AICPA, which prepares the Exam, and Prometric, which in turn delivers the exam to you, the candidate.
 

The Exam of Exams

The Uniform CPA Exam is not one exam but instead is a compilation of four unique exams: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Regulation (FAR), and Regulation (REG). Each section of the exam is then composed of a certain number of multiple choice questions and task-based simulations or written communication tasks. The table below outlines the timing of each section, the number of questions in each section, and the grading evaluation of each section.

Section Timing Multiple Choice Questions Task-Based Simulations or Written Communication Tasks
AUD 4 hours 90 MC (60%) 7 TBS (40%)
BEC 3 hours 72 MC (85%) 3 WCT (15%)
FAR 4 hours 90 MC (60%) 7 TBS (40%)
REG 3 hours 72 MC (60%) 6 TBS (40%)

 

In order to pass any given section, you need a scaled score of 75 or above.
 

What’s on the Exam of Exams?

The AICPA develops what is known as the Content and Skill Specification outline or in other words a high level description of what is on the CPA Exam. Outlined below is what the AICPA finds to be important high level topics covered on the CPA Exam.

Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

  1. Engagement Acceptance and Understanding the Assignment
  2. Understanding the Entity and Its Environment
  3. Performing Audit Procedures and Evaluating Evidence
  4. Evaluating Audit Findings, Communications, and Reporting
  5. Accounting and Review Services Engagements
  6. Professional Responsibilities

Specifically, you may be interested in taking an Auditing, Advanced Auditing, Internal Auditing, Accounting and Information Systems, and Corporate Governance course to help you succeed on this section of the CPA Exam.

Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)

  1. Corporate Governance
  2. Economic Concepts and Analysis
  3. Financial Management
  4. Information Systems and Communications
  5. Strategic Planning
  6. Operations Management

Specifically, you may be interested in taking an Auditing, Corporate Governance, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Cost and Managerial Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis, Accounting Information Systems, Operations Management, Project Management, and Internal Audit course to help you succeed on this section of the CPA Exam.

Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

  1. Conceptual Framework, Standards, Standard Setting, and Presentation of Financial Statements
  2. Financial Statement Accounts: Recognition, Measurement, Valuation, Calculation, Presentation, and Disclosures
  3. Specific Transactions, Events and Disclosures: Recognition, Measurement, Valuation, Calculation, Presentation, and Disclosures
  4. Governmental Accounting and Reporting
  5. Not-for-Profit (Non-governmental) Accounting and Reporting

Specifically, you may be interested in taking a Financial Accounting I, Financial Accounting II, Advanced Financial Accounting, Corporate Tax, Governmental Accounting, and Not-for-Profit Accounting course to help you succeed on this section of the CPA Exam.

Regulation (REG)

  1. Ethics, Professional, and Legal Responsibilities
  2. Business law
  3. Federal Tax process, Procedures, Accounting, and Planning
  4. Federal Taxation of Property Transactions
  5. Federal Taxation of Individuals
  6. Federal Taxation of Entities

Specifically, you may be interested in taking an Individual Tax, Corporate Tax, Tax Research, Financial Accounting I, Financial Accounting II, Business Law I, and Business Law II course to help you succeed on this section of the CPA Exam.As always, remember to breathe.
 
 
 

By the way, sign up for our 1 Week Free Trial to try out Magoosh GMAT Prep!

One Response to What is the Uniform CPA Exam?

  1. Tom Tailor April 20, 2016 at 9:24 am #

    Extremely helpful article. thank you!


Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

Leave a Reply