search question-circle-o log-in megaphone arrow-right2 facebook twitter youtube linkedin2 phone plus-circle2 minus-circle2 play2 menu3 cross

CPA exam

The CPA Exam is a partnership between these groups. Click to enlarge.

What is the CPA Exam?

The Uniform CPA Examination is a professional licensing exam used by all state accountancy boards to ensure applicants possess the minimum accounting and technical knowledge needed to enter the CPA profession. It also protects the public interest by ensuring that only qualified individuals become licensed as CPAs.

The CPA exam process is a partnership between the state boards of accountancy, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and Prometric. See this chart for more details.

A note on CPA Evolution:

Recently the CPA exam went through an overhaul known as CPA Evolution, and a new exam launched Jan. 10, 2024. Find more here.

Start here

What does it take to pass the exam?

In brief, to pass the CPA Exam, you must pass four, four-hour exam sections with a minimum score of 75 on each section, and you must pass them all within a 30-month window.

You must pass all core sections: 

  •  Auditing and Attestation (AUD) – 4 hours
  •  Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) – 4 hours
  •  Taxation and Regulation (REG) – 4 hours

And you must pass one discipline section of your choice: 

  •  Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) – 4 hours
  •  Information Systems and Controls (ISC) – 4 hours
  •  Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP) – 4 hours

How does the 30-month credit-earning window work?

When you score 75 or higher on an exam section, you earn a credit, which has a lifespan of 30 months beginning on the score release date. To pass the exam, you must pass the remaining three sections within that 30 months. If the credit expires before you pass all four sections, your 30-month window now begins with the oldest non-expired credit you have, and you’ll need to retake any expired section. 

It is your responsibility as an exam candidate to keep track of credit expiration dates and schedule testing accordingly. Once you have passed all four sections within 30 months, your scores will no longer expire for the VBOA.

For more information about the application process click here

If I don’t pass, when can I re-take a section?

Under the continuous testing model, as an exam candidate, you have the ability to take the exam year-round, without restriction, other than waiting to receive scores from prior attempts of the same section or when there is a major change to the exam. 

Special accommodations

If you are looking for information about special accommodations, please see “Applying for the exam.”