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.
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.
- Candidate Guide: As you begin your CPA exam journey, we recommend you bookmark or download and review NASBA’s Candidate Guide. It’s the official handbook for individuals who plan to take the CPA exam.
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 of these three 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 of the following discipline sections of your choice from:
- Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) – 4 hours
- Information Systems and Controls (ISC) – 4 hours
- Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP) – 4 hours
You earn a credit when you pass an exam section and it expires after 30 months. If all four sections of the exam are not passed within 30 months, you will 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.
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.
If you are looking for information about special accommodations, please see “Applying for the exam.”