CPA Exam Breakdown

Four Sections of the Exam

The Uniform CPA Examination is given in a computer-based format. It includes four sections, each covering a broad content area. Those sections are Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). The content that each section covers is as follows:

Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

Planning the engagement
Internal controls
Obtain and document information
Review engagement and evaluate information
Prepare communications
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)

Business structure
Economic concepts
Financial management
Information technology
Planning and measurement
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

Concepts and standards for financial statements
Typical items in financial statements
Specific types of transactions and events
Accounting and reporting for governmental entities
Accounting and reporting for nongovernmental and not-for-profit organizations
Regulation (REG)

Ethics and professional responsibility
Business law
Federal tax procedures and accounting issues
Federal taxation of property transactions
Federal taxation-individuals
6. Federal taxation-entities
Testlets and Simulations

The exam is made up of testlets and simulations. A testlet is a collection of either 24 or 30 multiple-choice questions. A simulation is an abbreviated case study. All simulations require candidates to complete a written communication, such as a memorandum or letter, and perform additional tasks, such as work in a database.

Three of the sections include three testlets and two simulations. Those sections are Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Financial Reporting and Accounting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). In these three sections, the testlets come first and the simulations follow.

The Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) section includes three testlets but no simulations.

Candidates must work on each testlet or simulation in order. Once a testlet or simulation is completed, and the candidate has moved on to the next testlet or simulation, any previous testlet or simulation is unavailable. Candidates can work on individual questions within a testlet or simulation in any order.

Time to Complete the Test

Candidates are given a total of 14 hours to finish all four sections of the CPA exam

Section Time Allowance
Auditing and Attestation (AUD) 5 hours
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) 5 hours
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) 4 hours
Regulation (REG) 3 hours