Choose a topic to review the Frequently Asked Questions about the computer-based CPA Examination.

Applying for the Examination
Eligibility Requirements
Examination Administration
Examination Content
Examination Credit
Scheduling the Examination
Score Release
Test Centers

Uniform CPA Examination

How many sections does the Exam include?

The Exam includes four sections:

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
  • Regulation (REG)

How many hours is the Exam?

Each section of the Exam is four hours in length with a total testing time of 16 hours.

Am I permitted to take a break during the Exam?

Yes. Candidates are automatically offered a standardized, 15-minute break approximately midway through each section, which may be accepted or declined. This break does not count against testing time. In addition to the standardized break, optional breaks between testlets, which do count against candidates’ testing time, are offered after each testlet.

What are the CPA Exam Blueprints?

The CPA Exam Blueprints cover the content eligible for testing in each Exam section. The Blueprints are published one to two times per year. They detail the minimum level of knowledge and skills you must have to qualify for initial licensure. Within the Blueprints, you will find the following information for each Exam section:

• Content organized by Area, Group and Topic along with score weighting
• Sample task statements that represent what you may be asked to do when testing
• Skill levels at which tasks are tested
• Reference materials that support the sample task statements
• Number of item types you must complete (multiple-choice questions, task-based simulations and written communication tasks)
• Score weighting of each item type

What types of items appear on the Exam?

Candidates are assessed on a variety of content using multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and task-based simulations (TBSs) in all four sections. The BEC section also includes three written communication tasks.

How are the items distributed on the Exam?

Scoring weights for AUD, FAR and REG will be approximately 50% MCQ / 50% TBS while scoring weights for BEC will be approximately 50% MCQ, 35% TBS and 15% Written Response.

When can I take the Exam?

The Exam is offered four times each year: January 1 – March 10, April 1 – June 10, July 1 – September 10 and October 1 – December 10.

What kind of information is provided on the Candidate Performance Report?

For more information about the Candidate Performance Report, visit the AICPA website.

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Applying for the Examination

How much does the Uniform CPA Examination cost?

The total cost includes application and administration fees, in addition to the examination fees. The cost varies for each jurisdiction. Refer to your jurisdiction’s application materials for additional information.

Is there a deadline for applying to take the examination?

There is no deadline for submitting your application. Some test centers fill quickly, especially at the end of a testing window. Allow plenty of time for your application/registration to be processed. You cannot schedule your examination until you receive your Notice To Schedule (NTS). You must schedule your appointment at least five days in advance, but it is recommended to schedule your examination 45 days in advance.

Do I have to apply as a candidate of the jurisdiction in which I live?

No. You can apply to any jurisdiction provided you meet the eligibility requirements. Some jurisdictions have a residency requirement. Refer to the jurisdiction’s application materials for additional information.

To which jurisdiction should I apply?

There are many factors that affect this decision, and the answers to these questions vary by jurisdiction. In which jurisdiction(s) do you want to be licensed? In which jurisdiction(s) do you want to practice? In order to make an informed decision, please review the license requirements for the jurisdiction(s) in which you want to practice.

Can I get my education evaluated before I submit my application?

Some states offer a pre-evaluation service. If you are applying to one of those states, you can submit a pre-evaluation application. After that application has been fully processed, if you are eligible, you can submit your first-time application and choose your sections. If your jurisdiction does not offer a pre-evaluation service, you will need to submit your initial application with your transcripts for an education evaluation.

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Eligibility Requirements

What are the eligibility requirements for the examination?

The eligibility requirements vary by jurisdiction. Each jurisdiction has specific requirements regarding education, experience and residency. Refer to your jurisdiction’s application materials for additional information.

Did eligibility requirements change when the examination content changed in 2011?

Changes in examination content by the AICPA have no affect on eligibility requirements, which are jurisdiction-specific, and determined by the Board of Accountancy in each jurisdiction.

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Examination Administration

What is a “continuous testing?”

Candidates may now take the computer-based Uniform CPA Examination year-round. Site availability may vary due to individual test center hours of operation.

How often can I take the examination?

Continuous testing will allow candidates to re-take a failed exam section shortly after receiving their score. The only limitations on how many times you can take a section is the time it takes to receive a score, reregister, obtain the new NTS, and find an available testing date.

What is a “Notice To Schedule,” and when will I receive mine?

The Notice To Schedule (NTS) is your notification that you may begin scheduling your examination with Prometric. You must present your NTS at the testing center before beginning your examination. For full details on the NTS, please refer to the Candidate Guide.

How long will my NTS be valid?

Your NTS will be valid for a specific amount of time. This time varies by jurisdiction. Refer to the Candidate Guide or your jurisdiction’s application materials for additional information. You must sit for the examination before your NTS expires. If you do not sit for the examination within the established time frame, your NTS will be invalid and you will need to submit a new application and/or registration to receive a new NTS. The NTS expiration date is included on the NTS.

Your NTS is valid for one testing event or until the expiration date, whichever is first exhausted for each examination section. This includes non-testing months.

I lost my NTS. What do I do?

If you received your NTS via email and still have your original message, you can print another copy. If you received your NTS via U.S. mail, contact NASBA to request a reprint. You will not be permitted to enter the test center without a valid NTS. Remember, NASBA personnel may not be available evenings, weekends or holidays.

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Examination Content

Where can I find information on the content of the examination?

The AICPA publishes CPA Exam Blueprints that outline the content and skills tested on each section of the Exam.

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Examination Credit

How long do I have to pass all four sections of the examination?

This varies for each jurisdiction. Your State Accountancy Board determines if credit is granted and the length of time credit is valid. Most jurisdictions allow a maximum of 18 months to pass all remaining sections in order to retain credit on the passed section(s).

I have passed all four sections. Do my credits expire?

Some states require candidates to complete the licensure eligibility requirements and application within a specific timeframe. This timeframe varies by state. For additional information, please consult the Accountancy Licensing Library.

My conditional credit expires soon. What is the last day I can sit without losing credit?

You have until the end of testing on the day your credit expires. Remember, when scheduling your examination, some testing centers are not open on weekends or holidays. For some jurisdictions, the expiration date for conditional credit may fall in a non-testing month.

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Scheduling the Examination

What if a conflict arises after I have scheduled an appointment to take the examination?

You may cancel or reschedule your appointment by contacting Prometric. There is no fee for canceling or rescheduling an appointment at least 30 days in advance. If you cancel or reschedule between five and 30 days before your appointment, you must pay a fee directly to Prometric. If you reschedule within five days of your appointment, you will be required to pay the full Prometric testing fee for the section you are rescheduling. See the Candidate Guide for additional information regarding these fees. You cannot make any changes to your appointment less than 24 hours in advance. You will have to contact the Board/agency to which you originally applied to register again.

May I take the examination outside of my jurisdiction?

Yes. You may schedule your examination at any Prometric site in any of the 54 jurisdictions. You do not have to sit in the same state where you applied.

In March 2011, in conjunction with the AICPA and Prometric, NASBA announced the opportunity for international administration of the Uniform CPA Examination. Please see the Test Internationally section of this website for more information.

Are there any restrictions on taking the examination outside of my jurisdiction?

There are no restrictions on taking the examination outside of your jurisdiction. However, a person may not be a candidate for more than one jurisdiction at the same time, and will not be able to bypass a jurisdiction’s educational or licensing requirements by taking the examination outside of the jurisdiction in which he or she is seeking to become licensed.

Please see the Test Internationally section of this website for more information on taking the CPA examination in international locations.

What is the cost of taking the examination outside my jurisdiction?

There is an additional surcharge for candidates testing at the Guam Test Center. Refer to the Candidate Guide or Guam Surcharge section of any jurisdiction’s page for additional information.

There are no additional fees for testing at any other test center outside your jurisdiction within the U.S. and its territories. For information about additional fees for testing in an international location, please refer to the Test Internationally section of this website.

How do I arrange to sit for the examination?

After you receive your NTS, you need to contact Prometric through their website and arrange for a seat at the examination site of your choice. You should schedule as far in advance as possible, and must schedule at least five days in advance. To increase the likelihood that you will receive your first choice for site location and time, you should schedule your examination 45 days in advance. Your NTS is valid for a specific amount of time, which varies by state. If you do not sit by the expiration date on the NTS, that NTS becomes invalid and cannot be used. Each NTS covers more than one testing window and includes dates that are not open for testing. Plan your examination schedule carefully. We strongly recommend that you read the Candidate Guide.

What if I have an emergency and cannot attend my examination appointment?

If the emergency occurs more than 24 hours prior to your examination appointment, contact Prometric to cancel or reschedule your appointment. If you have a hardship or medical situation that prevents you from sitting, please contact NASBA immediately and request an extension. Extensions are determined on a case-by-case basis and require documentation.

I received my Notice To Schedule, but my information is incorrect or has changed. What do I do?

Contact the office/agency to which you submitted your application. You must have a corrected NTS to be admitted to the examination. No changes can be made to your NTS less than five days prior to your appointment.

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Score Release

When should I expect to receive my scores?

After the AICPA releases scores to NASBA, they are forwarded to Boards of Accountancy for approval and released to candidates. Boards of Accountancy determine the actual score release schedule. Candidates should note, however, that all scores may not be released at the same time. Additionally, candidates who test on the same day may receive scores at different times due to differences in necessary quality control procedures.

Scores for the Uniform CPA Examination will be released by NASBA to state Boards of Accountancy based upon the target score release date timeline listed on the AICPA’s website.

Please be advised that some state Boards of Accountancy require at least one day beyond the dates listed in the table to process and release exam scores.

I took my exam on the last possible day so my score would be released on my preferred “target release date,” but I did not receive my score, why not?

Taking your exam on the last possible day does not guarantee that you will still receive your score by the target release date. For your score to be included with the target release date, the AICPA will need to receive your result file from your Prometric testing center before the end of the cut-off date listed. There are many factors which can cause a delay in the AICPA receiving this result file. Prometric, the AICPA, or NASBA cannot guarantee that your result file will be sent to the AICPA on the same day as your exam. We do not recommend waiting until the last possible day to take an exam if you are looking for your score to be released at a specific target date.

Where can I find more information on the Diagnostic Report I received with my score notice?

Refer to the FAQs available on the AICPA’s website.

Where can I find the pass rate for the examination?

This information is available on the AICPA’s website.

I believe an error was made in scoring my examination. What are my options?

There is a Score Review and Score Appeal process available in many jurisdictions. For additional information on Score Reviews and Score Appeals, refer to the Score Information section of your jurisdiction on this website. You can also refer to the FAQs available on the AICPA’s website.

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Test Centers

Where is the examination administered?

The examination is administered at Prometric test centers in 54 U.S. jurisdictions, which include the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There is a surcharge for testing in Guam. Refer to the Candidate Guide for additional information.

In March 2011, in conjunction with the AICPA and Prometric, NASBA announced the opportunity for international administration of the Uniform CPA Examination. Please see the Test Internationally section of this website for more information.

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