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CPA Exam FAQ's

CPA Exam FAQ's

California Board of Accountancy

September 17, 2009

Each state has its own Board of Accountancy, and most have a list of answers to frequently asked questions regarding their state’s CPA exam. Since most of the states have gone to extremely similar test requirements and formats, LedgerLink is using the FAQ list from the California Board of Accountancy as an example of what you can expect when you take the CPA Exam in your state.

While many of these answers are relevant across the United States, for non-Californians this is just a guideline. Make sure to check the Board of Accountancy in your state to be certain you meet the correct requirements.

How often will the computer-based Uniform CPA Exam be given?

There are four testing windows in each calendar year. A testing window is a period during which the CPA Exam is available. During each testing window the CPA exam is available for approximately 60 days. Any of all of the four sections of the exam may be scheduled and taken individually, and in any order, during each testing window. Candidates are not allowed to retake a failed section within the same testing window.

Do I need to take all unpassed sections at the same time?

No, candidates are allowed to take each section individually, and in any order, during each testing window. However, candidates are not allowed to retake a failed section within the same testing window.

Where can I get additional information about the Uniform CPA Exam?

Additional information related to the Uniform CPA Exam is contained in the Candidate Bulletin – Information for Applicants, and the CPA Exam Alert, both accessible online at the Uniform CPA Examination’s Web site located at www.cpa-exam.org or at the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy’s (NASBA) Web site at www.nasba.org. NASBA highly recommends that candidates take the exam tutorial and sample tests available at www.cpa-exam.org as there are features unique to each exam that may not be similar to your regular operating system.

Where can I take the computer-based Uniform CPA Exam?

Prometric Testing Centers administer the computer-based Uniform CPA Exam at more than 300 testing centers in the United States. Candidates may take the exam at any one of the authorized rometric Testing Centers that offer the CPA Exam. California candidates are not required to take the CPA Exam at a Prometric site located in California.

Will the computer-based Uniform CPA Exam be offered in foreign countries?

No. The computer-based Uniform CPA Exam will only be offered in the 54 jurisdictions, which includes the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam.

How much will the computer-based Uniform CPA Exam cost?

Fees to be paid to the California Board of Accountancy: Initial Application Fee $100

(Paid by an applicant who is qualifying to sit for the CPA Exam as a California candidate for the first time.)

Reapplication fee $50

(Paid by an applicant who was previously approved to sit for the CPA Exam as a California candidate.)

Fees to be paid to NASBA Current Auditing and Attestation $226.28 Financial Accounting and Reporting $214.35 Regulation $190.50 Business Environment and Concepts $178.58

Total fees paid to NASBA for all four sections $809.71

What are the final filing dates for the computer-based Uniform CPA Exam?

Application final filing dates have been eliminated, allowing applicants meeting all of the educational requirements to apply at any time.

Can I take the computer-based Uniform CPA Exam online?

No. The exam will be administered at Prometric Testing Centers.

How many sections are there in the computer-based Uniform CPA Exam?

The computer-based Uniform CPA Exam is comprised of four (4) sections:

Auditing (AUD) – 4.5 hours
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) – 2.5 hours
Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR) – 4 hours
Regulation (REG) – 3 hours

Please note that the scheduling confirmation you receive from Prometric may indicate your testing appointment is 30 minutes longer than the times shown above. Prometric adds one-half hour to each appointment to allow time to complete the check-in procedures. However, the additional 30 minutes is not part of your actual testing time. Therefore, completion of a quick check-in will not give you additional testing minutes. When you sign onto the computer, the allotted testing time displayed on the computer screen will reflect the same amount of time as indicated above.

How often can each section of the computer-based Uniform CPA Exam be taken?

A candidate may take each unpassed section of the computer-based Uniform CPA Exam only once per testing window. There are four testing windows in a calendar year.

When can I apply for the computer-based Uniform CPA Exam?

Applicants meeting all of the educational requirements may apply at any time. The online application is available here on the Board’s website . Paper applications will be mailed upon request.

How do I gain credit for sections passed on the computer-based CPA Exam?

The computer-based CPA Exam utilizes a “rolling” 18-month credit status period. Credit status is established by passing one section of the examination. Once a candidate passes a section of the examination, the candidate is allowed a maximum of 18 months to pass all remaining sections in order to retain credit for the passed section. If the candidate does not pass all four sections within that 18-month period, the candidate will lose credit for the first section of the exam passed. The credit status period then becomes based upon the credit expiration date of the next passed section.

Exam – 1st-Time Sitters

What is IQEX?

IQEX is the acronym for the International Uniform Certified Public Accountant Qualification Examination. The purpose of the IQEX is to facilitate US licensure for accountants from other countries who are members of professional organizations that have agreed to reciprocity with US jurisdictions. These reciprocity agreements have been developed through the efforts of the United States International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB) which was established jointly by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Currently, members of three organizations are qualified to take the IQEX: Canadian Chartered Accountants, Australian Chartered Accountants, and Australian Certified Practicing Accountants.

Exam – Repeat Sitters

How do the new sections correspond to the paper-and-pencil sections of the Uniform CPA Exam?

Paper-and Pencil Exam
Computer-based Exam

Auditing (AUD) — 4.5 hours
Auditing & Attestation (AUD) — 4.5 hours

Business Law & Professional Responsibilities (LPR) — 3 hours
Business Environment & Concepts (BEC) — 2.5 hours

Financial Accounting & Reporting (FARE) — 4.5 hours
Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR) — 4 hours

Accounting & Reporting (ARE) — 3.5 hours
Regulation (REG) — 3 hours

Where did my paper-and-pencil conditional credit go?

Candidates, who established conditional credit under the paper-and-pencil Uniform CPA Exam at the May 2001, and any subsequent Uniform CPA Exam, had their conditional credit transitioned into credit status under the computer-based Uniform CPA Exam. Conditional credit from the paper-and-pencil exam was converted to the corresponding computer-based exam sections.

Candidates with transitioned conditional credit were granted a credit status period of 18 months (six attempts) in which to pass the remaining sections of the Uniform CPA Exam. Based on the date the computer-based Uniform CPA Exam commenced, the 18-month period ended on October 4, 2005. Candidates lost credit if they did not pass the exam within the number of attempts per section that remained under the paper-and-pencil format or when they did not pass before the credit expiration date – whichever circumstance occurred first. Candidates were notified by the Board of the number of attempts remaining and of the October 4, 2005, credit status expiration date.