CPA Exam Overview
To become a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA), you must first pass the Uniform CPA Examination®.
The CPA Exam consists of four, four-hour sections: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) and Regulation (REG). You must pass all four sections within 18 months, earning a minimum score of 75 on each part.
Study the CPA Exam Blueprints to learn about the specific topics tested in each Exam section. Practice with the sample tests before your test day to learn about the Exam’s format and functionality.
CPA Exam Process
Learn about the CPA Exam and process to become a licensed CPA
- Get to know the Exam partners and the Board of Examiners (BOE)
- Review NASBA’s Candidate Bulletin for details about the process to become a CPA.
- Review the AICPA’s CPA Exam Booklet for general information
- Watch our informative video for general details about your Exam strategy
- Find answers to CPA Exam frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- Subscribe to the official CPA Exam podcast, Next Stop: CPA
- Check out This Way to CPA for helpful information and support.
- Connect with other CPA candidates by joining the AICPA’s Exam Candidate LinkedIn group
- Consider joining the AICPA as an Exam Candidate Affiliate Member
Determine your eligibility
- Visit the NASBA website for eligibility guidance
- Select a jurisdiction where you want to become licensed as a CPA and review its specific requirements
- If you’re an international candidate, consider using NASBA’s International Evaluation Servicesto determine if your are eligible to take the Exam
- Choose a jurisdiction that participates in international administration
- Some non-U.S. residents may be eligible to take the International Qualification Examination (IQEX)
Submit your application
- Complete your application and submit the required documentation
- Your application will be verified for eligibility
- You will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS), which is valid for six months
Schedule your Exam
- Decide when you will take the Exam
- Use your NTS information to schedule an Exam date with Prometric
- You can take your Exam at any Prometric test center where the Exam is offered
- International candidates may not be eligible to test at all Prometric locations outside of U.S. jurisdictions
- International locations require an additional fee
Prepare for your Exam
- Study the Exam Blueprints and use all available Exam resources and study tools to prepare
- Learn the Exam’s format and functionality by practicing with the sample tests and accessing the tutorial topics found by selecting the “Help” button in each sample test.
- Review the testlet structure of each Exam section.
- Use your NTS to get six months of free access to NASBA’s Professional Literature package.
Take your Exam
- Pass all four Exam sections within 18 months (score a minimum of 75 on each section)
- In most cases, the 18-month complete “clock” begins based on your attendance date when you pass the first Exam section, but check with your specific Board of Accountancy.
- While you can take more than one Exam section per test window, you cannot take retake the same section in the same test window*
- Pass Ethics exam (only if required by your Board of Accountancy)
*As of July 1, 2020, testing windows will be replaced by continuous testing. Visit the Testing Window and Score Release Dates page for more information.
Apply for your license
- Generally you must have 150 credit hours of education with a concentration in accounting. This includes:
- 30 semester hours in accounting subjects, and 24 semester hours in business administration subjects
- A minimum of 15 semester hours in accounting must be at upper division or graduate level
- Must have a minimum of one year of experience (approximately 2,000 hours) verified by a licensed CPA.
- Experience should include accounting, attest, auditing or tax
- For licensure specific requirement information, visit the NASBA website or contact your Board of Accountancy.
CPA Exam Pilot To Launch In India (April 2, 2020)
During this extraordinarily challenging time, we know you have many concerns — the health of your families and friends, your coworkers and your communities.We want to help alleviate another concern you may have — taking your U.S. CPA Examination. We recognize that current travel restrictions, test center closures and other factors make it difficult or impossible for you to take the U.S. CPA Exam as planned. So, to support you on your pathway to CPA licensure, and to maintain your health and safety, we will administer the Exam in India as a pilot at Prometric test centers in the cities of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi and Trivandrum.
Starting April 2, Indian candidates may schedule to take any U.S. CPA Exam section only during the months of June and September 2020. We are hopeful Prometric’s test centers will be open by that time, and we will keep you informed of any developments. For questions about international testing, please review our FAQs. Our thoughts are with each of you during this difficult time.