Getting Certified: 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions about the CPA Exam

Getting Certified: 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions about the CPA Exam

Certain professionals are trusted by those who make use of their services. One way to demonstrate competency in a particular field is to pursue a license. In certain industries, licensing is recommended. However, others make it a requirement. For those needing to take the Uniform CPA exam, the following are some frequently asked questions regarding this assessment.

What is the Uniform CPA Exam and Who Must Take It?

The Uniform CPA exam is a four-part assessment candidate undergo over a 16-hour period before qualifying for a CPA license. This assessment tests the individual’s minimum knowledge and skills with regard to accounting. Three partners manage this exam: the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), and Prometric. They do so on behalf of the Boards of Accountancy, the entity responsible for issuing CPA licenses. As this test is so comprehensive, candidates often choose to make use of a CPA prep course to increase their chances of passing.

What Are the Four Portions of the Exam?

The CPA exam covers four areas critical to accountancy. The first is Auditing and Attestation (AUD) followed by Business Environment and Concepts (BEC). Next, the candidate is assessed on his or her knowledge of Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) and Regulation (REG). Different question formats are found on the test, including multiple-choice questions, essays, and simulations of workplace scenarios. A candidate must successfully complete all parts before he or she may obtain a CPA license.

What is the 2019 Passing Rate for This Exam?

The American Institute of CPAs tracks exam pass rates each year. As of the first six months of 2019, 52.12 percent of test-takers passed the Auditing and Attestation portion of the exam with 58.93 percent successfully completing the Business Environment and Concepts portion. Only 46.97 percent have successfully passed the Financial Accounting and Reporting section of the exam in this six-month period, with 55.17 percent passing the Regulation section. These percentages show the stringency of the test and the importance of preparing for the exam.

How is the Exam Scored?

Each portion of the exam is scored independently with the highest score possible for each section being a 99. Candidates sitting for the test must pass each section with a minimum score of 75, although this is not a percentage of the questions correctly answered. The scores aren’t curved. To determine a candidate’s total score in each section, a weighted combination of scaled scores is taken from task-based simulations and multiple-choice questions in the AUD, FAR, and REG portions of the exam. The score on the BEC portion of the exam is a weighted combination of scaled scores from multiple-choice questions, task-based simulations, and written communication tasks.

Where is the Exam Taken?

Individuals taking the CPA exam need to contact an authorized Prometric testing center. These centers are located in the 55 jurisdictions that require successful completion of the exam before a CPA license may be issued. In addition, Prometric offers testing centers in certain international locations.

The CPA exam is not to be taken lightly. This test is comprehensive and designed to ensure license applicants are prepared to take on the tasks required of them when working in this position. Anyone wishing to take the exam needs to study carefully to ensure they are prepared. However, it’s worth it in the long run when the test is successfully completed and an individual may legally call him or herself a certified public accountant or CPA.

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