The complete guide to the AUD CPA Exam

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auditing and attestation

The Auditing and Attestation (AUD) CPA Exam is one of the three Core Exam sections candidates need to take to earn their CPA license. It tests students’ knowledge and skills surrounding auditing and attestation, ethics, risk assessment, and reporting.

If you’re aspiring to become a licensed CPA, find everything you need to know going into the AUD CPA exam—from format to content to study tips and, most importantly, how to pass.

Table of contents

  1. What is the AUD CPA Exam? 
  2. Updates to the AUD CPA Exam 
  3. AUD CPA Exam format and content 
  4. When should I take the AUD CPA Exam? 
  5. How is the AUD CPA Exam scored? 
  6. AUD CPA Exam pass rate 
  7. AUD CPA study tips 


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What is the AUD CPA Exam?

Auditing and Attestation (AUD) is one of three Core sections which, along with a fourth Discipline section, form the CPA Exam. It tests candidates’ knowledge and skills surrounding the entire audit process, from preparation to review, also covering accounting ethics, risk assessment, and attestation services.

All aspiring CPAs must pass AUD as part of the CPA Exam to successfully earn their license.

Updates to the AUD CPA Exam

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) updated the CPA Exam format in January 2024, implementing this new organization.

The CPA Exam now requires three Core sections: 

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD) 
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) 
  • Taxation and Regulation (REG) 

And the candidate’s choice of one of three Discipline Exams: 

  • Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) 
  • Information Systems and Controls (ISC) 
  • Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP) 

Despite the changes in CPA Exam structure, AUD has remained largely unchanged. However, the Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) section was removed when the exam was updated, and several topics from that section were moved to AUD. These topics include basic economic concepts (supply and demand, business cycles), and business process and internal controls.

CPA Exam

Core exam sections

All three are required 

Discipline exam sections

Candidates choose one







Auditing & Attestation

Financial Accounting & Reporting

Taxation & Regulation

Business Analysis & Reporting

Information Systems & Controls

Tax Compliance & Planning

AUD CPA Exam format and content 

The AUD CPA Exam is broken down into four content areas: 

  • Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and General Principles: (15-25 percent) 
  • Assessing Risk and Developing a Planned Response (25-35 percent) 
  • Performing Further Procedures and Obtaining Evidence (30-40 percent) 
  • Forming Conclusions and Reporting (10-20 percent) 

Candidates have four hours, plus a fifteen-minute break, to complete 78 multiple choice questions (MCQs) and seven task-based simulations (TBSs). All these questions are split up into a total of five exam sections called “testlets.”

TestletNumber of questionsQuestion typeScoring weight

AUD CPA Exam skills

All MCQs and TBSs on the REG Exam will fall under one of four "skill levels."   

Skill levelWhat it isPresence on exam
Remembering and understandingDefinint terms and describing concepts30-40%
ApplicationApplying concepts to new situations and identifying appropriate procedures30-40%
AnalysisExtracting patterns from sets of information, comparing and organizing data15-25%
EvaluationDrawing conclusions, weighing strengths and weaknesses, planning actions5-15%

AUD is the only exam section that tests evaluation, the highest-level skill, in addition to the other three, making it arguably one of the more difficult CPA Exam sections.

AUD CPA Exam content outline

In the broadest terms, the AUD CPA Exam covers content related to auditing, attestation, and accounting ethics. 

Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and General Principles (15-25 percent)

  • Ethics, Independence, and Professional Conduct 
    • AICPA Code of Professional Conduct 
    • Requirements of the Securities and the Exchange Commission and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board 
    • Requirements of the Government Accountability Office and the Department of Labor
  • Professional Skepticism and Professional Judgement 
  • Nature and Scope 
    • Audit Engagements 
    • Engagements Conducted Under Government Accountability Office 
    • Government Auditing Standards 
    • Other Engagements 
  • Terms of Engagement 
    • Preconditions for an Engagement 
    • Terms of Engagement and Engagement Letter 
  • Requirements for Engagement Documentation 
  • Communication with Management and those Charged with Governance 
    • Planned Scope and Timing of an Engagement 
    • Internal Control Related Matters
  • Audit and Assurance Quality 

Assessing Risk and Developing a Planned Response (25-35 percent) 

  • Planning an Engagement 
    • Overall Engagement Strategy 
    • Engagement Plan 
  • Understanding an Entity and Its Environment 
    • External Factors 
    • Internal Factors 
  • Understanding an Entity’s Control Environment and Business Processes 
    • COSO Internal Control – Integrated Framework 
    • Control Environmental, IT General Controls and Entity-level Controls 
    • Business Processes and the Design of Internal Controls 
    • Implications of an Entity Using a Service Organization 
    • Limitations of Controls and Risk of Management Override 
  • Materiality 
    • For Financial Statements as a Whole 
    • Tolerable Misstatement and Performance Materiality 
  • Assessing and Responding to Risks of Material Misstatement 
  • Planning for and Using the Work of Others
  • Specific Areas of Engagement Risk 
    • An Entity’s Compliance with Laws and Regulations 
    • Accounting Estimates 
    • Related Parties and Related Party Transactions 
    • Uniform Guidance for Single Audits 

Performing Further Procedures and Obtaining Evidence (30-40 percent) 

  • Use of Data and Information 
    • Requesting, Preparing, and Transforming Data 
    • Reliability of Data and Information 
    • Data Analytics 
  • Sufficient Appropriate Evidence 
  • Sampling Techniques 
  • Procedures to Obtain Sufficient Appropriate Evidence 
    • Test of Controls and Test of Details 
    • Analytical Procedures 
    • External Confirmations 
  • Specific Matters that Require Special Consideration 
    • Accounting Estimates 
    • Investments in Securities 
    • Inventory and Inventory Held by Others 
    • Litigation, Claims, and Assessments 
    • Entity’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern 
    • Uniform Guidance for Single Audits 
  • Misstatements and Internal Control Deficiencies 
  • Written Representations 
  • Subsequent Events and Subsequently Discovered Facts 

Forming Conclusions and Reporting (10-20 percent) 

  • Reporting on Audit Engagements 
  • Reporting on Attestation Engagements 
    • Examination or Review Engagements 
    • Agreed-upon Procedures Engagements 
  • Accounting and Review Service Engagements 
    • Preparation Engagements 
    • Compilation Reports 
    • Review Reports Reporting on Compliance 
    • Other Reporting Considerations 
      • Comparative Statements and Consistency Between Periods 
      • Other Info in Documents with Audited Statements 
      • Review of Interim Financial Information 
      • Supplementary Information 
      • Additional Reporting Requirements Under Government Accountability Office Government Auditing Standards 
      • Special-purpose Frameworks

When should I take the AUD CPA Exam?

We recommend programming your CPA Exam order around which Discipline section you decide to take. This is because Discipline sections are extensions of Core sections, going more deeply in detail on the fundamentals of the Core. 

  • Information Systems and Controls (ISC) builds on information from AUD
  • Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) builds on FAR
  • Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP) builds on REG. 





How is the AUD CPA Exam scored?

AUD, along with all CPA Exam sections, is scored on a scale of 0 to 99. To pass, candidates must earn a minimum score of 75.


Exam Tip 

You may earn partial credit on task-based simulation questions, and you do NOT lose points for incorrect multiple-choice questions. While taking the exam, increase your chances of a better score by answering all components of all questions, even if you’re unsure of the answer. You can't lower your score and you might even gain partial credit!


AUD CPA Exam pass rate

AUD is known as one of the more difficult CPA Exam sections, with a first-time pass rate of just 48 percent. But Becker’s Exam Day ReadySM students have an overall 94 percent pass rate, proving that with the right preparation and support, passing AUD is certainly achievable.

AUD CPA Exam study tips

Good study habits are essential to passing all sections of the CPA Exam. For AUD, we recommend blocking out at least 80 – 100 study hours to ensure you’re prepared for success. Follow these tips to help you structure these hours.

Practice the Evaluation skill

AUD is the only exam section that tests the Evaluation skillset. This is the highest-level skill and requires deductions, judgements, and decisions based on a deep understanding of concepts. Make sure you practice applying this skill to AUD content topics. 

Practice pacing yourself

AUD limits you to just four hours. Practice accurately completing MCQs in just 1.25 minutes and TBSs in about 18 minutes to help you get ready to spread out your time evenly. 

Understand audit reports

AUD covers all things auditing and attesting and you’ll have to completely dissect audit reports from all angles. 

Become an expert on AICPA Code of Professional Conduct

Ethics is a major component of the exam. Extensively review the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct to be sure you ace this section. 

Have a game plan 

Plan out your study sessions either by topics or exercises. Tackle the content bit by bit and stick to your plan to avoid getting overwhelmed. 

Don’t get distracted

Make the most of the time you’ve carved out to study! Put away the cell phone and other distractions. 

Be accountable

It helps to have a study partner or someone who checks in to make sure that you’re keeping up with your study plan. 

Choose a good prep course

There are many exam review resources out there. Make sure to choose a complete package, with structure and relevant materials, from a company who has experience in the area. This is where you can have complete confidence in Becker.

Pass the AUD CPA Exam with Becker

Becker offers 60+ years of experience as the leading partner for CPA Exam preparation, and 94 percent of Exam Day ReadySM students pass the CPA Exam. Becker offers a variety of features for all learning styles to help prepare you to pass the AUD CPA Exam from customizable and unlimited practice questions to live streaming courses and even a mobile app so you can study on the go! 

Get a 14-day free trial of Becker's CPA Exam review

Discover why more CPA candidates choose Becker! Get a 14-day free trial of our exam review course and check out our resources, materials, and more.  

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