Becker CPA FAQs

You’ve probably heard stories about the CPA Exam’s level of difficulty. So just how hard is the CPA Exam? Consider that only 50% pass all of the sections on their first attempt. But with the right preparation, you can develop the skills and strategies that will teach you how to pass the CPA Exam.

At Becker, we have a variety of learning formats and resources designed to provide everything you need to help prepare you for success. Our CPA Exam Review is completely integrated, so all course components work together to give you a powerful and efficient way to prepare. 

We answer some of the most common questions about the CPA Exam below. 

What is the CPA Exam? 

The exam is a 16-hour, four-part assessment that you must pass in order to qualify for a CPA license. It’s designed to test the minimum knowledge and skills required of a CPA. You must pass all four sections of the exam within 18 months. You should note that the calculation of when the 18-month time frame begins varies by jurisdiction, so check with your specific Board of Accountancy for details.

When and where can I take the CPA Exam?

Beginning July 1, 2020, the CPA Exam is offered year-round, which is great news for test takers. This means no testing windows -- you no longer have to wait until the next calendar quarter to sit for the CPA Exam, and if you do not pass any part of the exam, you can immediately sign up to take the test again (although we highly recommend taking time to study before sitting again).

You can take the CPA Exam at authorized Prometric test centers throughout the 55 US jurisdictions, as well as select international locations.

How hard is the CPA Exam?

The CPA Exam is considered one of the most difficult professional licensing exams. That’s because the exam covers a variety of topics at different skill levels. It also tests these topics using multiple choice questions and task-based simulations that mimic the real-world tasks CPAs are expected to perform.

The CPA Exam is divided into four sections:

• Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

• Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)

• Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

• Regulation (REG)

Each section has its own content area, and each content area constitutes a different percentage of that section’s exam. Each exam section has a four-hour time limit.

How to pass the CPA Exam 

First, be prepared. Comprehensive and rigorous preparation is the key to passing all four sections of the CPA Exam.

Time management on exam day is also essential. It’s important to budget the total exam time appropriately among the testlets within each exam section, and to devote adequate time to each. 

The CPA Exam is a timed exam and you have to answer the questions quickly and accurately. That means you’ll need to learn how to understand the questions quickly and respond instinctively. For multiple-choice questions, allow approximately 90 seconds per question. Task-based simulations in  the FAR, AUD, and REG sections will require about 2.5 hours to complete. For BEC, expect to take 2.5 hours to complete both the task-based simulations and written communication tasks.

It’s also important to understand the exam’s computer-based environment, which features a unique interface and tools that you may find uncomfortable unless you practice beforehand. The exam requires you to demonstrate the ability to perform beyond basic computer skills. You must also be proficient in using the provided four-function calculator, spreadsheet, and research components. You’ll also need to access authoritative literature to answer auditing, accounting, and taxation questions, support judgments, and create formal audit communications.

Finally, be disciplined. Commit to the preparation that’s required. Failure to do so can result in lower scores, incremental fees, missed testing windows, or even lost credit for previously passed sections of the exam.

How to study for the CPA Exam

Given the exam’s level of difficulty, knowing how to study for the CPA Exam is essential. A well-designed CPA Exam review course will help familiarize yourself with both the exam’s content and its format and functionality.

Becker’s CPA Exam Review administers timed drills that assess your strongest and weakest areas. Our course includes thousands of questions from previous exams to help you understand the content that will be tested. It’s also designed to help you become familiar with the exam’s functionality. And with two full final exams per part, you’ll be able to practice using exam-like conditions before exam day.

Our expert instructors will show you how to structure time for each exam part and provide valuable time saving tips. The tools and materials contained within Becker’s CPA Exam Review course are specially designed to mirror the CPA Exam interface. So on exam day, you can focus on answering the questions, not figuring out the format, features, and functions.

How to apply for the CPA Exam

First decide on which jurisdiction you’ll be applying in. Then obtain that jurisdiction’s required application materials and submit as directed.

How much does the CPA Exam cost?

CPA Exam fees depend on the jurisdiction where you choose to become licensed. As part of the CPA Exam application, you’re required to pay an application fee and the fees for each exam section you’re applying to take at the time of registration. If you’re applying to take the CPA Exam for the first time, you’ll also have to pay an initial application fee, which also varies by state. Returning applicants must pay both examination and exam section fees. You can find details by referring to your Board of Accountancy. 

You should also take the cost of your study materials into account. Additionally, some states require you to pass an ethics exam after passing the CPA Exam before you can receive your CPA license, and that comes with an additional fee.

When does Becker make updates to the CPA Exam review and final review content?

Becker will be making content updates per the following schedule:

Content Update Schedule/caption>
Exam Part Audit Business Financial Regulation
CPA Exam Review December

September 2020
Software only

December 2020
Textbook & Flashcards

CPA Final Review December

September 2020
Software only

December 2020