Becker CPA FAQs

What is a CPA in accounting?

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is an accounting professional who has met state licensing requirements to earn their CPA licensure through educational training, passing the CPA Exam, earning designated years of experience, among other requirements.

What is the CPA Exam?

What's the CPA Exam and why would anyone need to take it? The Uniform CPA Examination, also known as the CPA 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. Check with your specific Board of Accountancy for details on how long credits are valid for.

How long is the CPA Exam?

The current version of the CPA Exam takes a total of 16 hours.

Candidates must pass four sections on the CPA Exam. All candidates must pass the three required core sections:

• Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

• Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

• Taxation and Regulation (REG)

Candidates must also take and pass one of the discipline sections:

• Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR)

• Information Systems and Controls (ISC)

• Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP)

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 many questions are on the CPA Exam?

The Auditing and Attestation (AUD) section has 78 questions and 7 task-based simulations. The Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) section has 50 questions and 7 task-based simulations. The Taxation and Regulation (REG) section has 72 questions and 8 task-based simulations. The Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) section has 50 questions and 7 task-based simulations. The Information Systems and Controls (ISC) section has 82 questions and 6 task-based simulations. The Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP) section has 68 questions and 7 task-based simulations.

How is the CPA Exam graded?

The CPA Exam is graded on a scale of 0 to 99, using a rigorous scoring structure. The minimum passing score is 75. This is not a percentage correct score. It is a weighted combination of scaled scores from the MCQs and TBSs. 

Where can I take the CPA Exam?

You can take the CPA Exam at authorized Prometric test centers throughout the 55 US jurisdictions, as well as select international locations. One of the best ways to ensure success is to be prepared on exam day. Here are tips for the day of your CPA Exam at Prometric. We always keep testing and score release dates up-to-date here.

How to reschedule CPA Exam sections

If necessary, you can reschedule your CPA Exam through Prometric. Keep in mind, there are fees if you change your exam date less than 30 days in advance.

Is the CPA Exam hard?

The golden question - 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 wide 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.

There are significant roadblocks to passing the CPA Exam, including eligibility requirements, time commitment, reviewing study material and the CPA Exam content itself. These obstacles may affect your experience differently from other CPA candidates depending on your learning style.

Regardless of your biggest challenge, Becker can help you overcome and continue through your CPA journey. In fact, we have a proven track record of helping 1 million+ CPA candidates pass all four sections and earn their three letters. Use our CPA Exam Review to feel confident on exam day. 

How many times can you take CPA Exam sections?

You can take the CPA Exam as many times as you need. As we mentioned above, the CPA Exam is one of the hardest professional licensing exams - many candidates need to retake sections to pass. Don't be ashamed if you fall into this group. You can do this!

How to study for the CPA Exam

Your learning style will help to determine how to study for CPA Exam sections. At Becker, we have a variety of learning formats and resources designed to provide everything you need to help prepare 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.

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 simulated exams per section, 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

How to apply for the CPA Exam depends on your specific jurisdiction. This is usually the state where you plan to use your license. Then, obtain that jurisdiction’s required application materials and submit as directed. Be sure that you qualify based on your state’s specific CPA requirements.

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 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.

How to pass the CPA Exam

Everyone wants to know how to pass CPA Exam sections. First, be prepared. Comprehensive and rigorous preparation is the key to passing all four sections of the CPA Exam. Create a study plan that is realistic with your exam timeline and that works best with your learning style.

Time management while studying and 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. Familiarize yourself with the exam’s simulations using Becker’s mini and simulated exams and ExamSolver videos. These videos include guided walk-throughs of task-based simulations, thorough explanations, and strategies for success on exam day.

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.

How hard is the CPA Exam? Depends on your discipline. 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.

What to do after passing CPA Exam sections

First, celebrate your accomplishment! If you have other sections to pass, get back into your study mode quickly as you'll need to pass all four sections within 18 months. If you've just passed your last CPA Exam section, you're not officially a CPA yet. Don't forget about the other qualifications for CPA licensure, including a certain amount of public accounting work experience and education requirements.

When does Becker make updates to the CPA Exam Review and Final Review content?

Becker will be making updates per the following schedule:

CPA Exam ReviewNone plannedJune 2024:
Textbook & Software
June 2024:
Textbook & Software
June 2024:
Textbook & Software
None plannedJune 2024:
Textbook & Software
CPA Final 
Jan. 2024Jan. 2024Jan. 2024Apr. 2024Apr. 2024Apr. 2024

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