CPA Licensing Exam Guide
Certified public accountant exams have become increasingly complex over the years. Accounting professionals are required to take four separate tests in order to gain their full licensure. On top of that, the questions on the test have been changed repeatedly to raise the difficulty and make sure that the test keeps up with the most up to date taxation and other information.
In order to prepare for the CPA exam, you should definitely consider following a study plan first. Considering that the exam will cover many subjects, focusing your practice on a well-prepared study program will greatly increase your chances of success. A good CPA exam preparation course will cover everything from fundamental finance and audit concepts to complex tax guidelines.
Despite the fact that accountants can work in other capacities than as a CPA, CPAs themselves are required to hold a license in every state in the US. Some work for firms that specialize in providing tax obligation advice to organizations, while others are freelance accountants. The government relies on accountants to follow through on reporting tax obligations and other financial information as required by law, as well as to provide a variety of financial solutions to businesses and other clients. Before being allowed to practice legally in the United States, accountants must fulfill a variety of educational and professional requirements.
A few of the requirements include:
- Obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an approved university
- Passing the state-approved CPA exam
- Completing training under an already licensed CPA
- Applying for and receiving a CPA license
There are four CPA exams that must all be taken and passed in order to obtain a CPA license. Trainees must, at this time, register for a specific time for their proctored test and travel to a testing facility where it will be administered. Some have called for online testing, but that is not yet an option. Students can schedule their exams around other commitments, but changing the date of a registered test may make it impossible for you to complete the exam during the current testing window, and it may end up costing you extra. However, students can use online study guides, video lectures, practice tests, and more in order to review topics and ensure their success on the actual test.
How Much does the CPA Exam Cost?
The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) has developed a flat rate for every exam section but, you should bear in mind that administration charges are also charged by boards of accountancy in specific states. Be sure to check your state’s board of accountancy website for all charges. Extra costs may be charged for records evaluations or online registration confirmation. Usually, future Certified public accountants can expect to invest around $1,000 on all four sections of the exam. And that is before they consider how much they are willing to budget for test prep materials.
CPA Exam Structure
The CPA exam has 276 multiple-choice concerns, 28 task-based simulations, and also 3 written sections.
These are divided into 4 sections that are given as separate tests. These are:
- Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
- Regulation (REG)
- Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
Candidates have four hours to finish each section, with a complete exam time of 16 hours. Each section is taken individually and candidates can pick the order in which they wish to take them. Prospects need to pass all four areas of the exam within 18 months. The beginning of the 18-month amount of time differs by state.
Each section must be passed with a score of 75 or higher out of 99, as rated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The total score is a weighted combination of your scores on multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations in the AUD, FAR, and REG sections. The rating is composed of 50% multiple-choice questions and 50% tasks-based simulations.
The Business Environment and Concepts rating is a weighted combination of scaled scores from multiple-choice questions, simulations, and writing tasks. There is a 50% weighting for multiple-choice questions, a 35% weighting for task-based simulations, and a 15% weighting for written communication activities.
The exam areas use multi-stage testlets for the multiple-choice questions. The initial testlet is always middlingly difficult. Depending on how well you do, the next one will either be of the same level or will become more difficult.
CPA Exam Schedule
Organizing tests is a complicated process, so staying on top of the details is crucial. The company that proctors the CPA exam (Prometric) offers screenings eight months a year (or twice a quarter in accountant speak). There will be no testing in March, June, September, or December. During any other calendar month, screenings are offered five or six days a week, depending on the location.
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