CPA Exam Sections

A new version of the CPA exam will launch April 1, 2017. Content on this page will be updated accordingly following the change.
Learn more about CPA exam changes

The CPA exam is comprised of four sections taken independently. Each section has a specific time allotted to complete, totaling 14 hours.

You can complete the sections in any order. There is no "best order" in which to take each section of the CPA exam. Statistically, They have about the same statistical pass rate (for more information, see pass rates by section).

You can take up to all four sections in the same testing window, but you can not repeat an exam section during the same testing window.

Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

  1. Planning the engagement
  2. Internal controls
  3. Obtain and document information
  4. Review engagement and evaluate information
  5. Prepare communications

Time allotted: 4 hours
Format: 3 multiple choice testlets, 7 short task-based simulations

Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)

  1. Business structure
  2. Economic concepts
  3. Financial management
  4. Information technology
  5. Planning and measurement

Time allotted: 3 hours
Format: 3 multiple choice testlets, 3 written simulations

Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

  1. Concepts and standards for financial statements
  2. Typical items in financial statements
  3. Specific types of transactions and events
  4. Accounting and reporting for governmental entities
  5. Accounting and reporting for nongovernmental and not-for-profit organizations

Time allotted: 4 hours
Format: 3 multiple choice testlets, 7 short task-based simulations

Regulation (REG)

  1. Ethics and professional responsibility
  2. Business law
  3. Federal tax procedures and accounting issues
  4. Federal taxation of property transactions
  5. Federal taxation--individuals
  6. Federal taxation--entities

Time allotted: 3 hours
Format: 3 multiple choice testlets, 6 short task-based simulations

Note: At Prometric test centers, the time allowed for each session is 30 minutes longer than examination time so that candidates may complete the sign-in process and survey without using up any of the time allocated for the examination. (This does NOT mean that examination time is extended for those who finish the sign-in process quickly. Examination time never changes.)

Resources for students

Accounting Employer & Internship Directory
Ace your interview! Research potential employers with our searchable guide.

CPA Exam and Certification Video Series
Taking the CPA exam and becoming certified can be intimidating. Check out our online video series about CPA exam and certification in Minnesota to eliminate unknowns and get you ready to take the first step to becoming a CPA.

Facts About the CPA Exam and Certification brochure
Want a handy reference guide for all things CPA? Download this free MNCPA brochure detailing the steps to taking the CPA exam and becoming certified in Minnesota.