CPA Exam Sections

The CPA exam is comprised of four sections taken independently. Each section has a specific time allotted to complete, totaling 16 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 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't repeat an exam section during the same testing window.


Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

  1. Ethics, professional responsibilities and general principles
  2. Assessing risk and developing a planned response
  3. Performing further procedures and obtaining evidence
  4. Forming conclusions and reporting

Time allotted: 4 hours
Format: 2 multiple choice testlets, 3 task-based simulation testlets

Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)

  1. Corporate governance
  2. Economic concepts and analysis
  3. Financial management
  4. Information technology
  5. Operations management

Time allotted: 4 hours
Format: 2 multiple choice testlets, 2 task-based simulation testlets, 1 written communication testlet

Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

  1. Conceptual framework, standard-setting and financial reporting
  2. Select financial statement accounts 
  3. Select transactions
  4. State and local governments

Time allotted: 4 hours
Format: 2 multiple choice testlets, 3 task-based simulation testlets

Regulation (REG)

  1. Ethics, professional responsibilities and federal tax procedures 
  2. Business law
  3. Federal taxation of property transactions
  4. Federal taxation of individuals
  5. Federal taxation of entities

Time allotted: 4 hours
Format: 2 multiple choice testlets, 3 task-based simulation testlets


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.)