It’s the most basic of questions for a site like ours but it shouldn’t be taken for granted that everyone who visits us knows everything there is to know about it. Part of our mission is to educate. So, let’s break it down.
It’s full name is the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. It was developed and is scored by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It consists of four separate exams each of which can have multiple testlets. There is an overall time limit of 14 hours.
- Auditing and Attestation (AUD) – 4 hours
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) – 4 hours
- Regulation (REG) – 3 hours
- Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) – 3 hours
The testing format is two-pronged. There are multiple choice questions for the rules and facts of the business and then there are simulation questions that require you to apply your knowledge in order to answer them.
The exam is administered by Prometric in partnership with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Prometric has 10,000+ testing centers around the world.
You need to contact your State Board of Accountancy to register. Once your application has been processed, you will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS). You then schedule your test, choose a center to take the exam, and confirm things through Prometric. NASBA says you should schedule the test 45 days in advance. It must be done at least 5 days before the test.
There is a minimum score of 75 needed to pass each of the sections. The AICPA will usually release scores within 30 days of your test date. These are sent to your State Board of Accountancy. NASBA then gives you the results in about a week after that.
There is a rolling 18-month period for passing all four sections. All exam credits are valid for 18 months. As NASBA explains:
For example: Let’s say you passed AUD on your first try. After a couple months, you successfully complete BEC, and then pass FAR. If you were to sit for the REG section on the last day before your credit for AUD expires, and you fail REG, you now have to sit for and pass AUD and REG by the time your credit for BEC expires.
There are four testing windows throughout the year:
- January 1 – February 28 (or 29, if it is a leap year)
- April 1 – May 31
- July 1 – August 31
- October 1 – November 30
You cannot sit for the exam at any other time of the year.
So, there’s definitely more involved than your typical test but considering what it’s for we think you’ll agree that it’s justified. Knowledge is power and the more you know about how the exam works the better the chances things will run smoothly for you.
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