CPA Examination Content 


    Examination content refers to CPA Examination questions – multiple-choice, written communication and task-based simulations* – reflecting the subject matter eligible to be tested. According to the Board of Examiners (BOE) policy, Content and Skill Specification Outlines (CSOs/SSOs) document the content that is covered in all four sections of the Examination.

     *Task-based simulations are case studies that allow candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and skills by generating responses to questions rather than simply selecting an answer. They typically require candidates to use spreadsheets and/or research authoritative literature provided in the Exam.

    Download: CSOs/SSOs Effective January 1, 2015

    View a summary of changes to the 2015 CSOs/SSOs.

    CSO Update Effective January 1, 2016
    On October 10, 2014, the AICPA Board of Examiners (BOE) approved changes to the CPA Exam Content Specification Outline (CSO) that will be effective on January 1, 2016.

    CSOs/SSOs Effective January 1, 2016

    View a summary of changes to the 2016 CSOs/SSOs.

    Examination content development is a major effort at the AICPA, involving hundreds of CPA volunteers who spend thousands of hours every year on the development of new examination questions. A constant flow of new questions is necessary to maintain the vitality and credibility of the CPA Examination.



    FAR Section: IFRS 15 will not be tested before January 1, 2016
    The AICPA Board of Examiners has decided that IFRS 15, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, will not be tested in the FAR section of the CPA Exam prior to January 1, 2016. Read more about the decision and further action.

    Development of the Exam 

    The Development of Examination Content - in Brief
    The content of the Uniform CPA Examination is developed in an extensive and integrated process. At each step in the process, expertise in various disciplines is applied to ensure that test materials are accurate and appropriate for use on the CPA Exam.

    Practice Analysis 2008
    The practice analysis provides a way to evaluate the knowledge, tasks and skills required of CPAs entering the profession, determine the feasibility and resources required for assessment and develop a blueprint documenting the content, skills, length and time of the examination.


    International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) became eligible for testing on the CPA Examination when the 2011 CSOs/SSOs went into effect. Among other IFRS information, these FAQs address the question of why the decision to add IFRS content to the CPA Examination was made.

    New Pronouncements 

    New Pronouncements Policy
    This policy provides answers to this important question: “How soon after a new pronouncement is issued is its content eligible to be tested on the Uniform CPA Examination?"
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