CPA Examination Content 

Examination content refers to the subject matter eligible for testing. According to the Board of Examiners (BOE) policy, the Examination Blueprints document the subject matter covered in all four sections of the Examination. These blueprints present the knowledge and skills to be tested, along with tasks representative of those that a candidate may be asked to complete. Candidates are tested using three different item types: multiple-choice, task-based simulations* and written communication tasks. To learn how these item types are presented to candidates in each section of the Examination, please see the CPA Examination structure.

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 Examination. Licensed CPA volunteers interested in developing future Examination content should contact Carie Chester at carie.chester@aicpa-cima.com.

*Task-based simulations (TBS or 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 Examination.


Examination Blueprints (effective April 1, 2017)

On February 11, 2016, the AICPA Board of Examiners (BOE) approved Examination Blueprints for the Uniform CPA Examination, effective April 1, 2017. 

Download: Examination Blueprints Effective April 1, 2017


Examination Blueprints (effective January 1, 2018)

On September 30, 2016, the AICPA Board of Examiners (BOE) approved changes to the Examination Blueprints that will be effective on January 1, 2018.

Download: Examination Blueprints Effective January 1, 2018

View the summary of changes to the Examination Blueprints, effective January 1, 2018



Access to Professional Literature

The Uniform CPA Examination consists of multiple-choice questions and condensed case studies called task-based simulations (TBS or simulations). Within the TBS, candidates can do an online search of professional literature databases to answer questions.

Here are some ways that candidates, students, educators, and schools can get access to helpful online resources:

CPA Examination Candidates: Free Online Access to Professional Literature Package

Examination candidates can get a free six-month subscription to professional literature used in the computerized CPA Examination. This online package includes AICPA Professional Standards, FASB Original Pronouncements and FASB Accounting Standards Codification.

Only candidates who have applied to take the Examination, and have been deemed eligible by state boards of accountancy, will receive access to this package of professional literature. This online package of literature will familiarize Examination candidates with the use of online accounting resources. However, the interface used by the online package is not exactly the same as that used in the operational Examination. Candidates are strongly encouraged to also review the Examination tutorial and sample tests found on this web site. The sample tests reflect the functionality and interfaces used in the actual Examination.

Subscribe to the Essential A&A Research Collection

In addition to the available 30 day free trial, AICPA Student Affiliate Members can get a subscription to the Essential A&A Research Collection for $75.00 for 1 year! When you log into this website with your AICPA member user account, the AICPA Student Affiliate Member discount will be automatically applied during checkout. Should you have any questions or encounter any issues, please contact the AICPA Service Center at 888-777-7077 or service@aicpa.org. Learn more about AICPA Student Affiliate Membership.

Apply for the free six-month subscription to the Professional Literature Package: Click here to subscribe

The link will take you to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) website. Please have your Notice of Schedule available.

For other Professional Resource Options, click here.  

Examination Development 

Practice Analysis 
In 2013, the AICPA began a comprehensive research project (Practice Analysis) to determine the knowledge and skills required of today’s newly licensed CPAs. The results of the research informed the AICPA’s September 2015 proposal for the CPA Examination, and ultimately the final content, design and structure of the CPA Examination that will launch April 1, 2017.

Practice Analysis Final Report
Practice Analysis FAQs

IFRS FAQs
International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) became eligible for testing on the CPA Examination in 2011. 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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