What information is tested by the CPA Exam? To find out, you should review the CPA Exam Blueprints. This document is published one to two times per year and details the minimum level of knowledge and skills you must have to qualify for initial licensure.
Use the Blueprints as a study guide in conjunction with other Exam review and preparation materials available to you. To find out when new content becomes eligible for testing, you should read the Board of Examiners’ Policy on New Pronouncements.
Within the Blueprints, you will find the following information for each Exam section:
- Content organized by Area, Group and Topic along with score weighting
- Sample task statements that represent what you may be asked to do when testing
- Skill levels at which tasks are tested
- Reference materials that support the sample task statements
- Number of item types you must complete (multiple-choice questions, task-based simulations and written communication tasks)
- Score weighting of each item type
View the final report and other details about the AICPA’s recent practice analysis.
- Please review the Practice Analysis Final Report for details about the revisions.
Each Exam section is delivered in five smaller sections called testlets. Each testlet features different item types (see below) used to test your knowledge and skills. To learn more about how each section is organized, including when you can take a break, review the CPA Exam structure.
Exam Item Types
You will be tested during the CPA Exam using three types of test items that appear within specific testlets in each section.
Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQ)
The multiple-choice portions are presented in the first two testlets of each Exam section.
Task-Based Simulations (TBS)
Task-based simulations are condensed case studies that test accounting knowledge and skills using real life, work-related situations. All task-based simulations are intended to assess knowledge and skills that are appropriate for an entry-level accountant. There are three TBS testlets in the AUD, FAR and REG sections, and two TBS testlets in the BEC section.
Written Communication Tasks
Written communication tasks appear only in the BEC section of the CPA Exam. For each of three written communication tasks, you must read a scenario and then write an appropriate document relating to the scenario. The instructions state what form the document should take (such as a memo or letter) and its focus. Your response should provide the correct information in writing that is clear, complete and professional.