The Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination (UCPAE) is often referred to by this abbreviated title of “the CPA Exam.” To become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), you must pass the CPA Exam.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) constructed the exam to be rigorous enough to protect the public interest by ensuring that only very qualified people can become licensed as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) while encompassing a basic knowledge of a wide range of accounting subjects. Failure rate is high (54%).

While the test is written by the AICPA, it is given by Prometric at its 300+ testing centers in multiple cities within each of the 54 U.S. jurisdictions (the 50 U.S. states and four U.S. territories).

Since the test is exactly the same, you can sit for the exam at any location, even a Prometric test center outside the state in which you are approved to sit for the exam. Thus, if you are a college student from Rhode Island who meets the qualifications for the CPA Exam in Texas (where you were hired and will start after graduation), you can sit for the exam in Rhode Island. The scores are sent to Texas and then on to you. Each jurisdiction has its own requirements you must meet before you can sit for the exam. For more information, see “CPA Exam Application Process.”

Prometric offers the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)’s Uniform Certified Public Accountant Exam (CPA Exam) at certain of Prometric’s test centers. The CPA Exam is given as a Computer-Based Test.

The CPA Exam has four parts: the Auditing and Attestation CPA Exam, the Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) CPA Exam, Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) CPA Exam, and Regulation (REG) CPA Exam. To prepare to pass, you can take an unlimited number of CPA Exam simulations at CPAexcel.

Prometric is a company which is hired by a variety of government and professional organizations to offer their certification exams at Prometric centers. Microsoft, a national veterinary association, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) all offer their certification exams through Prometric’s test centers. Prometric has thousands of test centers around the world but only 300 of those in the United States offer the CPA Exam.

The AICPA writes the exam. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) maintains accurate databases of the requirements to sit for the exam as determined by the 54 jurisdictions* and the database of candidates for the CPA designation.

After your state/jurisdiction approves you to sit for the exam, NASBA sends you the Notice to Schedule (NTS) which allows you to register for one of the Prometric test center locations, and select a day and time to sit for the exam. After you sit for the exam, Prometric sends your test data to AICPA for scoring. AICPA sends the scores to NASBA which in turn distributes the information to the jurisdictions. Your jurisdiction will send you your score.

(*The 54 jurisdictions are the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.) In 2004, the CBT format replaced the paper and pencil format which was the traditional method for delivering the CPA Exam.

CBT is the only format in which the test is offered but if requested at the time of application, certain accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can be made for specific candidates.

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