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California Board of Accountancy

Exam FAQs

  • How often will the Uniform CPA Exam be given?

    As of July 1, 2020, the CPA Exam has transitioned from a testing window format to a continuous testing format. You may take any examination section(s), year-round, without restriction, except that before retaking a section, you must wait to receive your score from the previous attempt of the same section.

  • Do I need to take all unpassed sections at the same time?

    No, you may take each exam section individually, and in any order.

  • When can I retake a failed exam section?

    You may retake a failed examination section at any time after you have received your score from the previous attempt of the same section.

  • Where can I get additional information about the Uniform CPA Exam?

    Additional information related to the Uniform CPA Exam is contained in the Candidate Bulletin - Information for Applicants and the CPA Exam Alert, both accessible online at the Uniform CPA Exam website located at www.aicpa.org/becomeacpa/cpaexam or at the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) website at www.nasba.org. NASBA highly recommends that candidates take the exam tutorial and sample tests available at www.aicpa.org/becomeacpa/cpaexam as there are features unique to each exam that may not be similar to your regular operating system.

  • Where can I take the Uniform CPA Exam?

    Prometric Testing Centers administer the Uniform CPA Exam at more than 300 testing centers in the United States. Candidates may take the exam at any one of the authorized Prometric Testing Centers that offer the CPA Exam. California candidates are not required to take the CPA Exam at a Prometric site located in California.

  • Can I take the Uniform CPA Exam in a foreign country?

    The CBA participates in the NASBA/AICPA iExam process, which allows candidates to test in specified international Prometric testing centers. Information regarding iExam is available on NASBA’s website at www.nasba.org.

  • How much will the Uniform CPA Exam cost?

    Initial Application

    $100

    (Applicants seeking to qualify to sit for the CPA Exam as a California Candidate for the first time.)

    Reapplication

    $50

    (Applicants previously approved to sit for the CPA Exam as a California Candidate.)

    Fees to be paid to NASBA

    Current

    Auditing and Attestation

    $238.15

    Financial Accounting and Reporting

    $238.15

    Regulation

    $238.15

    Business Environmental and Concepts

    $238.15

    Total fees paid to NASBA for all four sections

    $952.60

  • When can I apply for the Uniform CPA Exam?

    Applicants may apply for the Uniform CPA Exam if they qualify under the following categories:

    • A: Bachelor's Degree
      • Completion of a bachelor’s degree or higher from a nationally or regionally accredited U.S. degree-granting educational institution or the equivalent foreign education.
      • Completion of 24-semester units of accounting.
      • Completion of 24-semester units of business-related courses.
    • B: Dual Degree
      • Currently enrolled in a program that results in the conferral of a bachelor’s degree upon completion of a master’s degree from a nationally or regionally accredited U.S. degree-granting educational institution or the equivalent foreign education.
      • Completion of 24-semester units of accounting.
      • Completion of 24-semester units of business-related courses.
    • C: Early Entry
      • Currently enrolled in a nationally or regionally accredited U.S. degree-granting educational institution or the equivalent foreign education.
      • Will complete the following within 180 days of application submission:
        • Bachelor’s degree.
        • 24-semester units of accounting courses.
        • 24-semester units of business-related courses.
      • Will provide satisfactory evidence of degree conferral, completion of 24-semester units of accounting, and 24-semester units of business-related courses within 240 days of application submission.

    Note: Applicants must submit official transcripts within 240 days to the CBA showing all education requirements have been met. Failure to do so may result in the loss of any exam credit received.

    For additional information regarding educational requirements for the CPA Exam, please refer to the CPA Exam Quick Tips.

  • Am I required to meet the new licensing educational requirements before I can sit for the Uniform CPA Exam?

    The educational requirements to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam have not changed. You are not required to meet the new licensing educational requirements to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam.

  • I will get my baccalaureate and master's degrees together when I graduate even though I already completed my baccalaureate degree requirements. Can I apply for and take the Uniform CPA Exam prior to conferral of my baccalaureate degree?

    Students who are enrolled in a program that results in the conferral of a baccalaureate degree upon completion of either a master's degree or the 150 semester units required for CPA licensure, may be permitted to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam prior to conferral of the required baccalaureate degree if certain conditions are met.

    Students must have completed all baccalaureate degree requirements, including 24 semester units each in accounting and business-related subjects. Students must submit their official transcripts, or its equivalent, together or separately with a letter signed by the institution's registrar, or its equivalent, to the CBA in the original sealed envelope, or have the official documents sent directly from the college or university. For detailed information regarding the information that must be included in the letter from the registrar's office, please refer to the Uniform CPA Examination Handbook.

  • Can I take the Uniform CPA Exam online?

    No, the exam is only administered at Prometric Testing Centers.

  • How many sections are there in the Uniform CPA Exam?

    The Uniform CPA Exam is comprised of four (4) sections:

    • Auditing (AUD)-4 hours
    • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)-3 hours
    • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)-4 hours
    • Regulation (REG)-3 hours

    Please note that the scheduling confirmation you receive from Prometric may indicate your testing appointment is 30 minutes longer than the times shown above. Prometric adds one-half hour to each appointment to allow time to complete the check-in procedures. However, the additional 30 minutes is not part of your actual testing time. Therefore, completion of a quick check-in will not give you additional testing minutes. When you sign on to the computer, the allotted testing time displayed on the computer screen will reflect the same amount of time as indicated above.

  • How often can each section of the Uniform CPA Exam be taken?

    You may take any unpassed section of the Uniform CPA Exam year-round. Your only restriction is waiting to receive your score from a previous attempt of the same section. Additionally, there is no limit as to the amount of times you may repeat a failed section.

  • How do I gain credit for sections passed on the Uniform CPA Exam?

    The Uniform CPA Exam utilizes a "rolling" 18-month credit status period. Credit status is established by passing one section of the examination. Once you pass a section of the examination, you are allowed a maximum of 18 months to pass all remaining sections in order to retain credit for the passed section. If you do not pass all four sections within that 18-month period, you will lose credit for the first section of the exam passed. The credit status period then becomes based upon the credit expiration date of the next passed section.

  • I did not pass an exam section. How do I apply to take the section again?

    You will need to complete the repeat application process by accessing your existing online Client Account and clicking on the "Make Payment" tab to create a new Application Remittance Form. Simply print out the Application Remittance Form and sign and mail it to the CBA along with the $50 reapplication fee. Once the CBA has processed your application, you will be notified to make your exam section selections.

  • What is IQEX?

    IQEX is the acronym for the International Uniform Certified Public Accountant Qualification Examination. The purpose of the IQEX is to facilitate U.S. licensure for accountants from other countries who are members of professional organizations that have agreed to reciprocity with U.S. jurisdictions. These reciprocity agreements have been developed through the efforts of the United States International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB) which was established jointly by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. Currently, members of the following eight organizations are qualified to take the IQEX:

    • Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants
    • Chartered Accountants Ireland
    • CPA Australia Ltd.
    • Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants
    • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia
    • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
    • Instituto Mexican de Contadores Publicos
    • New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants
  • What changes are coming in 2024 with CPA Evolution?

    The Uniform CPA Exam will undergo changes expected to begin in January 2024. Go to the CPA Evolution website for more information about what you can expect to see on the new exam.

  • What is CPA Evolution and when will it be implemented?

    CPA Evolution is the transformation of the CPA licensure model to recognize the rapidly changing skills and competencies the practice of accounting requires today and will require in the future. Implementation of the new model will be in January of 2024. As illustrated in the visual below, the new CPA Exam model is a Core + Discipline model. The model starts with a core in accounting, auditing, and tax that all candidates will have to complete. Then, each candidate must choose a Discipline section in which to demonstrate greater skills and knowledge. Technology knowledge and skills will be tested in all sections. The Discipline section selected for testing does not mean the CPA is limited to that practice area.

    The three Disciplines are:
    Business analysis and reporting (BAR)
    Information systems and controls (ISC)
    Tax compliance and planning (TCP)

  • How will CPA Evolution impact me if I am currently in the process of taking the CPA Exam?

    Any CPA Exams credits earned prior to December 31, 2023 will be retained for 18 months. See the CPA Exam Transition Policy below for details on which new CPA Exam sections you may need to take in 2024.

  • Will my credit expiration dates for section I have already passed change because of the CPA Evolution transition?

    No. Your credit expiration date for sections passed prior to the January 2024 CPA Evolution transition will remain the same.

  • How do I find out more about CPA Evolution and the 2024 CPA Exam structure and content?

    . Additional information is available on the CPA Evolution website.

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