CPA Exam Structure

There are four sections to the Uniform CPA Examination® (Exam):

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
  • Regulation (REG)

You have a maximum of four and a half hours to complete the Exam:

  • 5 minutes — Welcome/enter launch code
  • 5 minutes — Confidentiality/section information
  • 4 hours — Testing time
  • 15 minutes — Break after third testlet (option to pause Exam timer)
  • 5 minutes — Survey

Each of the four Exam sections is broken down into five smaller sections called testlets. These testlets feature multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and task-based simulations (TBSs). In the case of BEC, you also have to complete three written communication tasks. The number of MCQs and TBSs tested varies depending upon the specific section taken. You will receive at least one research question (research-oriented TBS) in the AUD, FAR and REG sections. To complete them, you will have to search the related authoritative literature and find an appropriate reference.



During each Exam section, you will be offered a 15-minute break after the first TBS testlet. This is about midway through the section (two hours). You may accept this break and pause the Exam timer or you may continue testing. To accept the break, click the “Take a Break” button. During this break, you must leave the testing room and follow all Prometric security rules. The Exam timer will restart when the 15-minute break ends.

In addition to the 15-minute break, you may also take optional breaks after all other testlets but you cannot pause the Exam timer. The timer will continue to run.