What is CPA Syllabus, and Exam Pattern? | 5 Perfect Strategies to Pass the Exam

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What is CPA Syllabus, and Exam Pattern? |           5 Perfect Strategies to Pass the Exam

CPA Syllabus, Exam Pattern, and Perfect Strategy to Pass the Exam

The CPA is a globally recognized designation, administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants or the AICPA, by taking the Uniform CPA Examination. In India, a Chartered Accountant or CA designation is equivalent to a CPA. The CPA certification is one of the highest standards of competence in accountancy and is a highly sought-after and versatile credential for accountants. 

To become a CPA-certified professional, an individual must have the prerequisite education and experience, preferably with accounting courses. In the US, every state has its CPA exam prerequisites; Indians may choose any state they want for enrolling in the examination. Some standard eligibility criteria, however, are as follows: 

  • Graduation or any equivalent bachelor’s degree
  • 2 years of experience under any CPA
  • 150 credit hours of college studies

CPA Syllabus and Examination- Sub-division 

The CPA Exam is a four-hour-long examination divided into four subdivisions. These subdivisions assess the skills and knowledge of individuals appearing for the examination. An individual taking the examination must finish all sections within the 18-month testing window, that is, to clear all four subdivisions within a frame of 18-months. The candidate can take up any division in any order during one open testing window.

The candidate can take any number of exams during the same window, but they cannot take the same section twice in one testing window. If a candidate fails one part of the exam, the candidate would not be able to retake that division until the next testing window opens. Every sub-division of the CPA exam has a time limit of 4 hours. 

The CPA Syllabus and sections for each of the sections are listed below:

  1. Auditing and Attestation or AUD: 

  • Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and General Principles
  • Assessing Risk and Developing a Planned Response
  • Performing Further Procedures and Obtaining Evidence
  • Forming Conclusions and Reporting

  1. Business Environment and Concepts or BEC: 

  • Enterprise Risk Management, Internal Controls, and Business Processes
  • Economics
  • Financial Management
  • Information Technology
  • Operations Management

  1. Financial Accounting and Reporting or FAR: 

  • Conceptual Framework, Standard-Setting, and Financial Reporting
  • Select Financial Statement Accounts
  • Select Transactions
  • State and Local Governments

  1. Regulation or REG: 

  • Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and Federal Tax Procedures
  • Business Law
  • Federal Taxation of Property Transactions 
  • Federal Taxation of Individuals
  • Federal Taxation of Entities

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CPA Exam Pattern

There are three sub-sections in the CPA examination for sub-divisional subjects or areas of study. These sub-sections are categorized as testlets. The testlets are further categorized into MCQ, task-based simulations, and written communication. More importance has been given to task-based simulations from the past few years. MCQs are weighted evenly along with simulations except on BEC. The AICPA has also divided the grade weightage to each topic/section under these tests: 

No. Section AUD BEC FAR REG
1 Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs) 50% 50% 50% 50%
2 Task-Based Simulations (TBSs) 50% 35% 50% 50%
3 Written Communication Tasks N/A 15% N/A N/A
CPA Exam Pattern

Skill Levels to be Assessed in each of the Sections

The CPA exam tests skills in a variety of evaluation methods and its coherent percentage weightage allotted generally by the authorities

No. Section Remembering & Understanding Application Analysis Evaluation
1 AUD 25–35% 30–40% 20–30% 5–15%
2 BEC 15–25% 50–60%* 20–30%
3 FAR 10–20% 50–60% 25–35%
4 REG 25–35% 35–45% 25–35%
Skill Levels to be Assessed in each of the Sections

*Includes written communication

CPA Syllabus of Auditing or AUD for the CPA Exam

No. AUD Content Subject Allocation %
1 Area I Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and General Principles 15-25
2 Area II Assessing Risk and Developing a Planned Response 25-35
3 Area III Performing Further Procedures and Obtaining Evidence 30-40
4 Area IV Forming Conclusions and Reporting 10-20
CPA Syllabus of Auditing or AUD for the CPA Exam

CPA Syllabus of Business Environment and Concepts or BEC for the CPA Exam

No. BEC Content Subject Allocation %
1 Area I Enterprise Risk Management, Internal Controls, and Business Processes 20-30
2 Area II Economics 15-25
3 Area III Financial Management 10-20
4 Area IV Information Technology 15-25
5 Area V Operations Management 15-25
CPA Syllabus of Business Environment and Concepts or BEC for the CPA Exam

CPA Syllabus of Financial Accounting and Reporting or FAR for the CPA Exam

No. FAR Content Subject Allocation %
1 Area I Conceptual Framework, Standard-Setting, and Financial Reporting 25-35
2 Area II Select Financial Statement Accounts 30-40
3 Area III Select Transactions 20-30
4 Area IV State and Local Governments 5-15
CPA Syllabus of Financial Accounting and Reporting or FAR for the CPA Exam

CPA Syllabus of Regulation (REG) for the CPA Exam

No. FAR Content Subject Allocation %
1 Area I Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and Federal Tax Procedures 10-20
2 Area II Business Law 10-20
3 Area III Federal Taxation of Property Transactions 12-22
4 Area IV Federal Taxation of Individuals 15-25
5 Area V Federal Taxation of Entities 28-38
CPA Syllabus of Financial Accounting and Reporting or FAR for the CPA Exam

Strategy for Passing the CPA Exam 

Here are some quick tips to help an aspiring CPA candidate study and successfully crack the examinations: 

  1. Initiate the development of a study plan and put in the effort to stick to it
  2. Candidates should not spend their entire time reading study materials or watching study videos. Instead, they must reserve those for problem areas that they may encounter. 
  3. Candidates are expected to solve practice questions and exams to prepare for the actual exam format. These will help them get accustomed to the format, timing, and question advancement scheme.
  4. Candidates should plan the best time to prepare for the CPA exam every day. They should choose the exact time that they will allot to studies, and it should be a time frame that is more functional and effective 
  5. Candidates can use digital flashcards or create their memory tricks for each subject. 
  6. Candidates must plan to end before the exam date, giving themselves additional practice time once all of the exam study material is covered. 
  7. Candidates may download a mobile study app to review while they have small breaks in the day or are traveling or have any sort of free time that they can use for examination preparation. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the full form of CPA? 

The full form of CPA is Certified Public Accountant.

2. What is the salary of a CPA professional in India?

CPA professionals with 1-3 years of experience are around Rs. 6 -7 LPA in India. CPAs go on to receive much higher packages as their career progresses. 

3. Do Indian corporations require CPA professionals?

Yes, since many MNCs and the Big4s are rising in India, the demand for CPA certified professionals is increasing. CPA certification holders are often given preference over CAs. 

4. How many sections are there in CPA Syllabus?

There are 4-sections in CPA, they are:

1. Auditing and Attestation or AUD: 
2. Business Environment and Concepts or BEC: 
3. Financial Accounting and Reporting or FAR: 
4. Regulation, or REG: 

Conclusion

If you wish to excel in a finance career, then CPA can be an excellent option for moving ahead. Knowing the exact syllabus, creating a study plan as well as sticking to it can ensure success. Furthermore, you can always enroll in NorthStar’s CPA program to be able to get the right direction and guidance to achieve your goals.

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