CPA Exam Sections: AUD, FAR, BEC, REG
The Uniform CPA Exam is made up of four sections. All four sections contain multiple choice questions for the test-taker to solve. Three sections have task-based simulation problems while one has written communication questions that must be answered. The testlets are the three units in which the multiple choice questions are asked. The test has both pretest and operational questions.
AUD stands for Auditing and Attestation. A few of the topics it covers are different types of engagements, documentation and quality control. Understanding what factors affect the advancement of an engagement audit or non-audit will be important. 4 hours are given to complete this section of the exam. Within the 3 testlets, 90 multiple choice questions will be given with 75 being operational and 15 being pretest. A task-based simulation is a part of the AUD section and it has 6 operations parts and 1 pretest part.
FAR represents Financial Accounting and Reporting. This section asks questions about standards, financial statement accounts, transactions, and local laws. Several references to the SEC or Securities and Exchange Commission and the AICPA guides may be present. International knowledge of financial reporting could be expected. Similar to the AUD section, the sections is broken up into 3 testlets with 75 operational questions and 15 pretest questions along with a task-based simulation with 6 operation tasks and 1 pretest task,
Business Environment and Concepts or BEC will test an individual’s knowledge of corporate governance, economics, IT, and management. An individual may be asked to perform an risk assessment using IT and create their own moderation strategies. The section must be completed in 3 hours and has 3 testlets, 60 operational multiple-choice questions and 12 pretest questions. There isn’t a task-based simulation instead 2 operational written communication tasks and 1 pretest communication task is given.
Regulation also known as REG has a time limit of 3 hours and covers ethics, taxation of property, and federal taxation. The legal consequences of a business’s actions in regards to financial reporting and auditing will be focused on in this sections. The REG section has 3 testlets like the other sections with 60 operational questions and 12 pretest questions. The task-based simulation has 5 operational parts and 1 pretest part.
Each section is totaled as a weighted combination of both the multiple choice questions and either the task-based simulation or the written communication task. For AUD, FAR, and REG about 60% of the score comes from the multiple choice questions and the remaining 40% is the task-based simulations. For BEC, the multiple makes up a greater percentage at 85% and the written portion is 15%. While only the operational questions are graded the tester will not be able to distinguish the difference between a pretest and an operational question. The multiple choice testlets range from medium to difficult and within each unit the questions vary but the tester will always get the medium testlet first. Questions are graded differently according to difficulty.