History of the CPA Exam

About the CPA Exam


The CPA Exam was first administered in 1917. The CPA Exam is uniform for all fifty states and four jurisdictions in which it is administered (which includes the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands). The CPA Exam is administered by individual State Boards of Accountancy.

Approximately 100,000 candidates sit for the CPA Exam each year. The Exam questions and answers are given and graded in English only. In March of 1996, the CPA Exam became a “closed” Exam, meaning the candidate’s will not have access to the questions or answers to previous exams with the exception of those released by the Board of Examiners.

State Boards of Accountancy

Individual State Boards of Accountancy administer the CPA Exam and determine the CPA requirements by state. You must register with your state board to take the Exam. As part of the registration process you will have to provide college transcripts, proof of state residency, and in some instances work experience.

Some states require you to take an ethics Exam. These Exams DO NOT affect the scores earned by candidates on the four sections of the Exam. The ethics Exam affects a candidate’s ability to receive the CPA certificate as determined by that state board and is usually given after you’ve passed all four parts of the CPA exam.

Some states use an Exam service to administer the Exam; in these cases, information should be obtained from the agency instead of the state board. The Examining Service or state board should be the ultimate source for information regarding the Exam.

See CPA Testing Windows for clarification.

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