FAQs About the CPA Exam

CPA Exam Basics

  • What are the four parts of the CPA Exam?
    • Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
    • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
    • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
    • Regulation (REG)
  • How often is the CPA Exam offered?

    The Exam is offered six days per week in the first two months of every quarter.

  • About how much study time is required to pass the CPA Exam?

    The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) estimates that passing all four parts of the CPA Exam requires 300 to 400 hours of study.

  • About how much does it cost to take the CPA Exam?

    Individual experiences may vary, but on average the Exam will cost $2,800 to $4,400.

Educational Requirements

  • How many credit hours do I need to sit for the CPA Exam according to New Jersey rules and regulations?

    You need 120 credit hours and a bachelor’s degree.

  • Are there specific courses that I need to take in order to sit for the CPA Exam?

    Please see our section on Educational Requirements for sitting for the CPA Exam.

  • Can I take accounting classes from more than one university?

    Yes, you can take courses at more than one university or online – just be certain that the school has the AACSB or the ACBSP accreditation.

  • How many credits do I need to get licensed according to New Jersey rules and regulations?

    You need 150 credit hours to get licensed.

  • Do community college credits count towards the 120- and/or 150-credit requirements?

    Yes, you can use credits from a community college toward your 120 and 150 credit hours requirements. You will just need to have your transcripts sent to Certified Public Accountant Examination Services (CPAES) when applying to sit for the CPA Exam. 

Applying for the CPA Exam

  • Is there a downloadable application for the CPA Exam?

    In New Jersey, the only method of application is online. To apply, visit https://cpacentral.nasba.org. You will need to register for a user account. Registering will allow you to apply for the exam, maintain your current information, view your scores, check your application status and reprint your Notice(s) to Schedule (NTS). 

  • Can I apply to sit for the CPA Exam before I graduate?

    CPA Examination Services (CPAES) no longer allows students to apply early to sit for the CPA Exam, but major improvements have been made to the process. The turnaround for the NTS is now approximately ten to 15 business days, much improved from the previous eight week timeframe.

  • To sit for the CPA exam in New Jersey, do I have to be living in New Jersey?

    You can live anywhere and take the exam according to New Jersey rules and regulations. There is no residency requirement. 

  • If I was arrested, but my record was expunged, how should I answer the question on the CPA Exam application about whether I’ve ever been arrested?

    Our advice is to tell the truth. Say “yes” on the application and include a letter of explanation with your application. If you hide the truth and the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy finds out, you may severely damage you chances of your being licensed. 

Taking the Exam

  • When does the six-month testing window begin?

    The six-month period begins when the Notice to Schedule (NTS) is issued, not when it is received.  Sign up for email notification so you won’t lose time if the mail gets held up.  

  • Can I extend my NTS deadline?

    No, it is your responsibility to schedule exam appointments and test before your NTS expires. 

  • The CPA Exam rules state that “a candidate shall take and pass all four parts of the CPA Exam within a rolling 18 month period.” When does this 18-month period begin?

    The 18-month period begins on the day you sit for and pass your first section of the examination. The actual date of expiration is then "rounded off" to the end of the month. For example, if you sit for (and pass) one part on April 12, 2016, 18 months is up on October 12, 2017, but your credit will expire on October 31, 2017.

    Some candidates taking the new CPA exam have expressed concern about the delayed reporting of results for exams taken April 3 to May 31, 2017. Those results are expected to take up to 10 weeks to be issued. There is no automatic extension of the 18-month window for candidates due to the delayed reporting. However, if a candidate has passed three parts of the exam and is waiting to hear the score for their fourth part, the window will not close until they have received their final score. 

    Beyond that, extension requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Email a written request to cpaes-nj@nasba.org or mail it to:

    New Jersey Coordinator
    CPA Examination Services
    PO Box 198469
    Nashville, TN 37219-8469

    Once NASBA receives a request, they will forward it to the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy. 

After You Pass the Exam

  • How long do I have to meet my educational requirements (the 30 extra credits) after passing the CPA exam?

    Once you pass the CPA Exam, there is no timetable for obtaining the additional educational credits and experience requirements.

See our additional FAQs about becoming a CPA.


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