You spent a good portion of your college days in accounting classes. You’ve spent time working on the front lines of the accounting industry. Now it’s time to take the next step: taking and passing the CPA Exam.

It seems like everybody has war stories about the exam. There’s no denying that it’s a challenge. But don’t let all the stories fool you – this is well within reach. You can do this. And for the sake of your career, you should do this. When you become a CPA, you join an elite class of accounting professionals – one that usually brings lots of benefits for your career and your life.

It will help to have a clear idea of the scope of the exam, from your application to passing the last of its four parts. That’s why we created an interactive timeline. It shows all the major steps between today and the time you’re certified and licensed as a CPA.

In the meantime, here are a few things to know about the CPA Exam...

Who administers and oversees the exam?

The AICPA Board of Examiners (BOE) is responsible for overseeing the exam. Members of the BOE are CPA volunteers from every segment of the profession – public accounting, business and industry, and the academic community, in addition to testing experts. The exam is administered by Prometric, an organization specializing in testing and professional licensure. Prometric has test centers across the U.S. and in Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Who comes up with the exam questions?

The BOE’s Content Committee is responsible for all the technical content included in the exam. The committee is made up solely of CPAs, and is split up by section – each section is developed by a dedicated team. You can learn way more on the topic here.

Who scores the exam? 

The AICPA scores the exam, and it typically takes four to six weeks to receive your scores. Most of the scoring is automated – for the written sections, the BOE relies on a network of CPA readers for scoring. Much more detailed information on scoring is available in our scoring FAQs.

How do state boards fit into the equation?

Passing the test is important. But the state boards are the ones who provide you with your license to practice as a CPA, and different state boards have different requirements for licensing. (NASBA is the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.)

Study up on your state requirements to find out what you need to take the exam and get licensed in your state.