The U.S. CPA Exam is considered by many to be the gold standard of accounting credentialing exams. Thousands take this challenging exam every year, but not everyone passes it on the first try. There are four sections of the CPA Exam:
Each tests the examinee on a different aspect of the accounting profession, from management accounting to auditing and business valuations. In this article we’ll take a closer look at the Auditing and Attestation (AUD) section.
The AUD section includes knowledge of ethics and independence, auditing procedures and standards, and the skills needed to apply that knowledge. Like other sections of the CPA Exam, the AUD section consists of three “testlets” of multiple choice questions. Each testlet consists of 30 multiple choice questions. The testlets get harder or easier based on how well you answered the previous testlet. There is also one testlet containing 7 task-based simulation questions.
The AUD section, however, is often considered the hardest section of the CPA Exam. This is mainly because you’re not picking the correct answer in the multiple choice section, but rather the best answer. All of the answers you’re presented with may be correct. But only one is the best answer. For many, this makes the choice between answers a difficult one. You have four hours to complete the AUD section of the exam, so take your time to find the best answer, but also be mindful of the clock.
The AUD section isn’t testing you on memorized knowledge, like other sections, but requires you to apply that knowledge to solve problems. Therefore you need to not only study the concepts but learn how to apply them. Take as many sample exams as you can and try applying the concepts to different scenarios.
Finally, when you’re tackling the task-based simulations, keep the research tab for the end. Most research tab sections are only worth three or four points and can be quite complicated to answer. Instead of spending a lot of time on this tab, paste some relevant answers and move on to the next section. If you have time, come back and try to get as many points as you can.
As with any section of the CPA Exam, preparing through proper study, getting a good night’s rest and eating breakfast can help you be more comfortable and alert during the exam. The CPA Exam is a hurdle to your future profession and should be prepared for wholly.