AUD Exam Study Tips

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The Auditing and Attestation (AUD) section of the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam is a four-hour exam that consists of 72 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and 8 task-based simulations (TBSs). The exam scoring for the AUD exam is weighted 50% toward MCQs and 50% toward TBSs.

The AUD exam tests various engagement types like audit, attestation, and accounting and review service engagements, and consists of four content allocation areas. The four content allocation areas for the AUD exam are:

Content Area
Allocation
Area IEthics, Professional Responsibilities, and General Principles15–25%
Area IIAssessing Risk and Developing a PlannedResponse25–35%
Area IIIPerforming Further Procedures andObtaining Evidence30–40%
Area IVForming Conclusions and Reporting10–20%

The AUD Exam can be quite difficult for CPA candidates who have never had previous exposure to auditing.  Many CPA Exam review courses will recommend memorizing the information needed for the AUD Exam, but we warn against that tactic. Why? Because the main issue with the AUD Exam is that it is easy to select the incorrect answer based on the wording of the question alone. For example, every word in the answer choice you select may be correct except one, and that word may be “probable” instead of “possible.”  Such subtle differences will result in the incorrect answer; therefore, you really want to be able to understand the easy topics within the AUD section in order to leverage the more difficult AUD topics. 

There are two topics in particular that can be quick and easy points on the exam if you know the key information related to each section. Those topics are Audit Sampling and the Auditor’s Professional Responsibilities and Ethics.   

Audit Sampling
In Audit Sampling, there are two main subsections. One subsection is Attribute Sampling and the other subsection is Variable Sampling.  Attribute Sampling is completed when testing the controls of the company.  The auditor will use the sample to determine whether or not the deviation rate is in line with the tolerable deviation rate.  

Variable Sampling is completed when testing the details of specific transactions.  With Variable Sampling, you’ll be looking to confirm that dollar amounts are accurate. Both sampling techniques are frequently tested and knowing the basics of each sampling technique is one way to collect easy points on the CPA Exam.

Auditor’s Professional Responsibilities and Ethics 
The Auditor’s Professional Responsibilities and Ethics relate to the various ethical requirements a CPA is subject to, depending on the type of engagement. For example, the auditor has to relieve himself of all conflicts of interest and remain independent during the audit.  Knowing these facts can easily bring you points during exam day.

How to Study for the AUD Exam

  1. Thoroughly read each audit report and opinion letter. Reading and understanding each audit report and opinion letter is crucial to passing the AUD Exam, so do not simply memorize the material or skim through it. 
  2. A large part of the AUD exam covers internal control, so be sure that you have a firm understanding of this topic prior to taking the exam. 
  3. Understand the difference between the correct and incorrect answers when you’re presented with similar answer choices that have subtle differences. 
  4. Partner with a CPA Review course that uses in-depth answer explanations, has engaging lectures, integrates robust tracking and reports into their course materials, and has a comprehensive app that syncs across all devices. 

Most of all, continue studying, reviewing, and working through MCQs and TBSs each and every day, and you will be well prepared for the AUD section of the CPA Exam.

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