How Many Times Can You Take The CPA Exam?


Whether you’re an accounting student in college or graduate school or an emerging accountant just starting out, the CPA Exam looms ahead of you if you want to become a Certified Public Accountant and use the coveted CPA designation at the end of your name. But what happens if you fail one or more of the exam sections? How many times can you take the CPA Exam?

Fortunately, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the organization that oversees the development, maintenance, and scoring of the exam and ultimately bestows the CPA designation on you, doesn’t limit the number of times you can take it. You must, however, pass all four sections within an 18-month period from the time you pass your first section.

Four Exam Sections

The CPA Exam’s four sections consist of the following:

1.      Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

2.      Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)

3.      Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

4.      Regulation (REG)

Each section has several content areas and tasks in its various testlets that contain multiple-choice questions (MCQs), task-based simulations (TBSs), or written communication (WCs) exercises. The number of questions and tasks varies from section to section. For instance, the REG section has 76 MCQs and eight TBSs, while BEC has 62 MCQs, four TBSs, and three WCs.

Get Started with a 7-Day Free Trial

Choosing a CPA Review course is a big investment of both time and money. Make sure you choose one that’s right for you. Try our course for free for 7 days, and you’ll experience the UWorld Roger CPA Review difference—where quality is what separates us from the rest.
Learn More

Exam Difficulty

The CPA Exam is an extremely difficult test, not only because of the breadth and depth of knowledge it requires you to demonstrate, but also because you have only four hours in which to complete each section. A minimum score of 75 on each section is required to pass the entire test. Less than half of the CPA candidates taking it to pass all four sections on their first try. 

The 2020 section-by-section first-time pass rates were as follows:

•       AUD – 53%

•       BEC – 66%

•       FAR – 50%

•       REG – 62%

Most CPA candidates make several attempts at passing the CPA exam, and there’s no shame or any other stigma attached to doing so.

Continuous Testing

The computer-based CPA exam, which is offered at Prometric Testing Centers, is offered on a continuous basis. The continuous testing model allows CPA candidates to take the CPA Exam throughout the entire year. The only barrier to taking another section of the CPA Exam would be waiting to receive scores from previous attempts of the same CPA Exam section. 

CPA Exam Review Courses

Most CPA candidates find that taking a CPA review course prior to taking the CPA Exam is the best way to prepare for it. You will be glad to know that UWorld Roger offers CPA Review courses that provide high-energy motivating instruction, research-backed study tools such as Digital Flashcards with Spaced-Repetition Technology, and the accounting profession’s highest pass rate of any CPA Exam Review course. Our courses also include comprehensive practice tests for each of the four exam sections to help you thoroughly and deeply master difficult accounting topics. 


  1. American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  2. National Association of State Boards of Accountancy