2018 Uniform CPA Exams Blue Print

Uniform  CPA  Examination  Blueprints  –  Effective  1st  January  2018

The  Uniform  CPA Examination of the  USA is one of the very few exams that changes its structure and curriculum on a regular basis.  This is done to keep the same abreast with the dynamic environment and also ensure that the feedback from various segments of the society, that includes the students, educationalists and others,  is appropriately incorporated to make the examination more meaningful in terms of its content, structure and relevance.   This article tries to have an overview of the blueprint of the exams effective  1st  January  2018.


Testing within each Section (Subject) is administered in blocks called Testlets.  Testlets contain operational and pretest questions.  Operational questions are evaluated while pretest questions are not.  Pretest questions are indistinguishable from Operational questions.  Pretest questions that meet certain criteria are used as Operational questions on future exams.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) vary in difficulty and are generally labelled as “medium” and “difficult”.  Every candidate receives a medium testlet first.  The succeeding testlet can be either medium or difficult depending on a candidate’s performance.   It is pertinent to note that the scoring procedures take the difficulty of all questions into account to ensure fair scoring regardless of the difficulty of the testlets a candidate takes.

Task-based Simulations (TBS) are case studies that allow candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and skills by generating responses to questions rather than simply selecting the right answer.  TBS questions typically require candidates to use spreadsheets and/or research authoritative literature provided in the examination.

In addition, BEC section contains 3 Written Communication Tasks (WCT) which requires the candidate to write a short passage, letter or memo.

Exam Pattern –  Duration  and  Section  Details

The following table gives an idea of the Examination pattern including the duration for each Section along with the number of questions in each question type.   There  may  be  some  questions  which  are  tested  purely  from

Section Exam Duration No. of Questions
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) Task Based Simulation (TBSs) Written Communication
Auditing & Attn. (AUD) 4 hrs 72 8
Bus. Env. & Concepts (BEC) 4 hrs 62 4 3
Fin. Acctg. & Rep. (FAR) 4 hrs 66 8
Regulation (REG) 4 hrs 76 8

Scores Weightage – Typewise  and section wise

The table below presents the scoring weight for each type of questions for each section of the exam.

Papers Scores Weightage
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) Task Based Simulation (TBSs) Written Communication
Auditing & Attn. (AUD) 50% 50%
Bus. Env. & Concepts (BEC) 50% 35% 15%
Fin. Acctg. & Rep. (FAR) 50% 50%
Regulation (REG) 50% 50%

Skill Levels expected of a Candidate

The  AICPA has adopted a skill framework for the exam based on the revised  Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational  Objectives.   Approximately  600 representative tasks that are important for  a newly licensed CPAs role in protecting the public interest have been identified and expectations on various skill levels tabled asunder.

Skill Level Description of the Skill Level
Evaluation The examination or assessment of problems, and use of judgement to draw conclusions.
Analysis The examination or study of the interrelationships of separate areas in order to identify causes and find evidence to support inferences.
Application The use or demonstration of Knowledge, Concepts or Techniques
Remembering and Understanding The perception and comprehension of the significance of an area utilizing knowledge gained.

Based on the above skill levels expected of a candidate, the following table illustrates the skill levels to be assessed on each section of the exam.


Skill Levels Assessed

Remember & Understand




Auditing & Attn. (AUD)

30% – 40%

30% – 40%

15% – 25%

5% – 15%

Bus. Env. & Concepts (BEC)

15% – 25%

50% – 60% 20% – 30%

Fin. Acctg. & Rep. (FAR)

10% – 20% 50% – 60% 25% – 35%

Regulation (REG)

25% – 35% 35% – 45% 25% – 35%

The  purpose  of  this  blueprint  primarily  is  to  :

  • Document the minimum level of knowledge and skills necessary.
  • Assist the  candidates  in  preparation  for  the  exam  by  outlining  the  knowledge  and  skills  that  may  be  tested  in  the
  • Apprise educators  about the knowledge  and  skills  candidates  will need to  function  as  freshly  licensed