CPA Exam Information

The information provided here is intended to inform candidates about the application process, administration, and general format and structure of the uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam.


Because state regulations vary, CPA exam candidates are encouraged to apply to sit for the exam in the state in which they plan to practice. The CPA exam format, content and licensure process does change periodically. Accordingly, candidates should review the information posted on the websites listed.

The Missouri State Board of Accountancy has engaged CPA Examination Services (CPAES), a division of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), for application processing, credential evaluation, and grade reporting.

Since 1917, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has written and graded the CPA exam. Individual states are responsible for establishing the educational requirements to sit for the exam.

1.) What are the eligibility requirements to sit for the CPA exam in Missouri?

2.) When is the CPA exam offered? When are the testing windows?

3.) Are candidates able to apply to sit for the CPA exam prior to completing their coursework?

4.) Do candidates need to apply to the Missouri State Board of Accountancy to sit for the CPA exam?

5.) What is the application process for Missouri CPA exam candidates?

6.) What should a candidate do if he or she moves to another state before the exam is completed?

7.) What is the general structure of the CPA exam? How much time is allocated per section?

8.) Are there opportunities to familiarize oneself with the format of the CPA exam?

9.) What areas of study are most important to pass the CPA exam?

10.) Are there review courses available to help candidates prepare for the CPA exam?

11.) Will the exam content continue to be confidential?

12.) May candidates select the order in which the four CPA exam sections are taken?

13.) Is there a time limit within which candidates must successfully complete all four sections of the CPA exam?

14.) Must a candidate sit for all four CPA exam sections within a single testing window?

15.) What are a few factors to take in consideration, for finishing the exam sections in a timely manner?

16.) If a candidate is approved to take and pay for multiple CPA exam sections at once, must the candidate sit for all sections within a single testing window?

17.) How many times may a candidate sit for an exam section?

18.) How much do Missouri candidates pay to sit for the CPA exam?

19.) What is the ethics exam, and do I need to take it?

20.) As a Missouri candidate, must candidates sit for the CPA exam at a Prometric test site located in Missouri?

21.) Are there any particular dates when the scheduling at Prometric test centers is more difficult?

22.) What are the Prometric test center hours?

23.) What rules must candidates follow at the Prometric test center?

24.) Are special accommodations available for candidates with learning and/or physical disabilities?

25.) Will candidates receive a numeric score for each CPA exam section?

26.) If necessary, when may candidates retake a CPA exam section?

27.) When all four parts of the CPA Exam are passed, do the scores ever expire?

1.) What are the eligibility requirements to sit for the CPA exam in Missouri?

An applicant must:

  • Be of good moral character;
  • Be a resident in Missouri, be regularly employed in Missouri, or have a place of business in Missouri; and
  • Have 150 semester hours of general college education to include a baccalaureate degree or higher; 33 semester hours in accounting (at least one course in auditing and at least 18 semester hours of the accounting courses must be upper division accounting); and 27 semester hours in general business courses. 

To learn more, click here and review the "Eligibility for Examination" section. Applicants may also want to consider an optional pre-evaluation service that is available through the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) to help identify academic deficiencies before submitting an application.

2.) When is the CPA exam offered? When are the testing windows?

Candidates may sit for one or all sections of the CPA exam during any of the following four windows:

  • January 1 - March 10
  • April 1 - May 31
  • July 1 - September 10
  • October 1 - December 10

No testing dates are available the full month of June or at the end of each calendar quarter, to allow maintenance of data.

3.) Are candidates able to apply to sit for the CPA exam prior to completing their coursework?

Applicants who are currently enrolled in college may be permitted to take the exam as long as all courses and graduation requirements are completed no later than 60 days following the actual date the candidate took their first test section(s). These candidates must submit a completed Certificate of Enrollment form and an official transcript.

4.) Do candidates need to apply to the Missouri State Board of Accountancy to sit for the CPA exam?

Candidates should apply to sit for the exam in the state in which they plan to practice and become licensed. The requirements differ from state to state. Candidates who plan to practice and be certified or licensed in Missouri need to apply to the CPA Examination Services (CPAES), a division of NASBA, which is responsible for application processing, credential evaluation, and grade reporting. You may call CPA Examination Services at (800) CPA-EXAM or visit them at www.nasba.org.

Candidates are advised to read NASBA's "Candidate Bulletin" before submitting their application, which can be found on NASBA's website.

Generally, if a candidate wishes to become licensed in another state, the candidate must have fulfilled that state's educational requirements as of the date they sat for the first exam section. If an individual is licensed in another state and wants to obtain a reciprocal CPA certificate/license, they should contact that state's board of accountancy.

5.) What is the application process for Missouri CPA exam candidates?

The application process for the CPA exam in Missouri is an online process; click here to navigate to the online application.

At the time the candidate applies for the exam, they will be required to pay the fee by credit card. (This fee covers the costs of computer test time, digital photo taken at the test center, scoring, etc. To learn more about fees, click here.) The full fee must be paid for all sections authorized regardless of when the candidate intends to take each part in the six-month time period.

A candidate submits an application and fee to CPAES to be authorized to take one to four different sections of the CPA exam. (See Question #18 for discussion of the number of sections to include in the application.)

The CPAES, on behalf of the Missouri State Board of Accountancy, issues an approval letter to the candidate. An Authorization to Test (ATT) is sent to NASBA, which maintains a database of CPA candidates called the National Candidate Database. The ATT will be valid for 90 days. Once the ATT is issued, CPAES issues a Notice to Schedule (NTS) to the candidate and also informs the Missouri State Board of Accountancy.

The candidate is instructed to contact a Prometric testing center to schedule a day and time for testing. The candidate must schedule and take those sections that were authorized within six months of the NTS issue date. Each authorized section can be scheduled individually within the six-month time period.

The candidate will take the authorized section(s) at a Prometric testing center. (See Questions #21-25 for additional information.) Candidate CPA exam responses are sent daily from Prometric to the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The AICPA does not release scores to the Board immediately after a testing event. Scores are released in two waves, one in the middle of the second month of testing, and the second release in the middle of the month after the close of the window.

Scores are processed through the National Candidate Database, and are posted online through the NASBA website and also mailed to the candidate. The Missouri State Board of Accountancy receives the scores as they are mailed to the candidate.

6.) What should a candidate do if he or she moves to another state before the exam is completed?

Contact the exam service for address changes. Candidates can still sit as a Missouri candidate (in any state) and once the exam is completed, the Missouri State Board of Accountancy can transfer the information as needed.

7.) What is the general structure of the CPA exam? How much time is allocated per section?

The CPA exam is comprised of multiple-choice and simulation testlets. A simulation is a case study that tests candidates' knowledge and skills using real-life, work-related situations.

Auditing and Attestation (AUDIT) - 4 hours 
Two thirty-six multiple choice question testlets (50% of score) 
Eight task-based simulations (50% of score)
No written communication tasks

Business Environment & Concepts (BEC) - 4 hours 
Two thirty-one multiple choice question testlets (50% of score) 
Four task-based simulations (35% of score)
Three written communication tasks (15% of score)

Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR) - 4 hours
Two thirty-three multiple choice question testlets (50% of score)
Eight task-based simulations (50% of score)
No written communication tasks

Regulation (REG) - 4 hours
Two thirty-three multiple choice question testlets (50% of score)
Eight task-based simulations (50% of score)
No written communication tasks

The AICPA provides CPA exam content details, referred to as "Content Specification Outlines" (CSOs) on its website at www.cpa-exam.org. The CSOs contain a listing of general topics, the approximate weights of testable topics for each exam section, and reference sources for candidates. Candidates are also required to demonstrate research and communication skills by completing simulations.

Candidates should consult the AICPA website at www.cpa-exam.org for new information as it becomes available because the CPA exam format changes periodically. It is important to consult the AICPA website frequently for new tutorials and sample tests.

8.) Are there opportunities to familiarize oneself with the format of the CPA exam?

The AICPA's tutorial and sample CPA exams provide candidates with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the question formats used in each of the CPA exam sections. Candidates can also familiarize themselves with how the exam software functions. These resources may be found at www.cpa-exam.org.

Thorough familiarity with the examination's functionality, format, and directions is necessary before candidates report to test centers. Failure to follow the directions provided in the tutorial and sample tests, including the directions on how to respond, may adversely affect candidate scores.

9.) What areas of study are most important to pass the CPA exam?

  • Click here to review current Content and Skill Specification Outlines (CSOs/SSOs).
  • For more information on the test structure specifically, please take a moment to review this guide.

10.) Are there review courses available to help candidates prepare for the CPA exam?

Yes, there are a number of CPA review courses available, and you can find information about some of the review options here. The MOCPA has partnered certain CPA exam review providers to give members access to discounts on review programs; click here to learn more.

11.) Will the exam content continue to be confidential?

Yes, the CPA examination will continue to be a non-disclosed exam. Candidates are required to agree to a statement of confidentiality prohibiting the disclosure of any examination information, content, or format.

12.) May candidates select the order in which the four CPA exam sections are taken?

Yes, candidates are free to sit for the four exam sections in any desired order. There is no recommended sequence.

13.) Is there a time limit within which candidates must successfully complete all four sections of the CPA exam?

Yes, once a candidate passes his or her first exam section, an 18-month rolling time period begins. This means that all remaining CPA exam sections must be successfully completed within 18 months from the date the candidate sat for the first successfully completed section.

14.) Must a candidate sit for all four CPA exam sections within a single testing window?

No, a candidate may schedule between one to four different exam sections in each testing window. A candidate can only schedule the section(s) approved in each application. (See Question #5 regarding the application process.)

15.) What are a few factors to take in consideration, for finishing the exam sections in a timely manner?

Candidates are encouraged to carefully plan the timing of their test-taking. Accordingly, before completing their application to the Missouri Board of Accountancy, candidates should anticipate when they plan to take each section of the exam.

Candidates apply to sit for one to four different CPA exam sections on the application form. Even though the application fees are lower when applying for four sections at once, this may not be the best strategy for most candidates. Candidates must remember that the NTS is effective for only six months. Thus, candidates who apply for multiple sections must schedule and take them within six months. If a candidate's NTS expires, the candidate must then reapply and pay all the related fees again in order to be able to schedule.

On the other hand, candidates who plan to take only one exam section in each testing window will use up approximately 12 months of their 18-month rolling time period; that would leave only approximately six months for retaking any section(s) not passed.

For these reasons, whenever possible, candidates are encouraged to sit for all four exam sections within two consecutive testing windows to allow adequate time for retake(s), if needed.

16.) If a candidate is approved to take and pay for multiple CPA exam sections at once, must the candidate sit for all sections within a single testing window?

No, candidates are not required to sit for all sections within one testing window. Missouri candidates should be aware that each approval letter issued by CPAES is valid for only 90 days, and the NTS is valid for only six months. Therefore, a Missouri candidate who applies for and pays for multiple sections at one time must take all those sections within six months.

17.) How many times may a candidate sit for an exam section?

There is no limit on the number of times a candidate may retake a failed exam section administered in different testing windows. However, candidates who do not successfully complete all four exam sections within the 18-month rolling time period described above will be required to retake the earliest section passed until all four parts are passed within a given 18-month period.

18.) How much do Missouri candidates pay to sit for the CPA exam?

To learn more about fees for the CPA exam, please click here.

19.) What is the ethics exam, and do I need to take it?

The ethics exam is an open-book, multiple-choice exam written and graded by the AICPA. All CPA candidates are required to take this examination before applying for licensure.  You can order, take, and submit answers for the ethics exam at any time during the licensure process. To learn more about the ethics exam, click here.

20.) As a Missouri candidate, must candidates sit for the CPA exam at a Prometric test site located in Missouri?

No. More than 300 Prometric test centers throughout the United States are authorized to offer the CPA exam. To date, Missouri has three approved CPA exam Prometric centers. Visit www.prometric.com/CPA for a complete list of test centers.

21.) Are there any particular dates when the scheduling at Prometric test centers is more difficult?

Yes, candidates tend to prefer the latter part of the second month of each testing window. Those dates are booked more quickly than others. It is recommended that you schedule 45 or more days in advance to have the best chance of your preferred date, time and location.

22.) What are the Prometric test center hours?

Hours of operation will vary among Prometric test centers. Some Prometric test centers offer evening and weekend hours. Please consult www.Prometric.com/CPA for the test center hours and days of operation.

23.) What rules must candidates follow at the Prometric test center?

Candidates are not permitted to bring any outside materials into the examination room. Personal items such as purses and coats are stored in a locker outside of the examination room.

The test center will provide scratch paper for use during the examination. Hand-held calculators are not permitted, as an on-screen calculator may be accessed during the examination.

Food and drink are not permitted. Candidates cannot wear watches, but a timer displaying exam time remaining is displayed on each candidate's monitor during the entire exam.

A digital photo and scanned fingerprint of each candidate is taken prior to the candidate being allowed to enter the examination room. Candidates may exit the room during the examination only upon completion of an exam testlet. Candidates are not permitted to exit the room for any reason while working within a testlet. While a candidate is on break outside of the examination room, the exam time continues to run. While in the examination room, candidates are monitored via closed-circuit cameras and viewing windows.

Visit www.prometric.com for a complete list of current test center rules. 

24.) Are special accommodations available for candidates with learning and/or physical disabilities?

Candidates requiring special accommodations should notify CPAES when applying. Professional documentation of the existence of a disability will be required to be submitted, along with the original Missouri exam application materials.

25.) Will candidates receive a numeric score for each CPA exam section?

Yes, Missouri candidates will receive a numeric score for each exam section ranging from zero to 99. (computed based on scaled scores achieved on the MCQ, TS and written sections). A score of 75 or higher indicates successful completion of that exam section. In addition to the score, for sections failed, candidates will receive exam performance information.

26.) If necessary, when may candidates retake a CPA exam section?

Candidates who do not pass an exam section within a testing window may not retake that section until the next available testing window. The application form for Authorization to Retest and related fee information are available on NASBA's website.

Processing times can only be estimated. Re-examination candidates reapplying in Missouri should allow approximately two weeks. Actual processing time for re-examination applications can be much shorter.

27.) When all four parts of the CPA exam are passed, do the scores ever expire?

No. Once you have passed all four parts of the CPA exam, in the same 18-month window, your scores will not expire.

In Missouri, all specific CPA exam questions should be directed to:

CPA Examination Services - MO
P.O. Box 198469
Nashville, TN 37219-8469
(800) CPA-EXAM
CPAes-mo@NASBA.org 
http://nasba.org/exams/cpaexam/missouri/

This information was compiled as a resource for CPA candidates, but please check with the Missouri State Board of Accountancy to obtain the latest candidate information or to confirm specific requirements.

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