All About the 4.5th Section of the CPA Exam: Ethics!

We covered Ethics before but since this is the last in our daily columns this week on the CPA exam, it’s a good way to wrap things up. Once again, if you are looking for CPA exam tips, tricks, hints or just have an idea for a topic you’d like to see addressed here, get in touch with us.

Last time we talked about the ethics exam, we suggested the following:


Speak to your state society of CPAs to find out if they offer some kind of ethics exam support. Helplines exist but you’ll never find them if you don’t look.

Because the ethics exam is open book, not timed, and allows potty breaks (unlike, say, FAR), take your time and don’t rush through it. You have more than 1.5 minutes to read through and answer the questions, take advantage of this fact.

If all else fails, try to find a lifeline. The CalCPA Education Foundation gives you a “lifeline” if you have unsuccessfully attempted their ethics exam three times.

A few more things to keep in mind:

If possible, choose the Online version of exam materials in searchable PDF form so you can search for keywords that will answer the questions. It beats flipping through a book and is often cheaper than the book version of the exam anyway.

Don’t take the ethics exam too early or you may have to take it again. If you decide to take the ethics exam before you have completed all four parts of the CPA exam, be sure you know how long your score is good for (probably a year max). You don’t want to have to take it twice so wait until you are at least 3/4 of the way through the exam or completely finished to tackle ethics.

Though review courses don’t have coursework on ethics, there are tons of resources available that consist of tips from others who have taken and passed the ethics exam. Start with the CPAnet forums, plenty of candidates and would-be CPAs have shared their experiences and many are happy to help if you have specific questions about how they did it.

Hope that helps and thanks for joining us for this week of CPA exam goodness!

We covered Ethics before but since this is the last in our daily columns this week on the CPA exam, it’s a good way to wrap things up. Once again, if you are looking for CPA exam tips, tricks, hints or just have an idea for a topic you’d like to see addressed here, get in touch with us.

Last time we talked about the ethics exam, we suggested the following:


Speak to your state society of CPAs to find out if they offer some kind of ethics exam support. Helplines exist but you’ll never find them if you don’t look.

Because the ethics exam is open book, not timed, and allows potty breaks (unlike, say, FAR), take your time and don’t rush through it. You have more than 1.5 minutes to read through and answer the questions, take advantage of this fact.

If all else fails, try to find a lifeline. The CalCPA Education Foundation gives you a “lifeline” if you have unsuccessfully attempted their ethics exam three times.

A few more things to keep in mind:

If possible, choose the Online version of exam materials in searchable PDF form so you can search for keywords that will answer the questions. It beats flipping through a book and is often cheaper than the book version of the exam anyway.

Don’t take the ethics exam too early or you may have to take it again. If you decide to take the ethics exam before you have completed all four parts of the CPA exam, be sure you know how long your score is good for (probably a year max). You don’t want to have to take it twice so wait until you are at least 3/4 of the way through the exam or completely finished to tackle ethics.

Though review courses don’t have coursework on ethics, there are tons of resources available that consist of tips from others who have taken and passed the ethics exam. Start with the CPAnet forums, plenty of candidates and would-be CPAs have shared their experiences and many are happy to help if you have specific questions about how they did it.

Hope that helps and thanks for joining us for this week of CPA exam goodness!

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