Ethics Exam

CPA Ethics Exam: zzzzzzzz…


Today I summoned every ounce of personal drive and motivation and cracked open my Ethics CD-ROM from the AICPA and I immediately hit a roadblock.

How exactly does one get the stupid course code to work?

The paper answer sheet that comes with it gives the url to register and get your answer sheet online. Easy enough. The paper also says “You will be asked to provide the unique serial number printed on page 1 of your answer sheet.” OK. Looking…looking. There isn't a course code on the paper. I could confidently sign off on that fact.

As it turns out, the course code is on the back of the CD case. Who knew? Certainly not the paper or the website that kept showing red error letters as I tried in vain to enter anything even resembling a course code on my sheet.

I finally successfully entered my course code – a feat possibly greater than passing the CPA Exam itself – and I was on my way.

You don't really hear too much about the ethics exam when you're studying. It's this dark mystery that only reveals itself after you've gone through the pledging phase of the AICPA Fraternity and the Ethics Exam is the final ceremony where people dressed in robes chant unintelligibly and if you score a 90 or better, a big bright door opens to a land flowing with membership dues and CPE requirements.

Here is what I can tell you about the ethics exam so far fifteen questions into it:

-It's 75 MCQs with options A-D, with a 5th option of “E” that is blank. E has been tempting more than once.

-The questions will seem like a regurgitation of stuff you studied for REG

-The program is viewed through a flash application and you have to wade through the index and table of contents to find what you need to answer the question. Occasionally, you can open a .PDF and Control-F to find your search terms and find your answer

-The questions skip around by topic, so there's a lot of back and forth between areas as you try to hunt for answers

-It's slightly more entertaining than getting a tooth drilled

Thanks for reading.





37 comments on “CPA Ethics Exam: zzzzzzzz…”

  • I am taking an ethic’s class and it is stressing me out to the max along with criminal law, constitutional law, and community policing. . .Someone please email me a good way to study for tests and remember everything!!!!

  • I got the Ethic material from AICPA, this is required part of my CPA, I don’t know how this exam work, i got the MCQ and other material…..
    Is it that i read the give the material and answer the given MCQ in the CD and then i post the answer in the website…???

    Please help!

  • I just ordered the CD-ROM version of the course. I have not received it yet so it my question might be answered when I get it, but – Once I receive the CD, is there an actual exam included that is graded online? Or do I go to a link and take the exam online? I think I can take the general AICPA exam for Delaware. Do you know?

  • Hi Rasheddd:

    I think Jeff said that he found his serial number to register (or the course code if we are talking about the same thing) on the back of his CD case.


  • I can’t seem to find the serial number to register. Could someone please help me find this?? Thanks!

  • Freedom92: Are u from CA? I just ordered my ethics exam earlier this week from Yes, it’s 50 MCQ. Not looking fwd to work on it when it arrives. You have a yr to finish the exam, and the results are good for 2 yrs b4 you apply for the license.

  • Hi Jeff,

    I am preparing my ethics exam now. How come that I have 50 MCQ instead of 40 MCQ? I just purchased my book a couple of days ago.

    Do I need to read the entire book first or just go ahead take the exam. Which way is the most efficient?

    I am a little bit confused about online ethics exam: So when you complete the exam and click submit, it will show the exam results right away. If not pass, I have two more time try. What is the timeframe allowed for me to start my 2nd try??? Can they allow me to do more researches before I start my 2nd try???

    Thank you very much for your advice!!!

  • I haven?t heard about the ethics exam in NY. How can I find out if NY requires the ethics exam?

    Lisa – I would contact your state board directly or check out their website…I bet they have some licensing info on there. It might be quicker to call.

  • I hate the ethics exam! It?s really a homework assignment that you get three tries for before you need to pay again. And they don?t tell you which ones you got wrong, only the chapters to look at again. But it lists just about every chapter for me, so that is no help at all! Any advice?

    Kim – I ran into this on my ethics exam…I literally went back through every question and double-checked every answer and left nothing to chance…I evidently adjusted something correctly because I went from an 89 to 92. That’s the only thing you can do…go back through it question by question.

  • I haven’t heard about the ethics exam in NY. How can I find out if NY requires the ethics exam?

  • I hate the ethics exam! It’s really a homework assignment that you get three tries for before you need to pay again. And they don’t tell you which ones you got wrong, only the chapters to look at again. But it lists just about every chapter for me, so that is no help at all! Any advice?

  • Hi, I have taken the CA ethic exams, but I missed 21 questions on it, could anyone help me find the wrong answers? I would really appreciated it!

  • Tony – I would fast track your certificate process by going to your state BOA’s website and printing out the forms and sending them in. I passed my final section in October…got the results in November…got my congrats packet in mid-January.

  • Hi Jeff – I received my final passing score on March 24, but have not received anything from the state board of accountancy. Does it usually take quite a while to hear anything back from the state?

  • Yep – if your state uses the AICPA ethics course – you can order it and take it before you get your results. When you submit your paperwork for your certificate, there will be a place for you to state when you passed the ethics requirement.

  • I’m waiting for my final score. Can I take the Ethics exam before I know if I even passed the actual exam? I want to just get it overwith because I have some free time at work this week.

  • I’m not sure exactly when my fiance ordered his book, but it has 75 questions. Can he get a new book? Or will he have to complete the 75 question version instead of the 40 question version (which is the one I got… haha)?

  • Sounds like you bought the right thing. You will still have to submit your answers online (I think).

    Yes – they took ethics in 2009…they had 40 MCQs vs my 75 in 2008. bah!

  • I order a Professional Ethics book from AICPA website.It attaches 40-mutilpl choice questions in the final pages of the book. Does it mean I will get 40 questions on real exam which are exactly same as the MCs in the ethics book? Also, Did you co-workers bought their ethics course and took ethcis exams in 2009? I am going to take the ethics exam tomorrow. I have no idea about it. Could give me some ideas about the ethics exam? Thanks!!

  • Good news…the AICPA ethics exam is now only 40 questions. While I had 75 questions in November 2008, two of my co-workers bought their ethics course and it only has 40 questions (same state).

  • What is this about 75 questions? My exam only has 40 questions for the AICPA ethics exam, purchased from AICPA website on 02/18/09. Anyone with the same issue?

  • I have my course courde but cannot find the serial number for the AICPA ethics exam. Someone help me out please.

  • Do you think the text would be easier to navigate than the CD ROM? And do you know if you chose the text, do you still get the option of taking the test online?

  • I read/skimmed as I searched for questions…I would start on questions one and just work through the material instead of reading it and then answering questions…it will take a lot less time.

  • Saw it…thanks. Now, how difficult of a test is it? I just want some idea as to how much I time I’ll need to prepare.

  • Hey bubz…click the link in “The Money Pit” post a post or so back…that’s what I bought.

    Good luck

  • Buy a test? Wait… do I buy a test? I went to the AICPA site and saw a Professional Ethics course book. Do I buy that and wait for the book and instructions? I tried calling AICPA but after wiggling through their maze of prompts they still pushed me to a voice mail. Do I just need to buy this AICPA Ethics course book? Thanks a lot Another71!


  • OK- thanks for insight, Jeff, appreciated. I am planning on taking it between 12th and 15th of Jan, hopefully-

  • You have to go back through and figure out which of the 75 questions you’ve answered are wrong…fix them and re-submit…you only get 3 tries…not sure what happens after that…you have to buy a new test or something

  • And if you don’t pass it; then will you still have the same questions, or all to gather different questions the next time you attempt.

  • Nah…the ethics exam has nothing to do with the 18 month window. Each state board may have a req about how long you must pass it after passing the exam. It’s a state issue…some states don’t require it….it has nothing to do with NASBA or the AICPA.

    You take the exam online and it’s open book…you can save your progress and come back later. Once you hit “Submit” it grades your score right there and you know if you’re done or not. If you pass, you file for a certificate/license and click the box on the app that says that you passed the ethics exam on XX date….you’re done.

  • Must the Ethics exam be passed within the 18 month window? Do you take the Ethics exam at a Prometric testing center?

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