Section 1 Contracts
Section 2 Federal Securities Acts
Section 3 Secured Transactions
Section 4 Bankruptcy
Section 5 Debtor-Creditor Relationships
Section 6 Agency
Section 7 Regulation of Employment
Section 8 Business Structure
Section 9 Professional and Legal Responsibilities
Section 10 Individual taxation
Section 11 Corporate Taxation
Section 12 Partnership Taxation
Section 13 Transactions in Property
Section 14 Gift and Estate Tax, Trusts And Exempt Organizations, Other Taxation Topics

Course Introduction

Qualifying for IQEX

Click on the link below to access the eligibility criteria that apply to your situation.

NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) has established Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) with the following countries that enable you to qualify for the IQEX:
> CPA Australia
> Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ)
> CPA Canada (CPAC)
> Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA)
> Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI)
> Instituto Mexicano de Contadores Publicos (IMCP)
> Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
> South African Institute of Chartered Accountants

Background to IQEX

The actual (full) Uniform CPA Examination is compiled by AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) and consists of four computer-based exams, each being four hours in duration. The disciplines tested are:

Auditing and Attestation

Business Environment and Concepts

Financial Accounting and Reporting

Regulation (U.S. Law, Taxation & Professional Ethics)

IQEX consists entirely of the 4 -hour Regulation Examination. A new “Blueprint” now replaces the old Course Specification Outline. (CSO). I discuss the Blueprint a bit later on and a copy is included after these introductory notes.

IQEX is now comprised of 2 equal multiple-choice question “testlets” with a total of 76 questions in all and three testlets containing (2+3+3) 8 “task-based simulations”.  These are condensed case studies some of which require that the candidate perform some basic research to either derive the answers and/or support the reasoning behind them.


Of the 76 multiple-choice questions, 12 will not count. They are “pre-test” questions that AICPA will evaluate for future exam suitability. You will not know which questions are “pre-test” so you should treat each question as being important. If a question appears to be strange, you should not panic because there is a good chance that it will not count. In addition, one of the eight simulations is also “pre-test”.


You should budget your time carefully. The multiple-choice component and the simulations each count for 50% of your grade. A passing overall score is 75% or better.


You should allocate about 15 minutes for each simulation and about 1.5 minutes (or a bit less to allow for time to review your answers) for each multiple-choice question.


The examination allows for a 15-minute break between the first and second simulation testlets. There are also two optional breaks, one after the first multiple-choice testlet and one after the second multiple-choice testlet. However, the timer continues to run during these breaks.


You will be asked for a fingerprint to verify your identification prior to and upon returning from any break. The test center staff will confirm you have completed the testlet prior to your break.


When you return from a break, you will be required to enter your Launch Code in order to continue the examination. Note that breaks lasting more than ten minutes may be reported to NASBA. If you leave the testing room at any time, without exiting the testlet and selecting the break option, you will not be allowed to return.


Even if you do not elect to take a break, each testlet must be finalized before moving on to the next. You will be prompted to answer any questions left blank. You MUST answer all questions since no marks are subtracted for wrong answers. 


When you have completed the last testlet and decide to end the examination, you will again be prompted if any answers have been left blank, unless time has expired.


Once you press the “submit” button, the examination ends, but, before you can log out, you may be asked to complete a short survey.  You may type your responses before exiting.  If there are any perceived errors, irregularities or ambiguities in the questions, these should be noted, although the likelihood of problems would be rare.


Regulation covers knowledge of federal taxation, ethics, professional and legal responsibilities, and business law, and the skills needed to apply that knowledge.


The last section of this introduction is entitled The Solutions Approach. It provides a detailed analysis of how to write the actual computer-based exam and will refer you to the AICPA tutorials that illustrate how the various screens work and how to navigate through them.

I strongly recommend that you concentrate initially on learning all of the technical material that you will need to master before you concentrate on the methodology of taking the exam. As qualified professional accountants, you are very likely much more conversant with the use of business-based computer tasks than recent U.S. college graduates who will also be taking the same examination.

About the Author

My Materials and How to Use Them


I have written and passed both IQEX and the Uniform CPA Exam. I have more than twenty years’ experience teaching in IQEX programs. I have therefore designed Regulation notes that summarize those areas most likely to be tested.  At the beginning of each Section, there is an outline of major topic areas. The notes which follow, refer to specific multiple-choice questions that you should review as you read the material to ensure you are comfortable with each topic. At the end of every section, I suggest all the multiple-choice questions you should try during a subsequent review of the material- after you have completed an initial run-through of the entire course.


Many of the multiple-choice exam questions tend to be repeated from year-to-year.  As you know, IQEX/ Regulation is now offered throughout the year in major centers. To discourage cheating, there are several different IQEX exams.  The results are curved in case one paper is more difficult than another.

How to Guide

If you have any issues or questions be sure to checkout the FAQ section or contact

More on Pretest Items


 As I mentioned, pretest items are used to develop future examinations; they are NOT used in computing examination scores. Each testlet, whether it is comprised of multiple-choice questions or task-based simulations, may include pretest items.


The directions at the beginning of the examination state: “Some of the multiple-choice questions and/or task-based simulations you will receive are pretest items. These items do not count toward your final score. You will not know which items are scored and which are pretest questions.”


Each year, I receive a number of complaints about questions that are based on topics not emphasized in the USCPA-NOW notes, but, when the results are released, about 92% of my registrants pass.  Nevertheless, please understand that you may find 10 or 12 questions that come to you from “left field”.  Just do the best you can.  I assure you that these notes cover all the topics on the new Blueprint. In many cases, I try to provide guidance on what should reasonably be considered when trying to establish the relative importance of the specific topics.  Obviously, I have no control over what actually appears on the actual exam(s).


Note that, while the examinations have been “non-disclosed“ for many years, there are only a finite number of ways to test specific issues.

Less is More


There are two schools of thought concerning situations where course notes are prepared for sale.  The first subscribes to the notion that, to justify the cost, students should be “snowed under” with reams of extraneous paper, CDs, and videos, and flash-cards that may well confuse and paralyze the user, who then does not know where to even begin.


The second school of thought believes, as I do, that “less is more”.  The notes you have on your screen have been carefully crafted. They contain exactly what I believe you will need to learn to pass IQEX with flying colours.

Ongoing Support from Me


The objective of the notes is to present all the required material in such a manner that you will understand everything fully by the time you have completed your initial run through. You should also have a clear-cut picture of the amount of study time you will need to successfully confront IQEX.  Towards the conclusion of this introduction, there is an analysis of the IQEX Syllabus and Grading Structure that outlines average study-time requirements.


To ensure your success, your course fee includes reasonable email/telephone support from me.  Please wait until you have completed a full first reading of the notes and have attempted the recommended multiple-choice questions interspersed within each section before establishing contact with me. 

Taking the Examination


Although AICPA sets the IQEX Exam, NASBA is the entity that administers it. You should be aware that NASBA may require a recent passport photograph to be appended to your application form.


Once your application is approved, you will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS). The Notice to Schedule is open for six calendar months.  If you encounter study-time problems, you may consider deferring the scheduling of your exam until the next testing period.


The examination is taken at one of the Prometric Centers which are located in most large U.S. and Canadian cities. Your NTS will include a seven-digit candidate number and a 1-800 number to call in order to schedule a time to take the exam. As an alternative, you can book your time-slot online at

Although the exam itself is 4 hours in duration, you will need to book a 4.5-hour time window.  The additional 30 minutes is the time allowed to enter your examination section identification number (Launch Code), read the introductory screens, and complete the survey at the end of the examination. It is not additional testing time.


I recommend that you write in the morning and leave a whole day free in the unlikely event of a computer glitch.

Although the exam itself is 4 hours in duration, you will need to book a 4.5-hour time window.  The additional 30 minutes is the time allowed to enter your examination section identification number (Launch Code), read the introductory screens, and complete the survey at the end of the examination. It is not additional testing time.


I recommend that you write in the morning and leave a whole day free in the unlikely event of a computer glitch.


If there is no Prometric Center near your residence, take care to arrange your travel so that you are well rested.  Even if the Center is relatively close, pay attention to potential adverse weather or traffic conditions.


When you arrive at the Center, you will be directed to a waiting room.  You will be assigned a small locker for your personal effects. Because of technological advances and general post-9/11 paranoia, they will take your photograph and a fingerprint. When you take a bathroom break, you will again be fingerprinted to ensure that you haven’t arranged to substitute someone else to complete the exam in your stead.


You must have your NTS with you and two forms of ID- one with a picture. A driver’s license and a major credit card will suffice.  The name on the NTS and the ID must correspond exactly.  The NASBA website contains a litany of prohibited items that may not be taken into the exam.  Notable examples include any food or drink, jewellery such as pendant necklaces, large earrings, wallets, purses, and watches.  Most important of all NO WEAPONS ARE ALLOWED!   If you choose to enter the testing area with a jacket or sweater, you must wear it at all times.


You will be asked to sign a non-disclosure form to prevent you from telling anyone about the actual questions.  Note, again, that there are several IQEX exams, presumably comparable in level of difficulty.  Therefore, if you do tell someone the details of a question or two (or vice-versa) the chances are that the other person may not have those same questions on his or her exam.


You will be led to a computer terminal surrounded by room dividers.  Testing rooms are equipped with cameras and microphones.

When your exam is accessed on screen, the title will read “Regulation” not IQEX.  Do not be alarmed; this is NOT a mistake.

After an orientation tutorial, you will be asked to press a key that signals the start of the exam.  You must be careful not to take more than 10 minutes perusing the introductory screens or the examination will automatically terminate.  When you begin the exam, a small box will appear in the corner of your screen with a countdown from 240 minutes.


You will be provided with two double sided, laminated, colored sheets called “noteboards,” as well as a fine point marker for making notations. You will be directed to write your examination Launch Code (from your NTS) on your noteboards. You will be required to return the noteboards to the test center staff when your examination is complete. If you need additional writing space, you may request additional noteboards from the test center staff, but you must first turn in the original noteboards you received in order to get a new supply. You must not bring any paper or pencils to the workstation in the testing room.  An in-system calculator will be provided. A separate calculator will not be provided, and you may not bring a calculator.


As I mentioned, the exam is broken down into two equal multiple-choice “testlets” totalling 76 multiple choice questions. The questions appear one-at-a-time on screen and are all single-subject.   Unfortunately, they are not grouped by subject area.  You answer by positioning the cursor within a small circle next to the desired answer (A, B, C, D) and then clicking the mouse.  This action “fills in” the circle.  Clicking again in the same location “clears” the circle if you change your mind and opt for another choice.  You may NOT access research materials to answer these questions.  If there are any perceived errors, irregularities or ambiguities in the questions, these should be noted, although the likelihood of problems would be rare.

CPA Exam Testing Windows and Score Release Dates

Effective July 1, 2020 the AICPA has eliminated  previous “testing windows and IQEX is now offered  on demand on a continuous basis

Grade release dates  for 2021 can be found online by clicking here »

Joining a State Board- Go to ACCOUNTING EDU.ORG and Search IQEX by State


Once you have been advised that you have passed IQEX, you become eligible to join a State Board.  Most states recognize IQEX with the following exceptions:


Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, and Rhode Island


Unless you have a compelling reason to join a particular Board, I recommend that you consider Illinois or Arizona. Whereas Illinois now requires 120 hours of CPE every three years, there is no reason why courses and seminars attended outside the U.S. should not qualify. Arizona recently came “on board” and appears to provide relatively straight-forward requirements. is an excellent place to start your research.


You should note that, in the United States, one does not have to article with a CPA firm to obtain a CPA designation. Holding a CPA diploma does not necessarily convey the right to sign audit reports.  If you wish to obtain this right, you must join the relevant State Board and ensure that its education and experience requirements are met.


You should also be aware that the Uniform CPA Examination is NO LONGER comprised of entry-level tests.  However, all IQEX questions are single-subject and do not require the skills often needed to pass other professional exams. Canada, for example,  grades its CPA candidates on their skills in identifying, defining and ranking problems in situations where the candidate is not specifically directed.  In other words, it is often necessary to read between the lines and focus on major issues to pass.  The Canadian exams also require candidates to solve problems analytically, exercise professional judgement, evaluate alternatives, and propose solutions.  Communication skills are also graded.


Do not expect to be able to adequately prepare U.S. tax returns after you have mastered this course and have passed IQEX.  I recommend that you take a tax course such as the one offered by THEINCOMETAXSCHOOL.COM to obtain a good working knowledge of personal income tax.  If you would like to prepare corporate or partnership returns, they also offer a program through the above website, but I believe you will need the hands-on experience that one gets in a U.S. CPA firm or the tax department of a large corporation.

The IQEX Syllabus and Grading Structure/ Approximate study-time requirements


Below is a link to  the IQEX Blueprint as prepared by AICPA.  I offer the synopsis below for ease of reference. Obviously, your study time will be dependent on whether you have prior knowledge of Business Law and/or U.S. Federal Taxation.  Assuming you have no prior knowledge about any of the topics, the table below is an estimate of average time requirements after an initial run-through of the material.


Of Exam

Study Hours


Business Law 12% 15
Ethics 13% 10
Federal Taxation 75% 50







The Solutions Approach


The next section of this course contains a link to AICPA tutorials designed to familiarize you with the format of the exam including screen layouts. Candidates are responsible for reviewing the AICPA tutorial and sample tests.  


Before the beginning of any examination session, candidates must attest to the fact that they have had the opportunity to review the tutorial and sample tests, as well as the Candidate Bulletin. This requirement is intended to ensure that, before candidates report to the test centers, they are knowledgeable about the examination process, and thoroughly familiar with examination functionality, format, and directions. Failure to follow the directions provided in the tutorial and sample tests, including the directions on how to respond, WILL adversely affect your score.

Simulation Topics You Can Expect to Encounter on IQEX


Also included in the material pertaining to “The Solutions Approach”  is an outline of those topics I believe are most likely to be tested within simulations. I have extracted the basic information from the Blueprint. The material in these notes includes all the technical information and rules you will need to know to handle these questions-assuming the examiners are reasonable (LOL).

Scoring the Examination


As mentioned, NASBA will  report your score  on a numeric scale of 0-99, with 75 as a passing grade . This scale does NOT represent “percent correct.” A score of 75 reflects examination performance that has been judged to represent the knowledge and skills needed to protect the public interest.

A Final Note

Please try to make a concerted effort to spread your studying over the entire period leading up to the exam.  Do not try to cram everything at the end.  The more questions you review, the higher your grade.

I am confident that you will not fail.


Important Information for 2021 IQEX Candidates


Examination Blueprint

AICPA has made several changes to the Examination Blueprint that will apply  to IQEX/REG effective July 1, 2021. Please refer to the current Blueprint link  that is cited in the Introduction Section of  your materials. The USCPA-NOW  course Blueprint link will be updated at the end of June to reflect these changes.

Fortunately, the changes all pertain to material that will no longer be subject to testing. Even if you are planning to take the exam before July 1st, you might consider decreasing the amount of time you would otherwise spend on these topics.

The area and topic references that follow connect to the current Blueprint.


Area II Business Law Topic D

The Federal Securities Acts of 1933 and 1934 will no longer be tested.


Area III Federal Taxation of  Property Transactions Topic C

Estate Taxation will no longer be tested, although candidates are still responsible for knowing the rules for transfers subject to Gift Taxes.


Area IV Federal Taxation of Individuals Topic H

The Alternative Minimum Tax  rules for individuals will no longer be tested.


Area V Federal Taxation of Entities Topic C (C Corporations)

Candidates will no longer be responsible for:

  1. Analyzing the impact of the charitable contribution and/or dividends received deductions on the net operating loss calculation of a C corporation.
  2. Analyzing the impact of net operating and/or capital losses during tax planning for a C corporation.

(Both of these were previously potential simulation topics.)


Area V  Federal Taxation of Entities  Topic G (Trusts and Estates)

Effective July 1, 2021, candidates will only be responsible for knowing the differences between simple and complex trusts for tax purposes. Questions will no longer be related to the items considered as income and deductions for trusts.  There will also be no questions related to calculating a beneficiary’s share of taxable income from a trust for federal income tax purposes.


Area V Federal Taxation of Entities  Topic H.2 (Tax Exempt Organizations)

Candidates will only be required to recall the different types of tax-exempt organizations and understand the rules for “Unrelated Business Income”.

The topic of  “ Obtaining and maintaining tax-exempt status.” Will no longer be tested.


Other Changes

For now, tax rates in each bracket will remain unchanged, although the following have been indexed for inflation, effective January 1, 2021:

  1. Tax bracket cutoffs
  2. The Standard Deduction
  3. Income levels that entitle taxpayers to pay less than a 20% tax on long-term capital gains
  4. Individual tax credits (e.g. the Earned Income Credit, Credit for Adoption Expenses etc.)
  5. Phase-out amounts for contributions to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

It is likely that the Biden administration will implement a number of  tax changes, although the scope and implementation dates are, of course, unknown.

The US CPA IQEX/REG exam does not generally test tax changes until six months after they become law. It is likely, therefore, that any changes implemented by the Biden administration after June 30,2021 will not be tested before 2022.

The USCPA-NOW materials will be updated before June 30, 2021 to  incorporate all the changes that are potentially examinable this year. Please note that IQEX/REG does not generally test dollar amounts . For example, you would likely have to determine an individual’s tax status (married, head of household etc.) on the exam, but you will not be asked to determine that person’s tax bracket.


2020 Retirement Plan Rules: Not Effective in 2021

Your materials include a summary of the CARES ACT  tax provisions that were  potentially subject to testing  on IQEX/REG effective October 1, 2020.

Please be aware that the  special tax provisions enacted as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, applied only for 2020. In particular, the liberalized rules on certain distributions and loans from retirement plans, and the waiver of required minimum distributions (RMDs) from plans, will not be effective in 2021, unless re-enacted by new legislation. I suggest that, at this point in time,  you consider nothing more than a cursory review of these provisions.