Ethic Exam FAQs

Website Content

www.dca.ca.gov/cba
  • California educational requirements to apply to become a licensed CPA
  • Application materials for candidates who plan to become licensed CPAs in California
  • CPA Licensure Handbook 
www.calcpa.org/peth
  • Policies and procedures for the Professional Ethics for CPA Exam
  • Self-study course in both text and online formats (for purchase)
  • Exam (for purchase)
  • Information on scoring

For more than 20 years, the CalCPA Education Foundation has prepared and graded the Professional Ethics for CPAs exam for all CPA candidates in California. The following questions have been designed to assist candidates in understanding the exam process and format.

Who is required to take the PETH Exam?

Anyone applying for CPA licensure in California for the first time and cancelled California licensees applying for reissuance must pass the Professional Ethics for CPAs (PETH) exam.

What are the education requirements to sit for the PETH Exam?

Candidates do not have to meet specific education requirements in order to sit for the PETH Exam. The PETH Exam is one requirement for CPA Licensure, to view the education requirements for CPA Licensure in California, visit http://www.dca.ca.gov/cba/applicants/tip_sheet.pdf.

Can I take the PETH Exam before I pass the Uniform CPA Exam?

Yes, although most candidates choose to sit for the PETH Exam after completing the Uniform CPA Exam since they must meet all the CPA licensure requirements within two years of passing the PETH Exam.

When is the PETH Exam available?

Unlike the Uniform CPA Exam, the PETH Exam is available year-round.

Is there an application deadline? Where can I find the application?

There is no application deadline for the PETH Exam. Candidates must complete their CPA Licensure application within two years of passing the PETH Exam. Learn more about the overview of the CPA Licensure application process here.

Do I need to apply to the CBA?

You do not need to submit an application to the CBA to sit for the PETH Exam. Following are easy ways to order the PETH Exam.
Online www.calcpa.org/peth
Phone (800) 922-5272
Email calcpa@calcpa.org

What is the cost of the PETH Exam?

Online Format
$150 for Nonmembers
$125 for CalCPA Members

Text Format
$165 for Nonmembers
$130 for Members

CPA Candidates are eligible for one year of free membership in CalCPA. To sign up, visit calcpa.org/join or call (800) 922-5272.

What is the process after I order the PETH Exam?

As part of your order you will receive the self-study course in either an online or text format. For text purchases, candidates should allow 5-7 business days for delivery (rush shipping is available for an additional fee). The online course may be accessed through the candidate’s account on calcpa.org/SelfStudy. The self-study course is approximately 300 pages and provides clear, detailed explanations of the rules that will assist candidates in answering tough-to-call ethical questions.

How long do I have to take the PETH Exam once I’ve ordered it?

You have one year from the date of purchase to take the PETH Exam for the first time.

What is the format of the PETH Exam?

The PETH Exam is made of 50 multiple choice questions.

How long will it take me to study for the PETH Exam?

Candidates should allow for a minimum of 16 hours to thoroughly review the course materials and complete the exam online.

How do I submit my answers to the PETH Exam?

The full instructions will be available in your PETH Exam purchase. You will submit the answers to the 50 multiple choice in the online answer sheet.

Are special accommodations available for candidates with disabilities?

Yes, candidates who require special accommodations should inform the CalCPA Education Foundation at (800) 922-5272 or calcpa@calcpa.org.

What topics are covered during the PETH Exam?
Key topics on the PETH examination include:
  • Ethics in business
  • Basic concepts and philosophy of professional conduct
  • Code of professional conduct
  • Independence, integrity and objectivity
  • Interpretation of Security and Exchange Commission rules
  • Commissions and fees
  • Form of practice and name
  • Advertising and solicitation
  • Sanctions
  • Tax services
  • Accountancy Act and CBA regulations

What areas of study are most important to passing the PETH Exam?

At the end of each chapter in the self-study course, there are several review questions on key points that will prepare candidates for the exam. Candidates should be confident answering these questions correctly before taking the exam.

Are there review courses available to help me pass?

The self-study format is designed to help all candidates successfully pass the PETH Exam.

What is a passing score on the PETH Exam?

A passing score on the PETH Exam is 90% or above (no more than five missed questions).

Is the PETH Exam content confidential?

Yes, candidates are expected to behave in an ethical manner and not disclose PETH Exam information, content or form.

Will I be allowed to go back to test questions during the exam?

Yes, during the exam you can go back to questions until you submit your answer sheet.

When will I receive my score?

You will receive your score via email immediately after you submit your answer sheet.

How is my score transmitted to the CBA?

The CalCPA Education Foundation notifies the California Board of Accountancy on a weekly basis of all successfully completed exams.

If necessary, when may I retake the exam?

You have up to six attempts to pass the PETH Exam, after that you will have to repurchase the self-study course. After the third attempt, you will need to request the course be reactivated by CalCPA Education Foundation Customer Service at (800) 922-5272. You may retake the PETH Exam at any time within one year of your purchase date.

For more information about the Professional Ethics for CPAs exam, contact:

California Board of Accountancy
2000 Evergreen St., Suite 250
Sacramento, CA 95815-3832
www.dba.ca.gov/cba
licensureinfo@cba.ca.gov
CalCPA Education Foundation
1800 Gateway Drive, Suite 200
San Mateo, CA 94404-4072
www.calcpa.org/peth
calcpa@calcpa.org