Ethic Exam FAQs
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 https://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.
What is the cost of the PETH Exam?
Online Format $175 members/nonmembers
Hard Copy Text Format $195 members/nonmembers
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 My Activities. 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 firstname.lastname@example.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
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, several review questions on key points will prepare candidates for the exam. Candidates should be confident in answering these questions correctly before taking the exam.
Are there review courses available to help me pass?
Yes, the Professional Ethics for CPAs Exam Preparation Course is available to all members for no cost and nonmembers for $50. The goal of this course is to help you prepare to pass the Professional Ethics Exam (PETH). It does this by reviewing the content and sample questions from prior PETH exams that may be expected to be prominently included in future exams. This course is on demand video only with no written materials. All examples are within the on demand video.
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. 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:
CalCPA Education Foundation
500 Capitol Mall, Suite 2350 | Sacramento, CA 95814