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APA Test Information


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What is the American Payroll Association?

The American Payroll Association (APA) is a professional organization dedicated to the education, training, and ongoing development of payroll workers in the United States. American Payroll Association certification tests help ensure that professionals are equipped to handle payroll processing. Certification sends a clear message to employers that a candidate is skilled and qualified for a payroll processing position.

Which American Payroll Association Exam Should I Take?

The APA offers an entry-level certification test for those who are new to the field. This APA exam will challenge you on the fundamentals necessary for professional practice. A little bit of preparation can pay huge dividends thanks to this certification opportunity!

How to register for the APA

You can register for this American Payroll exam on the official APA website. Once there, you can schedule your exam on the APA certification dashboard. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to register, as slots tend to fill up months in advance. Testing windows are available twice a year, between March and April and again between September and October. That gives you plenty of time to prepare!

Register online Register for the APA

How Does APA Scoring Work?

FPC Exam Scoring Work

The FPC American Payroll exam features 150 questions for you to answer over the course of three hours. A minimum score of 80 percent is required to pass.

CPP Exam Scoring Work

The American Payroll Association CPP exam consists of 190 questions for you to answer over the course of four hours. A minimum score of 80 percent is necessary to pass this challenging test.

Thankfully, you won't have to wait long to learn whether you passed an American Payroll exam. Examinees receive their results immediately after taking their tests. While you won't receive specific scores, you will be notified of which sections were most detrimental to your overall performance.



American Payroll Association

Which American Payroll Association Exam Should I Take?

The APA offers an entry-level certification test for those who are new to the field. This APA exam will challenge you on the fundamentals necessary for professional practice. A little bit of preparation can pay huge dividends thanks to this certification opportunity!

What is the American Payroll Association FPC Exam?

The APA offers an entry-level certification test for those who are new to the field. This APA exam will challenge you on the fundamentals necessary for professional practice. A little bit of preparation can pay huge dividends thanks to this certification opportunity!

What is the American Payroll Association CPP Exam?

This APA exam was designed to challenge experienced payroll professionals on their knowledge of industry best practices. Unlike the FPC test, the CPP exam focuses on higher-level skills like management and payroll systems. It's more rigorous and demands serious preparation. Professionals must meet one of two APA test criteria to take the exam: (1) they must have practiced payroll for at least three out of the previous five years, or (2) they must have practiced payroll for the last 24 months and completed specific APA courses. Earn a passing score and you're sure to impress current and future employers alike!




American Payroll Association (APA) Exams

APA Certified Payroll Professional (CPP)

The American Payroll Association Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) exam was developed to measure the knowledge and skills of payroll professionals with at least three years of experience. The exam features 190 multiple-choice questions for examinees to answer over the span of four hours. Content covered by the exam includes core payroll concepts, compliance research and resources, paycheck calculation, and audits and accounting. To earn a passing score of 300 points or more, you’ll want to take as many practice exams leading up to test day as possible.

125 - Multiple Choice
CORE PAYROLL CONCEPTS - 24%
Worker Status
Fair Labor Standards Act
Employment Taxes
Employee Benefits
Employee/Employer Forms
Professional Responsibility
Methods and Timing of Pay
COMPLIANCE/RESEARCH AND RESOURCES - 16%
Escheatment
Legislative and Regulatory Requirements
Reporting
Record Retention
Penalties
Global
Multi-state Taxation / Reporting
CALCULATION OF THE PAYCHEC - 20%
Compensation/Benefits
Fringe Benefits
Involuntary Deductions/Taxes
Voluntary Deductions
Employer Taxes and Contributions
Total Payroll
PAYROLL PROCESS AND SUPPORTING SYSTEMS AND ADMINISTRATION - 12%
Maintain Master File Components
Concepts and Functionalities
Business Continuity Plan
Technology Evaluation
Upgrade/Implementation Knowledge
System Maintenance/Updates
System/Project Implementations
PAYROLL ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT - 10%
Policies and Procedures
Management Skills and Practices
Customer Service and Communication
Staffing, Employee Development, and Core Competencies
AUDITS. - 9%
Internal Controls
Payroll System Controls
Accounting System Controls
Audit Policies and Procedures
Third Party Controls
ACCOUNTING - 9%
Financial Reporting
Accounting Principles
Payroll Journal Entry
Account Reconciliation

240 Minutes
APA Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) (FPC)

Beginning payroll professionals with little to no experience in the field are encouraged to take the American Payroll Association Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) exam to establish a baseline of payroll competency. There are 150 multiple-choice exam questions, which examinees must answer over the course of a three-hour testing period. To earn a passing score, you’ll have to answer at least 80 percent of the questions correctly. Be sure to review core concepts including the paycheck calculation, payroll administration, and auditing to ensure you earn the score you need.

125 - Multiple Choice
Core Payroll Concepts - 29%
Worker Status
Fair Labor Standards Act
Employment Taxes
Employee Benefits
Employee/Employer Forms
Professional Responsibility
Methods and Timing of Pay
Compliance/Research and Resources. - 17%
Escheatment
Legislative and Regulatory Requirements
Reporting
Record Retention
Penalties
Global
Calculation of the Paycheck - 24%
Compensation/Benefits
Fringe Benefits
Involuntary Deductions/Taxes
Voluntary Deductions
Employer Taxes and Contributions
Total Payroll
Payroll Process and Supporting Systems and Administration. - 07%
Maintain Master File Components
Concepts and Functionalities
Business Continuity Plan
Payroll Administration and Management - 07%
Policies and Procedures
Intradepartmental Agreements
Customer Service and Communication
Audits - 08%
Internal Controls
Payroll System Controls
Accounting System Controls
Audit Policies and Procedures
Accounting - 08%
Financial Reporting
Accounting Principles
Payroll Journal Entry
Account Reconciliation

180 Minutes

How to Prepare for the American Payroll Association FPC Exam

There are many American Payroll Association study strategies to employ in the weeks leading up to your test. It's a good idea to kickstart your exam prep efforts with an American Payroll Association practice test. Your score can indicate how well you'd do on the real thing if it were happening today. Detailed answer explanations help you understand why you got a question wrong, allowing you to craft a study guide that's tailored to any content blind spots. Take another practice test before the real test to see how far you've come since you started studying!

Exam Edge® offers five APA FPC practice exams, each with 125 questions and detailed explanations to help you study. The practice tests cover topics ranging from core concepts to payroll processing, compliance, audits, accounting, and more.

How to Prepare for the American Payroll Association CPP Exam

Practice tests have proven to be one of the most effective forms of study. They mimic the exact conditions of exam day, allowing you to practice pacing while you familiarize yourself with the test's content and structure. Exam Edge® offers ten APA CPP practice tests with 125 questions each. You'll receive a detailed score report with guidance on why you missed certain questions, giving you unique insight into the areas where you should focus. If you're eager to earn a passing score on your first attempt on the APA exam, incorporate practice tests into your routine.

Exam Edge® offers APA practice exams for both the FPC and CPP tests. We also have free sample practice tests for new users eager for a leg up on test day. Click here to see why so many Exam Edge® users swear by our resources!



For more APA information, try these pages


How to Prepare for Your APA CPP Exam
How to Prepare for Your APA CPP Exam
If you’re seeking a career in accounting or human resources, chances are good that you’ll need to be well-versed in payroll matters. The American Payroll Association is the nation’s leading authority on payroll services. They have created and continue to administer the CPP certification exam to designate Certified Payroll Professionals. Preparing for your APA CPP exam can be stressful, but you don’t have to worry. Exam Edge can help you get ready with our expertly crafted pack of CPP certification practice exams.
The Benefits of Taking an APA Certification Test | Exam Edge
The Benefits of Taking an APA Certification Test | Exam Edge
Payroll professionals are in higher demand than ever. With hundreds of thousands of jobs created each month, it’s easy to understand why their services are so in need. Given the wide range of career options within the field, payroll professionals have their pick of opportunities. Anyone hoping for long-term job security would do well to pursue a career in this exciting field.