Lee Business School | Accounting

Competency Exam


  1. All students must pass a Competency Exam prior to enrolling in ACC 400. The exam must be passed within seven months prior to the beginning of the class. The Competency Exam will cover basic knowledge that the student is expected to retain from ACC 201. A Practice Exam is available for practice. If a student does not pass the exam, she or he may retake the exam. (See FAQ below for more information).
  2. To enroll in ACC 400 a student must have a B- or better in ACC 201 and ACC 202, be admitted to a major and have successfully completed the competency exam.
  3. Permission to enroll in ACC 400 will be administered by the Department of Accounting.
  4. The competency exam is only a prerequisite to enroll in ACC 400, NOT ACC 405 or ACC410. To enroll in 405 or 410 a student would just need B- grades or better in ACC 201 and ACC 202.


The competency exam will be given several times during the year.  The exam has 10-15 multiple choice questions and one accounting cycle problem. You are allowed three hours to take the exam. You must arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the exam start time to check in for the exam. Please bring a photo ID to the exam check-in. Scantrons will be provided.  The only external calculator that will be allowed is the Sharp ELSI MATE EL-233S Calculator.  If needed, calculators will be provided.  

The upcoming exam dates are as follows:

  • October 17, 2014 (Friday) 10:00a.m.-1:00p.m.
  • November 21, 2014 (Friday) 10:00a.m.-1:00p.m.
  • January 13, 2015 (Tuesday) 10:00a.m.-1:00p.m.

To register online for the competency exam, please click here. You may only register for one exam date. If you register for more than one exam date you will be assigned to an exam date. If you need to repeat an exam you may register for another exam AFTER you are notified of your grade.

If you register for an exam and DO NOT attend the exam sitting and DO NOT cancel at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled exam you may not be allowed to take the exam the next time it is offered.


To prepare for the competency exam it is recommended you take the Practice Exam provided here. You may take the practice exam as many times as you wish. The topics covered on this practice exam reflect the topics that will be covered on the actual competency exam.


If you have questions after reading the entire list of FAQs, please contact the Department of Accounting (unlvaccounting@unlv.edu).

What is the purpose of having an accounting Competency Exam?

A student's performance in ACC 400 (The Accounting Environment) is often a key indicator of the student's aptitude for success in the accounting profession. In addition, this course is the first upper-division accounting course in the major and sets a tone for each student's path to graduation. Unfortunately, many students fail to do well in the course and are either forced to repeat it or continue to struggle through the remaining courses and, subsequently, in the job market. The Competency Exam provides a way for students to demonstrate their understanding of the prerequisite knowledge necessary to succeed in the upper-division accounting courses. The goal is to make sure students are prepared to succeed.

When can I sit for the Competency Exam?

You may sit for the competency exam when you feel that you are prepared to pass the exam. Note that you must pass the exam within SEVEN MONTHS prior to the beginning of your ACC 400 class.

Once I pass the exam, what do I need to do?

The Department of Accounting maintains a list of people who have passed the Competency Exam. Those who pass the exam and meet the additional requirements will be eligible to enroll in ACC 400. When all requirements have been met, you will receive an email from the department notifying you that you have been given permission to enroll.

Is passing the Competency Exam alone enough to register for ACC 400?

No. In order to register for ACC 400, you must:

1. Have earned a B- or better in both ACC 201 and ACC 202.

2. Be admitted to a business major.

3. Have successfully completed the Competency Exam.

How long before taking ACC 400 should I take the exam?

You must pass the Competency Exam within seven months prior to the beginning of your ACC 400 class. If you do not successfully complete the class, you may have to re-take the Competency Exam to meet that criterion.

What can I do to prepare for the exam?

The exam consists of 10-15 multiple choice questions (covering prerequisite accounting knowledge included ACC 201) and one accounting cycle problem. If you have mastered the material presented in ACC 201, you should feel confident about your ability to pass the Competency Exam. We recommend that you complete the Practice Exam and review your ACC 201 textbooks and notes. If you are uncertain about your mastery of the prerequisite topics, you may want to consider re-taking ACC 201. Taking some time now to prepare is an investment in your future academic and professional careers.

Can I get a waiver of the exam?

We do not offer waivers or exemptions from the Competency Exam. If you performed very well in ACC 201 and understand the prerequisite material, you should feel confident in your ability to pass the Competency Exam.

How often is the exam offered?

The Department of Accounting will offer the Competency Exam several times each year, including at least twice in the Fall semester, twice in the Spring semester and at least once during the summer. The testing dates can be found above.

How much does the exam cost?

The Competency Exam is offered free of charge to those who plan to enroll in ACC 400 at UNLV.

Does the exam change each time?

The questions on the exam will differ each time, but the subject matter remains the same.

How long is the exam? How long do I have to complete it?

The exam will consist of 10-15 multiple choice questions and one accounting cycle problem. You are permitted up to three hours to complete the exam.

What do I need to bring to the exam?

You must have a valid photo ID (driver's license, passport, student ID, military ID).  Scantrons will be provided.  The only external calculator that will be allowed is the Sharp ELSI MATE EL-233S Calculator.  If needed, calculators will be provided.  You may not use anything else (e.g., cell phones, notes, textbooks) for the exam.

How is the exam graded?

Because the accounting program is competitive in nature, grades are curved relative to other students' performances, and the lowest passing score permitting a student to enter ACC 400 may vary based on available space in the program.

How many times can I take the Competency Exam?

Currently, there is no limit to the number of times you may attempt the Competency Exam. If you do not pass the first time, we encourage you to prepare and try again.

If I do not pass the exam, are there any upper-division accounting classes that I may take?

Yes, if you have earned a minimum of B- in ACC 201 and ACC 202, you may enroll in ACC 405 and/or ACC 410 without passing the exam.

Can I share information about the exam or ask others about its content?

If you want to know what material is most likely to appear on the Competency Exam, please review the Practice Exam. It is a violation of the Department of Accounting Academic Integrity Policy to seek or share specific information about the exam format or content.

What if I am registered with the DRC for special testing accommodations?

Students who require special accommodations must provide DRC documentation to the Department of Accounting (BEH 415) at least two weeks prior to the exam date.

© 2014 University of Nevada, Las Vegas Website Feedback