Accountancy Qualifying Exam

The Accountancy Qualifying Exam (AQE) is for accountancy majors who have a grade lower than a B in ACCY 206 and ACCY 207 and/or do not meet the cumulative GPA requirement. The earliest time students may take the AQE is at the end of the semester in which a student completes the College of Business foundation requirements.. All students must register for the exam through Testing Services.

Register for the Accountancy Qualifying Exam.

Test Dates

Test Date and Time Registration Deadline Test Location
Dec. 16 , 2019 at 9 a.m. Dec. 13, 2019 Adams Hall, room 128
Jan. 6, 2020 at 9 a.m Jan. 3, 2020 Adams Hall, room 128

Exam Details

The Accountancy Qualifying Exam (AQE) is a comprehensive, multiple-choice test of information covered in most introductory financial and managerial accounting textbooks. The 30 financial and 30 managerial questions are divided between computation and theory questions. Students who do not have a B or higher in ACCY 206 and ACCY 207 and/or do not meet the cumulative GPA requirement* must pass the AQE to be retained as accountancy majors at NIU.

Exam Policies

  • You should take the AQE after you complete the COB core requirements. If you pass the AQE but do not meet the COB core requirements, your scores will not be considered valid, and you will have to repeat the AQE.
  • You will have 130 minutes to answer all of the questions.
  • You must score 42 out of 60 (70 percent) to pass.
  • You may retake the AQE one time only.

What to Bring to the Exam

  • A photo ID.
  • A basic function, non-programmable calculator.

Grading and Results

The AQE is machine graded. We do not look at the answers written in your test booklet. Allow enough time to transfer answers written in your test booklet to your scantron form. AQE results will be emailed to your NIU student email account within five business days.

Retention Requirements

Any student admitted to NIU can declare the accountancy major. However, all students must meet the College of Business and Department of Accountancy retention requirements before enrolling in upper-level courses. In order to enroll in any 300- or 400-level accountancy courses, you must meet criteria option 1 OR option 2.

Topics Covered

The following topics may be tested on the AQE:

Financial Topics:
  • Financial Statements: Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Statement of Cash Flows, Statement of Retained Earnings.
  • Financial Statement Qualities: GAAP Principles and Assumptions.
  • Accounting Information Systems.
  • Accrual Accounting Concepts.
  • Merchandising Operations.
  • Accounting for Assets: Cash, Receivables, Inventory, and Long-Lived Assets.
  • Accounting for Liabilities: Current Liabilities and Bonds.
  • Accounting for Equity: Common Stock, Preferred Stock, Retained Earnings, Treasury Stock, and Dividends.
Managerial Topics:
  • Cost Terms and Concepts.
  • Job Order and Process Costing.
  • Standard Cost and Variance Analysis.
  • Budgeting (Including Flexible Budgeting, Cash, and Capital Budgeting).
  • Traditional Income Statement vs. Contribution Margin Income Statement.
  • Relevant Costs for Decisions.
  • Cost Behavior and Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis (Break-Even Analysis).
  • Performance Evaluation (ROI and Residual Income).
  • TimeValue of Money and NPV.
  • ABC Cost Methods.
  • Managerial Accounting Characteristics and the Work of Managers

Study Strategy and Resources

Approach the AQE as you would a comprehensive final exam. Use your financial and managerial textbooks and course notes as your primary studying resource. Study and review the topics listed above, making sure that you understand the concepts and know how to apply them. The following resources may also prove useful:

  • The student companion site for Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making, 8th edition by Kimmel, Weygandt, and Kieso.
    • Select a chapter to access self-tests and other materials.
  • The online learning center for Introduction to Managerial Accounting, 7th edition by Brewer, Garrison, and Noreen.
    • On the left side of the page, select “student edition.” Then, select a specific chapter from the blue content area to access chapter content, practice quizzes, and more.
  • Financial topics: Scorebuilder by Baldwin (Available only from the Village Commons Bookstore in DeKalb)
  • Managerial topics: Quizmaster by Hrubec and Keys (Available only from the Village Commons Bookstore in DeKalb)
  • Accounting Coach is a free website designed to help students learn basic accounting topics.

Sample Questions

Account Analysis Question for Financial Accounting

The payment of accounts payable results in a(n):

  • a) decrease in liabilities and a decrease in assets
  • b) decrease in liabilities and an increase in assets
  • c) increase in liabilities and a decrease in owners’ equity
  • d) decrease in liabilities and an increase in owners’ equity
Theory Question for Managerial Accounting

For control purposes, the direct material price variance should be determined at the time:

  • a) of purchase
  • b) of issuance of materials into production
  • c) the production is completed
  • d) the finished product is sold