Fundamental Payroll Certification Practice Test

Prepare for your test with realistic questions.

The American Payroll Association (APA) administers the Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) exam as a credential to certify the competence and integrity of entry-level payroll practitioners.

Click “Start Test” above to take a free Fundamental Payroll Certification practice test!

Fundamental Payroll Certification Exam Eligibility

There are no official eligibility requirements for this exam! Anyone who wishes to demonstrate basic payroll competency may take the exam at any time.

Fundamental Payroll Certification Exam Outline

The FPC exam contains 150 multiple-choice questions, 25 of which are unscored, and you will be given a 3-hour time limit. The unscored “pretest” questions are scattered throughout the exam and are used by the test administrators to validate them for future versions of the exam.

The exam is split into seven sections:

I. Core Payroll Concepts (29%)

The questions in this section cover the following topics:

  • Worker status
  • Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Employment taxes
  • Employee benefits
  • Employee/Employer forms
  • Professional responsibility
  • Methods and timing of pay

II. Compliance/Research and Resources (17%)

The questions in this section cover the following topics:

  • Escheatment
  • Legislative and regulatory requirements
  • Reporting
  • Record retention
  • Penalties
  • Global

III. Calculation of the Paycheck (24%)

The questions in this section cover the following topics:

  • Compensation/Benefits
  • Fringe benefits
  • Involuntary deductions/taxes
  • Voluntary deductions
  • Employer taxes and contributions
  • Total payroll

IV. Payroll Process and Supporting Systems and Administration (7%)

The questions in this section cover the following topics:

  • Maintaining master file components
  • Concepts and functionalities
  • Business continuity plan

V. Payroll Administration and Management (7%)

The questions in this section cover the following topics:

  • Policies and procedures
  • Intradepartmental agreements
  • Customer service and communication

VI. Audits (8%)

The questions in this section cover the following topics:

  • Internal controls
  • Payroll system controls
  • Accounting system controls
  • Audit policies and procedures

VII. Accounting (8%)

The questions in this section cover the following topics:

  • Financial reporting
  • Accounting principles
  • Payroll journal entry
  • Account reconciliation

exam outline for the Fundamental Payroll Certification exam, which contains 150 multiple-choice questions and has a time limit of 3 hours

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Fundamental Payroll Certification Registration

To register for the FPC exam, you must first submit an application to the APA online (preferred), via email, via fax, or via US mail.

Once your application has been approved, you will receive a confirmation email and will have one year to schedule and take the exam. During this process, you will need to pay the examination fee, which is $320 for APA members and $395 for non-members.

Online FPC Prep Course

If you want to be fully prepared, Mometrix offers an online FPC Prep Course. The course is designed to provide you with any and every resource you might want while studying. The FPC Course includes:

  • Review Lessons Covering Every Topic
  • 450 FPC Practice Questions
  • More than 350 Digital Flashcards
  • Money-back Guarantee
  • Free Mobile Access
  • and More!

The FPC Prep Course is designed to help any learner get everything they need to prepare for their FPC exam. Click below to check it out!

20% off coupon for the FPC online course.

Test Day

The day of your exam will look a little different depending on which method of testing you chose during registration.

In-person Testing

You should arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes before the scheduled appointment time to allow enough time for the check-in process. Once you arrive, you will be asked to show two forms of valid identification, one of which must be a government-issued photo ID. If either form of ID is found to be invalid, you will not be able to take the exam.

Once your identification has been verified, your digital signature, palm vein scan, and photograph will be taken.

All personal items and study materials must be left outside of the testing area. The only personal item you will be allowed to take with you to the testing area is a calculator, which can be provided for you upon request if you do not have your own.

Before the exam begins, you will be given a practice exam to ensure you are familiar with the exam format and the computer system used for the exam. The real exam will begin once the tutorial is complete.

Remote Testing

Before the day of the exam, you should run the system test provided by Pearson VUE to ensure that your computer setup is compatible and suitable for testing.

On exam day, you should log in to your APA account 30 minutes before your exam is scheduled to begin. A greeter will ask you to provide two forms of valid identification, one of which must be a government-issued photo ID, and you will need to use your webcam to scan your testing area.

Once you are ready, the proctor will instruct you on how to proceed.

How the Exam is Scored

The scores for the Fundamental Payroll Certification exam are determined by using the Bookmark standard-setting method, which takes the difficulty levels of each question into account and the fact that each administration of the CPP exam is slightly different.

Your raw score (the number of questions you answered correctly) is converted to a scaled score. You must achieve a scaled score of at least 300 to pass.

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Is the FPC exam hard?


The FPC exam is not considered to be particularly difficult, especially if an appropriate amount of studying is done in advance.


How many questions are on the FPC exam?


There are 150 multiple-choice questions on the exam.


How long is the FPC exam?


The time limit for this exam is 3 hours.


What is the passing score for the FPC exam?


To pass the exam, you must achieve a scaled score of at least 300.


How much does the FPC exam cost?


The examination fee is $320 for APA members and $395 for non-members.

By Peter Rench

Peter Rench joined Mometrix in 2009 and serves as Vice President of Product Development, responsible for overseeing all new product development and quality improvements. Mr. Rench, a National Merit Scholar, graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in mathematics from Texas A&M University.


by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: June 28, 2024