Accurate quantification of nucleic acids by competitive (RT)-PCR requires a valid internal standard, a reference for data normalization and an adequate mathematical model for data analysis. We report here an effective procedure for the generation of homologous RNA internal standards and a strategy for synthesizing and using a reference target RNA in quantification of absolute amounts of nucleic acids. Further, a new mathematical model describing the general kinetic features of competitive PCR was developed. The model extends the validity of quantitative competitive (RT)-PCR beyond the exponential phase. The new method eliminates the errors arising from different amplification efficiencies of the co-amplified sequences and from heteroduplex formation in the system. The high accuracy (relative error <2%) is comparable to the recently developed real time detection 5'-nuclease PCR. Also, corresponding computer software has been devised for practical data analysis.