Cpa Exam Parts In Order Of Difficulty

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What Order Should I Follow For Taking The Cpa Exam

CPA Exam Sections — Which Section is the Hardest?

Your time to take and pass the CPA Exam is limited. Commonly, CPA candidates want to know what order to take the 4 exam sections in to ensure they can pass in the 18-month rolling period. Truthfully, it depends on you. In other words, do you want to get the more difficult section out of the way? Or, do you want to start with the section that feels a little easier?

Among the 4 CPA Exam sections, FAR is often believed to be the most challenging. This belief is upheld by the fact that the pass rate for FAR is the lowest of them all. Conversely, BEC has the highest pass rate.

That being said, I recommend you think about your existing competency and comfort with the content in each exam part. Then, spend some time developing a CPA study schedule to determine how different scenarios might play out.

What Are The 4 Cpa Exam Sections

The content you?ll need to learn to pass the CPA Exam is divided into four parts: Audit & Attestation, Business Environment & Concepts, Regulation, and Financial Accounting & Reporting.

  • Each part of the CPA Exam is 4 hours long
  • You can schedule and take the parts in any order.
  • You do not have to take all parts on the same day . But you do need to complete them all within 18 months.

How Hard Is The Cia Exam Discovering The Cia Exam Duration

The CIA exam difficulty level is high not only because it contains a large number of questions, but also because it doesnt give you a lot of time to answer these questions. Consequently, the average amount of time you can commit to each question is low. Total testing time for each CIA exam part and the recommended amount of time to spend on each question are as follows:

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How Long Does It Take To Pass The Cpa Exam

While CPA candidates have up to four hours on each individual exam section, all four sections of the CPA Exam must be passed within an 18-month testing window, starting after you pass the first exam section. Fortunately, the exam sections do not have to be taken in order. We suggest that you start your study plan with FAR, then move on to AUD and REG, and finish with BEC. Taking the CPA Exam sections in this order will allow you to build upon the knowledge you have in to apply that cumulative knowledge to each exam section. Learn more about why we suggest taking the exam sections in this order and how you can pass a CPA Exam section in three weeks.

Why Is The Cpa Exam Hard

The Hardest Things About the CPA Exam

To know what makes the CPA Exam so hard, lets take an overview of the exam. The CPA Exam is made up of four different parts: Financial Auditing and Reporting , Auditing and Attestation , Regulation , and Business Environment and Concepts . Each exam section focuses on diverse accounting knowledge and uses question types like simulations and multiple-choice questions to assess your knowledge. Every section has a time limit of four hours, or a total of 16 hours to complete the entire CPA Exam.

To sum up, the CPA Exam is hard, because there is an extensive amount of information covered on the exam and, with most review courses, quite a lot of study time required.

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What Are The Pass Rates For Each Cpa Exam Section

The CPA Exam average national pass rate is around 50%. That means that most candidates do not pass the CPA Exam the first time and must retake at least one section of the exam. The pass rate can be broken down by exam section, showing that FAR receives the lowest scores and BEC receives the highest. The following chart represents cumulative pass rates reported by the AICPA for the first three quarters of 2019.


Find out how difficult each CPA Exam section will be for you by looking over exam guides for FAR, AUD, REG, and BEC.

The Four Cpa Exam Sections: Format Structure And Content

posted on June 1, 2020

There are four parts of the CPA exam, for which youll fill out a CPA application, register for one of the upcoming CPA exam dates, pay the relevant CPA exam costs, and complete separately. You must get a score of 75 on each of the sections to pass so you can become a CPA.

The four parts of the CPA exam are:

  • Auditing and Attestation
  • Business Environment and Concepts
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Even though you take the sections separately, the study plan you follow will include all of the subjects. Youll only want to go for it after studying with review courses, the best CPA review books you can find, and other

    Its best to understand in advance how youre going to approach the test so you get all of the strategy and knowledge you need to pass.

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    Cpa Exam: Which Sections Are The Most Similar

    AUD and FAR may have the most subjects in common. In general, you will find some overlap in concepts on each of the four sections of the CPA exam. However, the answers you provide to various multiple choice questions and task-based simulations will be different, because they are set in the unique context of that test section.

    Cpa Exam Section : Bec

    How Hard Is The CPA Exam? (EXPERT GUIDE)

    The BEC CPA Exam Section tests your competency in performing the following services:

    • Accounting, auditing, and attestation
    • Preparing tax returns

    This section assesses your understanding of the general business environment and your duties and responsibilities towards it. Also, it ensures you possess effective communication skills to discharge your duty as a CPA.

    This is the only section with an extra segment of written communication tasks. Please note that the BEC examBEC ExamThe BEC CPA Exam exam section evaluates your understanding of the general business environment and your duties and responsibilities as a CPA towards it. It assesses your ability to recognize and scrutinize situations related to Financial reporting, Financial statement audit and attestation and Tax preparationread more result can be delayed by a week or so beyond the target release date. This is due to the extra analysis required in evaluating WCTs.

    Content Allocation

    The BEC section includes five content areas. The following table lists these areas along with the percentage of the content tested from each one of them.

    Content Area

    Pass Rate

    The section had reported a significant growth from 56% in 2015 to 66% in 2020. The performance of this section over the years has been incredible. This section is considered to be the easiest of the lot. This reflects in its pass rates.

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    Four Parts Of The Cpa Exam

    The CPA exam is a uniform test.

    Each of the four sections is broken down into smaller testlets. For AUD, FAR and REG, you will answer multiple choice questions and task-based simulations. In BEC, you will have both of these, plus three written communication tasks.

    There are four hours of testing time per section, with an extra 30 minutes allocated for the welcome, a confidentiality section, a break partway through, and a post-exam survey. There are three other times in which you can take optional breaks while the test timer still runs.

    There are three skills that are represented by all of the questions and scenarios. This is essentially what you are being tested on and how it contributes to your final score:

    • Level 1: remembering and understanding, for 15-25%
    • Level 2: application, for 50-60%
    • Level 3: analysis, for 20-30%

    Knowing this will help you prioritize your study and understand what to emphasize.

    How hard is the CPA exam, really? To be frank, its quite difficult., really? To be frank, its quite difficult. Rigorous study is needed.

    As you follow a CPA exam review study program or self-study, you will want to practice the tests. While they are uniform, there are unique elements to each section that you will have to work on.

    Read on to get insight into what each of the four parts of the CPA exam will be like.

    How To Study For The Cpa Exam

    The CPA exam evaluates an accountant’s understanding of the complex issues their clients face. A CPA must have a grasp of not only the issues at hand, but potential solutions and the right problem-solving tools. Success on the exam is not about memorization, but about deploying an applicable skill set for the situation this is what demonstrates your ability to protect the public interest in your work. Therefore, your preparation should focus on ideas and appropriate skills, not simple regurgitation of facts.

    Review materials can come in the form of traditional classes, online courses, reading, podcasts, audio books, or interactive online experiences. Candidates may elect self-paced study, attend traditional classroom lectures in a face-to-face environment or combine methods to fit their lifestyles. Many successful CPAs recommend studying in small impromptu chunks, such as during commutes or solo lunch hours the more portable study solutions lend themselves well to this kind of preparation.

    How Do I Choose the Best Study Materials for Me?

    Because the selection may be overwhelming, it may help to consider how you learn most effectively and then seek out the tools that are most likely to work.

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    What Are The Pass Rates For The Cpa Exam

    Historically, the average CPA exam pass rates for each section have been around 50 percent. According to the AICPA, at least half of the candidates who take the exam each quarter fail their exam part.

    That can sound very discouraging, but dont give up! Getting an excellent review course like Becker CPA gives you a much higher chance of passing.

    Which Cpa Exam To Take First

    How to Create a CPA Exam Study Plan

    Here is our recommendation. The Financial Accounting and Reporting section covers the largest amount of ground, content-wise. FARs textbook has 10 units, versus six units for the exams other sections, notes Angie Brown, CPA, CGMA, and senior director of product management at Becker.

    Thats one of the reasons why Brown advises accounting students to strongly consider taking FAR first. Starting with the biggest one first, when youre fresh , is often a good choice, Brown says.

    Furthermore, FARs material is considered foundational to material on other examsparticularly the Auditing and Attestation exam. Knowing FAR really helps people do better on the audit exam, she adds.

    Unlike the AUD exam, which is set to see several new standards become testable in 2022, the FAR exam has no major changes coming down the pipeline. For exam-takers, that consistency can be all the more reason to get FAR out of the way first, Brown says.

    Why might some students opt not to start with FAR when deciding which CPA exam to take first? For one thing, FAR has the lowest pass rate of the four CPA Exam sectionsfor the first quarter of 2020, about 46% of CPA candidates passed the FAR section. That compares with nearly 48% who passed AUD, approximately 55% who passed REG and about 62% who passed BEC during that time period.

    Where to go after youve gone FAR: The best order for taking the rest of the CPA Exam
    Timing the CPA Exam: What matters most

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    What Steps Can You Take To Alleviate The Cia Exam Difficulty

    You can prepare for the CIA exam by taking several different steps. First, you can discover the CIA exam pass rate. Then, you can learn more about the CIA exam format. And dont forget to consider your exam prep options to find the best CIA review course for you. And, use a CIA review discount so you can save on your perfect course.

    Finally, you can learn how to pass the CIA exam on your first attempt in my free CIA course. Sign up below!

    Conversely, if the CPA Exam doesnt sound so bad, you can learn more about how the CIA certification compares to the CPA so you can know which may be better for your career. You can also learn how to pass the CPA Exam with CPA review courses and CPA review course discounts.

    Or, if you decide that getting both the CIA and the CPA credentials is best for your career, there is another option. Passing the IIA CIA Challenge Exam offers an expedited path to becoming a CIA. Basically, if you already hold certain accounting credentials like the CPA, the IIA lets you pass the Challenge Exam instead of taking the normal path to become a CIA.

    The exam is tough, however. Still, you can study with a course like the Gleim CIA Challenge Exam Review System or even use the HOCK CIA Challenge Exam Material and get the tools you need to pass. Therefore, passing the IIA Challenge Exam after you earn your CPA could help you gain both qualifications faster.

    Audit Cpa Exam Content

    There are four content areas you will need to know for AUD. Each of these broad areas includes more specific information. It will be important to practice applying information, as that is the primary purpose of this section of the CPA exam.

    Area 1: Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and General Principles

  • Nature and scope
  • There are five testlets in AUD. These will include:

  • Testlet 1: 36 multiple choice questions
  • Testlet 2: 36 multiple choice questions
  • Testlet 3: two task-based simulations
  • Testlet 4: three task-based simulations
  • Testlet 5: three task-based simulations
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    What Are The Pass Rates For Each Section Of The Cpa Exam

    Now lets discuss whats top of mind for all CPA Exam candidatespassing it. About half of the individuals who take the CPA Exam dont pass on their first attempt. According to the AICPA, the national average pass rate is 45-55%.

    Cumulative pass rates reported by the AICPA for the calendar year 2021 show that FAR had the lowest pass rate at 44.54% and BEC had the highest pass rate at 61.94%.

    CPA Exam Pass Rates

    Exam Section

    BEC and AUD are generally regarded as the easier sections of the exam, says Smith. FAR and REG are very difficult. They require a lot of memorization and cover so much information. People usually take these two sections first during their 18-month window in case they have to retake them. And its important to remember that its not uncommon for people to need to retake themjust look at the pass rates.

    Easiest Part Of The Cpa Exam

    How To Pass The CPA Exam: Proven and Practical Method

    On the other hand, not all sections of the CPA exam are going to be quite as rigorous. Most people report that the easiest part of the CPA exam is BEC. Business Environment and Concepts covers topics that are a lot more accessible than the minutiae of reporting and government operations.

    BEC is also the only section of the CPA that has a written task. This provides some relief from the demanding multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations. For some types of learners, it could play to their strengths and improve their chances of passing.

    BECs relative ease is evidenced by its far higher passing rate. In 2019, nearly 60% of test-takers passed this section of the CPA exam.

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    Your First Cpa Exam Part Should Be Your Easiest

    Taking the CPA part that is easiest for you first makes way more sense. It will give you a better shot at passing it and if it does elapse because of the 18-month testing window, it wont be that hard to complete again. Thus, you should sit for the CPA part that comes most natural to you or that you have the most experience with.

    For CPA candidates, this could be your last course in college if you just graduated, or your current line of work. For example, any business majors may want to take the Business Environment and Concepts section first. Alternatively, individuals currently working as auditors will want to try their hand at the Auditing and Attestation section . Whatever topic you feel most comfortable with, that should be your first section.

    Cfa Or Cpa: Which Is Better

    When deciding whether to go for CPA or CFA, the first and foremost consideration is the relevance to your career. Other than that, CPA has more restrictive education and experience requirements, but once you get qualified, the process is much faster. CFA has a lower entry barrier, but it takes much longer to complete.

    Of course, it also depends on your career goals and personal interests. If you earn the CPA, finance will make up far less of your workload. Similarly, CFAs will do less accounting work. However, thats not to say you cant be a CFA accountant or a finance CPA. If you have the time and the motivation, you can certainly pursue both.

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    Am I Required To Be A Us Resident To Sit For The Cpa Exam

    No. The accounting profession is becoming increasingly global in nature, and the AICPA recognizes that accountants from outside the U.S. may find it professionally advantageous to hold licensure in the states. These individuals have two options: off-site locations for the CPA exam, or an alternative exam geared toward practicing accountants in foreign countries.

    Non-U.S. accountants may sit for the entire exam in some overseas locations. NASBA has partnered with Prometric to establish testing sites in Japan, Brazil, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. Registration logistics are similar to those experienced by stateside CPAs: applicants must examine potential jurisdictions’ eligibility requirements and choose one. Even though the physical testing site is outside of the U.S., all applicants must identify a jurisdiction that will grant CPA credentials after exam completion.

    All U.S. jurisdictions participate in international CPA exam testing except:

    NTS accommodations are for those taking the test in the U.S. and its territories. International locations might not be able to provide accommodations. International surcharges are nonrefundable if you switch from an international testing location to a domestic one.

    The following countries have mutual recognition agreements that allow accountants to sit for the IQEX:

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