CPA Exam

From FAR Away: Which Section You Should Take First

Posted by Jeff Badu on January 19, 2018 9:42:00 AM CST

cpa.pngThe CPA Exam is without question one of the most difficult exams on the planet. It takes proper planning and preparation to get through this daunting exam. The purpose of this article is to provide you with some tips and tricks on which section you should take first.

How FAR Are You?

FAR is by far the most difficult section of the CPA exam as it has a very substantial amount of material that you must remember. I recommend starting with FAR because it helps set the tone for the rest of the exam. Since it’s the most difficult, starting with it when you’re fresh and have all the energy in the world will put you at better odds of passing it. The CPA Exam can be very draining, so you want to put most of your energy towards the most difficult section first and the least amount of energy towards the “easiest” section last. Please note that there is no such thing as an easy section of the CPA exam, which is where a lot of people go wrong. By taking FAR first, you will build up stamina and confidence and get the most difficult exam out of the way first. You’re that much closer to passing the CPA Exam after getting rid of the beast we all know as FAR! Another71, a popular CPA prep resource site, has helpful forums for asking questions and checking in with peers as well as Ninja CPA review packages for extra help.

Audit Ready?

The next section to take after FAR is AUD. Since FAR focuses on financial accounting, auditing goes hand in hand with this section. The concepts are very similar as it relates to accounting. In other words, if you knock FAR out the ball park, the concepts should be very fresh in your mind. The next step, of course, is to learn how to audit financial statements. Although auditing financial statements can seem like a daunting task if you’re not an auditor, the concepts here are straight-forward. You put yourself in a much better position once you understand the financial statements themselves. AUD is a “short and sweet” exam to take after FAR and once AUD is out of the way, you’re that much closer to attaining those three fancy letters.  For extra AUD exam tips visit IPasstheCPAexam.

The Tax Man

Depending on your specific accounting area of focus, REG may be the scariest part of the CPA Exam. Unfortunately, the U.S. tax code is very complicated and makes up most of the REG section. This is the area that I tutor most students in since I’m a tax professional. I recommend taking REG after AUD because for one, FAR and AUD are closely related to each other. It’s an opportunity to start fresh on a new topic that doesn’t have much to do with FAR and AUD, although you need to understand the differences between financial income and taxable income in general. Heavy attention needs to be given in this area and I would recommend taking a mini break in between AUD and this section. If you don’t feel capable of passing this section on your own, then please hire a tutor! Once REG is long-gone, you’re that much closer to the finish line!

The Infamous BEC

Shockingly, BEC is probably the most confusing and vague exam there is. So why take this one last? Because the concepts are fairly easy and studying for this exam is pretty straightforward. BEC focuses on low-hanging fruit concepts such as corporate governance and economics. These concepts tend to be easier to understand than the more complex concepts such as alternative minimum tax and governmental accounting. Although these tend to be easier, the AICPA somehow found a way to make this the trickiest section of them all. Regardless, this tends to be the section with the highest score so after a few knockout rounds with the exam, this should be the one you save for last.

Passing the CPA Exam is certainly not easy. You must develop a game plan and a big part of that plan is the order of examination. If you follow this format, you should be in pretty good shape. Best of luck studying!

About the Author

Jeff Badu is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the state of Illinois. He is the Owner & Practitioner of Badu Tax Services, LLC and his firm specializes in tax preparation, tax planning, and tax representation for individuals and businesses. He truly has a passion for helping people save money and his firm’s mission is to help you maximize your financial security. Check out his website here! For more information on CPA tutoring, click here