CPA Exam Sections: Which Order Should You Take Them In?


The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam is usually considered a highly challenging professional licensing examination to pass in the accounting field. The NASBA works with the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to administer the US CPA exam and offer certification to worthy applicants. The comprehensive CPA exam is divided into four sections. You must pass all four exam sections following effective CPA exam preparation to become eligible for the CPA license.
A common query among US CPA exam takers is, "Which section do I take first?" The best order to take the CPA exam is up to your individual preferences, but we've created a guide to assist you in deciding which order is best for you. 

Overview of Each Section of the CPA Exam

It's crucial to understand the CPA exam syllabus before choosing the sequence in which you will take them and starting the CPA exam preparation. You'll be able to score each segment according to difficulty level if you understand what to anticipate from each exam.
The Uniform CPA Examination, which consists of four sections in total, consists of the following:

Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)

FAR evaluates your knowledge of financial statements, their presentation, and your ability to carry out commercial transactions utilizing GAAP, IFRS, and government accounting systems. It is not the simplest CPA USA course section since you must have a solid understanding of financial accounting and reporting for nonprofit, governmental, and other organizations.
State and local government entities, a conceptual framework, specific financial statement accounts, specific transactions, and financial reporting are all included in the FAR part. A task-based simulation will make up the other half of the test, which will consist of multiple-choice questions, requiring dedicated CPA exam preparation.

Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

AUD assesses your understanding of the full audit process, compilation process, planning and review engagements, and other non-attestation services. The AUD section of the CPA exam syllabus covers forming judgments and reporting, ethics, creating a plan of action, risk assessment, professional obligations, basic concepts, and gathering evidence. 
One-half of the test will consist of multiple-choice questions, while the other half will consist of task-based simulations.

Business Environment & Concepts (BEC)

BEC evaluates your understanding of operations management, corporate governance, information technology, economic ideas, and financial management. The topics covered on the BEC test are corporate governance, financial management, operations management, and information technology. A task-based simulation will make up 35% of the exam, followed by multiple-choice questions on 50% of the test and written communication memoranda on the remaining 15%.

Regulation (REG)

REG, another essential part of the CPA exam syllabus, evaluates your knowledge of three key topics: corporate law, ethics, and federal taxation. Your examination's REG section covers federal taxation, federal tax processes, professional obligations, corporate law, and ethics. The test will consist of half multiple-choice questions and half task-based simulations.

Which part of the US CPA exam is the easiest?

We must always remember that each exam requires extensive understanding, so we must study. However, because of its continuously high success rate, the Business Environment & Concepts (BEC) test is widely regarded as the CPA exam with the lowest difficulty level. BEC has fewer Task-Based Simulations (4 as opposed to 8 in each section) since it covers more general business concepts and accounting and finance fundamentals. 
BEC still demands substantial study because you'll need to possess an in-depth understanding of the following:
  • Business concepts and economic performance
  • Planning and measuring the outcomes of accounting strategies
  • Managing financial conditions
  • Information Technology for Accounting

Sections of the CPA Exam in Order of Difficulty

So, while we know BEC is generally regarded as the CPA's simplest section, where are the other sections of the CPA exam syllabus regarding their degree of difficulty?
The CPA USA course section for Regulation (REG) is the second-easiest after BEC. The pass rate is comparable to BEC. This section is not simple, similar to BEC, although not as difficult as FAR. To assess your understanding of federal taxation, corporate law, ethics, federal tax processes, and professional obligations, the four-hour REG exam consists of 76 multiple-choice questions and eight task-based simulations. As this part of the CPA exam assesses your knowledge of current rules and regulations, using up-to-date study aids and resources is essential for success in REG.
The next CPA course section (in order of difficulty) after REG is Auditing (AUD), which has a cumulative pass rate of 47.87% and is thus more complex than BEC or REG. The AUD part, a four-hour test, has 76 multiple-choice questions and eight task-based simulations. It is more complicated than the first two exams because it emphasizes professional behavior, planning, ethics, preparation, and documentation of audit and attestation services following professional standards. Additionally, more study time is needed because auditing is not a topic covered in depth in most undergraduate accounting courses.
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) comes in last on the difficulty scale for the CPA course sections, with a pass rate of only 44.7% on average in 2021. As there is much to learn and remember regarding financial accounting standards, financial reporting, conceptual frameworks, and transactions, FAR usually demands more study time than the other test areas. The eight task-based simulations, which account for 50% of the final grade, and the additional 66 multiple-choice questions will need you to practice accounting math extensively under time constraints if you want to pass the FAR.

What CPA exam should you take first?

For many applicants, beginning with the CPA exam's simplest section may seem logical. Every candidate's easiest sections are different. Most people agree that starting with the portion you think is the simplest would help you become used to the testing environment and the exam-taking process before moving on to more challenging ones. Keeping your spirits up and gaining momentum may become a lot simpler as a result. Since it won't harm their determination for the remainder of the exam if they don't achieve the score they aim for on the FAR, many individuals start with the simpler section and work up to the toughest one.
Out of every section of the CPA exam syllabus, the Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) section is the most thorough one you will encounter on your path to becoming a CPA. This section covers all the essentials and establishes a strong foundation in accounting concepts and understanding of financial statements. Since the FAR exam is often regarded as the most challenging, partly because of its enormous amount of material, many students decide to take it first to get it out of the way. You may also find some of the material in the FAR section in other parts. 
Many students believe that by passing the most challenging examination first, they will be better able to pass the others. Others just want the FAR over with so they can further complete the simpler examinations.


Q1. What is the best order to take the CPA exam?
Ans. Most candidates generally begin with FAR and conclude with BEC, working their way through the CPA exam in descending difficulty. FAR, which covers the greatest ground of the four examinations, lays a solid basis for the other portions.
Q2. Which CPA section is the easiest?
Ans. The BEC section of the CPA exam syllabus is often regarded as the easiest section. It has the best success rate. The range of AUD and REG is often moderate. 
Q3. How to crack US CPA on the first attempt?
Ans. You will successfully pass the exam if your CPA exam preparation is planned and organized and you properly go through all of the study material without skipping a single segment. Every applicant can become a qualified CPA with effective time management, the correct advice, and a study plan.
Q4. Which should I take first, AUD or BEC?
Ans. According to many CPA Test Prep Providers, the best order to take the CPA exam is to take the BEC first. You may then concentrate on AUD.
Q5. Which CPA section is the hardest?
Ans. Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), one of the four sections, is frequently regarded as the most challenging and has the lowest passing rates. 


One of the most crucial things you can do as you prepare for the US CPA exam is to decide in what sequence you will take the four examinations. Numerous individuals like to begin with the section they believe would be the simplest and work up to the most difficult. Others use the opposing strategy and attempt the most challenging section they may encounter. It could seem challenging to decide the best order to take the CPA, but it ultimately boils down to your skills, limitations, and test-taking preferences.
Northstar Academy is always available to help you with your exam planning and study plan scheduling. No matter what version of the CPA Exam you take, our team of personal counselors is prepared to walk you through the CPA exam preparation process. Our accounting experts are already working diligently to ensure that our resources are ready for your success. India's best mentors, such as M. Irfat Sir, provide students with a complete understanding of the CPA USA certification test and its extensive analysis.  You may contact our professionals if you have any questions about the all-inclusive and well-organized CPA USA Course.
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