In what order should you take the CPA Exam?

This is an important part of the exam process and should be given significant thought. There’s no set rule for which section you should take first, but it would behoove you to consider certain factors when deciding.


I chose this order when I wrote the exam. I will always recommend doing BEC first because it is the easiest. It is important to grab a win when starting out. Statistically and otherwise, BEC gives you the best chance of doing that.

AUD as #2 gives you a break from math problems. It’s a just as short as BEC. The consensus is that it requires roughly 90 hours of study time. You can snooze your way through because it is mainly theory based.

REG as #3 throws you right back into calculations. It requires around 120 hours of study time. REG is comprised of Taxation and Business Law. Students with a Masters in Taxation like myself should have a good time with REG. If you don’t have a tax background, your review course should also be sufficient to get you that pass mark.

FAR as #4 is particularly shrewd because you’ve built up significant experience and endurance by already having conquered the other 3 parts. It requires the most study time – 150 hours. FAR could easily be a combination of AUD and BEC, so it’s no walk in the park.


This order is similar to the first one. You can interchange REG and AUD with minimal effect. I think you should decide based on how you’re feeling. If you want an easier experience going into FAR, then you could put REG at #2. Then do the mostly theory based AUD to give your brain some rest before facing the FAR Beast.


I struggle to make a case for writing FAR first. In my opinion, the only time this route starts to make sense is on the score release day when you realize you passed, and have 3 relatively easier sections left.

However, if you’re so inclined to do it first, then go for it.

Like with most things in life, you can do whatever you put your mind toward.

I’m rooting for ya! 🙂

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