One of the most popular questions we hear from CPA candidates is, “which CPA exam section should I take first?” That’s a great question. If you don’t already know what the four parts of the CPA exam are, you should read my post about the sections of the CPA exam; it will give you more information about each all four sections. Noho izany, this post will make a little more sense and help you decide which to choose.
That being said, picking the right CPA exam part to take first is a big decision. It could also mean the difference between passing the exam on time or having to pass parts multiple times. Let’s talk about some of the popular theories out there then I will give you my opinion.
Take the Hardest Section of the CPA Exam First
You’ve probably heard this from your professors, co-workers, or even your CPA exam review course. Tons of people give this advice. On the surface it sounds good, marina? Get the hardest CPA exam part out of the way first. Then you won’t have to deal with it later. That makes sense, except it doesn’t consider how the Certified Public Accountant exam works as a whole.
All four sections of the exam have to be passed in an 18-month testing window. Ary noho izany, if you don’t pass all of them in 18 months, the first section that you studied so hard for will drop off and expire.
Related blog posts and resources
- 6 Best CPA Exam Tips
- How to become a CPA in the USA
- How to contact your state board of accountancy
- CPA Exam Costs Explained
So let’s say you have a difficult time with Regulations. You decide that you are going to knock that one out first. You study your hardest for several months and take it for the first time. Indrisy, you get the dreaded 74 and you have to take it again. This time you get serious and double down on your CPA review. You study twice as hard and you pass it with a score of 80.
Now fast-forward 17 months. You are getting ready to take your last section of the CPA examination. You think it’s going to be easy, so you barely study for it and you fail. Now there is no time to retake it and your REG credit gets dropped. Now you have to retake your most difficult section. Does that make sense? Wouldn’t you rather retake your easiest section instead?
Your First Section of the CPA Exam Should Be Your Most Confident Subject
Your first exam section should be the subject that you feel the most confident with. This is different for everyone. Ohatra, if the last two classes you took in college were business law and federal taxation, REG would be a pretty obvious first choice. The material is still fresh in your mind and it shouldn’t take too much effort to study. You’d basically be reviewing all the financial management information you just learned during the last semester.
If you are fresh out of school, you should focus on the subject that comes most easily to you. Ohatra, some people are just really good at memorizing legal information and weird tax codes. If you are one of these anomalies, REG would also be a good first choice for you. -tsy izany, experts in economic concepts will want to prioritize the Business Environment and Concepts (bec) section as their first.
If you aren’t fresh out of school and you don’t have an innate ability to memorize financial accounting information, you could look to your work. Ohatra, if you are an auditor, Auditing and Attestation (AUD) would be a wise first choice.
The point is that your first CPA exam should be something that you feel confident with and will be somewhat easier for you to prepare for and pass.
Nahoana ianao no tokony Raiso ity Fizarana Voalohany?
Noho izany, nahoana aho no marina sy ny olon-kafa dia tsy mety? Betsaka ny antony mahatonga izany no tsara indrindra CPA tetika.
voalohany, raha maka ny fizarana voalohany matanjaka indrindra, ianao dia mety tena nitranga izany. Tsy manana hevitra ny zavatra izay manao ny antony manosika sy ny fahatokian-. Raha ny isa navoaka ary azonao fa NASBA taratasy nilaza fa ianao no lasa, rehetra dia te-hanao dia nitsambikina niakatra sy nidina. It’s exciting and gives you the energy to walk into that Prometric center and take on the next set of multiple-choice questions.
Conversely, if you took the most difficult section first and failed it, your confidence and motivation will be shattered. After spending all that time studying this difficult topic and you still fail. You most likely won’t be that motivated to continue.
- 1.Becker CPA Review Course Endorsed by Big 4 Accounting Firms
- 2.Surgent CPA Prep Course Best Technology + Save $1,100
- 3. Wiley CPAExcel Review Course Best Instructor Support
- 4.UWorld Roger CPA Review Courses Best for Engaging Video Lectures
- 5.Gleim CPA Review Course Most Task-Based Simulations
faharoa, we already talked about losing the credit from a passed exam. If you take your strongest section first and lose it, it won’t be fun, but it also won’t be devastating. You will have to retake a subject that you are familiar with. It should be pretty easy to retake it.
I hope this helps make up your mind. Believe me. It makes way more sense to start strong subjects. Once you pass the first section, you’ll be ready to take on the whole exam.