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. Afai e te lei iloa o le a le vaega e fa o le suʻega CPA e, e tatau ona e faitau i laʻu meli e uiga i le vaega o le suʻega CPA; it will give you more information about each all four sections. O le mea, this post will make a little more sense and help you decide which to choose.
Ina ua fai, pikiina le vaega suʻega taumatau CPA e ave muamua o se faaiuga tele. E mafai foi ona faauigaina o le eseesega i le va o le tufaina o le suʻega i le taimi po o ua oo vaega taimi tele. 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, tauagavale? 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. o le mea lea, 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.
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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. leaga 'ua, 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. O lesi foi mea, 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. O lesi foi mea, 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. Alternatively, 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. O lesi foi mea, if you are an auditor, Auditing and Attestation (AUD) would be a wise first choice.
O le manatu e tatau ona avea se mea e o lau suʻega CPA muamua e te lagona le mautinoa i ma o le a teisi faigofie mo oe e te saunia ai mo le ma oo.
Aisea e Tatau Ona E ave lenei Vaega Muamua?
O lea la,, pe aisea ua ou le saʻo ma le isi tagata uma e sese? O loo i ai le tele o mafuaaga o le fuafuaga CPA sili lenei.
Tulaga tasi, afai e te ave muamua lau vaega malosi, ae sili ona ono oo ai. E leai ni manatu le mea e faia e lau uunaiga ma le mautinoa. Ina ua maua lou togi faamalologa ma o outou o le tusi NASBA faapea e pasia, all you will want to do is jump up and down. 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.
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Second, 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.