Best Order to Take the CPA Exam in

CPA Exam Order
Ask Joey

Ask Joey

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Best Order to Take the CPA Exam in...

You’ve achieved your 150 study credits, have gained the right amount of CPA-verified experience and signed up for a CPA review course to ace the four-part CPA exam. You’re ready to go, so which CPA exam should you take first? Should you choose the easiest CPA exam first or concentrate your studies on the sections you know you’ll find harder?

In this blog, we look at the CPA exam sections in order of difficulty and consider the merits of preparing for the most comprehensive exam first, otherwise known as the ‘FAR-first’ approach.  

What are the Different CPA Exams?

Before we recommend what CPA exam to take first, though, it’s important to touch on what each CPA exam entails. In total, there are four sections to the Uniform CPA Examination (CPA exam), including:

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD) that tests your knowledge of the entire audit process, as well as compilation, preparation and review engagements and other non-attestation services.
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) that assesses your knowledge of financial management, corporate governance, economic concepts and analysis, information technology and operations management.
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) that evaluates your understanding of financial reports, statement presentation, and how to conduct business transactions using GAAP, IFRS and Government Accounting systems. Crucially, your knowledge must cover governmental, non-governmental and non-profit financial accounting and reporting, making it far from the easiest CPA exam.
  • Regulation (REG) that analyzes your understanding of three main areas: business law, ethics, and federal taxation.


You’ll have a maximum of 18 months to pass all four CPA sections with a minimum score of 75. The Universal CPA Review team created detailed CPA exam study for each section which are linked below:

What is the Easiest CPA Exam section?