You have probably heard that the CPA Exam is “evolving” via the CPA Evolution effective Jan. 1, 2024. We previously covered the major changes to the CPA Exam resulting from the CPA Evolution. Knowing these changes, we are going to help you prioritize your unpassed sections between now and Jan.1, 2024.

Whether you are just beginning your CPA journey or coming back to studying after some time off, your approach should be the same – make every effort to pass BEC and AUD before the changes take effect in 2024.   

You should prioritize your remaining CPA Exam sections in the following order:  

Take the BEC section first  

BEC as a section is leaving the exam in 2024. That means no more essays and no exam devoted fully to BEC topics. However, the content that was in BEC will remain, spread across the new core and disciplines. The content will be broken into sections and placed into the 2024 AUD, FAR, BAR, and ISC sections. So why should you take BEC first if the content isn’t going anywhere? Simple – it has the highest pass rate of all the existing sections (historically ~60% pass). It is considered the “easiest” of the sections. Because of its high pass rate and its impending elimination, you should make every effort to pass BEC before it disappears as a stand-alone section in 2024. If you happen to take it and don’t pass, try and sign up immediately to take it again. This should be priority #1 before the CPA Evolution takes effect. Plus, if you pass BEC, it carries over into the new model and you won’t need to take the discipline tracks, a relative unknown right now.  

Take AUD next since content is changing 

Once you pass BEC, audit (AUD) should be next. Based on the AICPA’s preliminary blueprint, in 2024 little information is coming out of audit, but considerable new content is going into audit. Economic concepts and some controls from BEC will appear in AUD with BEC eliminated as a section. Plus, more material on SOC reporting, technology and cloud computing will get added into the AUD core in 2024.  

Why not take it when the material maps closely to your collegiate audit course and contains less information? We see no reason to delay. Once you pass BEC take a few days off then jump straight into studying for audit.  

REG section should be third 

This recommendation is more process of elimination than content driven. After you prioritize BEC and AUD and save FAR for last (see following section), REG falls into the third slot by default.   

Take FAR section last 

FAR is the one section that is likely to get easier following the CPA Evolution. You read that correctly. It is likely that the 2024 FAR core will be less difficult and contain less content than the 2022 or 2023 FAR exam you will take.  

The CPA Evolution Blueprint has moved some of the more difficult FAR topics (e.g., governmental accounting, derivatives, consolidation, etc.) into the BAR discipline track. Candidates waiting for 2024 to sit for FAR will have an exam that goes deeper into topics, but covers less difficult and advanced topics.  

 Keep in mind that the 18-month pass window remains the same. If you start today, you could pass all four sections before the CPA Evolution goes live; an approach we highly recommend. However, if you want to go section-by-section, this guide serves as the most effective roadmap for you to pass the exam and round out your journey to becoming a CPA. Lastly, by following this plan you won’t need to worry about passing one of the new disciplines because you will already have passed BEC!  

Ready to begin your CPA journey? Sign up for a free trial of Surgent CPA Review today and pass the CPA Exam before the exam changes go into effect in 2024.