Right now, deciding how to study, what to study, or even if you should be studying can seem daunting and difficult to determine. Given upcoming CPA Exam changes to certain exam sections and Prometric delays, the conditions that the current pool of CPA candidates face is unprecedented. Because of this, the approach these candidates take to the exam should differ to the typical method and CPA Exam section order to prevent unnecessary confusion as the study material changes.

That’s why we recommend that if you haven’t already passed these parts, you study in the following order to limit the amount of disruption you may experience:

  1. AUD
  2. BEC
  3. FAR
  4. REG


Why sit for AUD first?

We know, we typically recommend the most comprehensive of the exams to be the first exam you sit for – which is FAR . But, AUD is going to have the least amount of significant material changing between now and the beginning of 2021. So even if your test is delayed, disrupted or canceled, you can still feel confident that the material you studied will be what is ultimately tested, making it the first section we urge you to sit for.

In fact, there are no major pronouncements impacting this section of the CPA Exam until 2022 because the reporting standards that were supposed to be implemented in 2021 have been delayed. The AUD section of the exam also requires the least amount of calculations so we believe it will require the least amount of practice to get reacquainted with the material if your plans are disrupted.

Why sit for BEC second?

BEC is the potpourri of the exams. It covers the most unique topics. But luckily, most of these topics are going to remain constant for the near future. The uniqueness of the topics, coupled with our adaptive technology and hyper-personalized study plans, allows candidates to identify their strengths and weaknesses and focus only on the weaker topics if your studies are stopped or altered – meaning that your study time can be even more efficient.

Why sit for FAR third?

FAR covers a wide arrange of topic and covers those topics in detail. From leases, to state and local government accounting, to consolidation, FAR requires the most hours to study and can require significant time to get up to speed after time off. We recommend waiting to study for FAR for the sake of efficiency in these changing times.

Why sit for REG last?

The REG exam is going to undergo two large changes between now and October. Starting July 1, the SECURE Act will appear in the exam materials. Following that change, on Oct. 1 the CARES Act is subject to testing. Because delays or cancellations in testing could cause candidates to have to learn new material from the material they originally started with, we recommend holding off until last to sit for REG. While we don’t think the barriers are insurmountable nor is the material pervasive across the exam, we want our candidates to be aware that changes are coming and if they are unable to test for extended periods of time, they may need to learn material that they wouldn’t have needed to study if their plans were unaltered – and the order of sections that you sit for should reflect that.

We know it’s an uncertain few months – and passing the CPA Exam is difficult at the best of times! But ultimately, regardless of the order you sit and the changes that are coming, your review course should support you. Here at Surgent we offer free updates and access until you pass with all Surgent CPA Review courses, so we really are with you until the end. We’re dedicated to ensuring all changes are reflected in our content, and with the help of our ReadySCORE™ feature, you’ll be ready to pass the CPA Exam on your first try.

Get started with our free trial today!