Difficulty Level by Exam

This topic contains 43 replies, has 33 voices, and was last updated by  CPAFuture11 2 years, 4 months ago.

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    Type: AUD, REG,BEC,FAR

    I agree that it is depending on the person’t ability. One thing I noticed while studying is I can handle numbers more than words. Sometimes wordings in AUD makes me so much confused. If I can calculate, I will have chance to get the correct answers so I think AUD is the most difficult even though I will switch to my career to audting after passing all exam.



    Depends on how you learn. I did well on Auditing because I’m able to recognize words and phrases really well. With calculations, if you don’t know how to calculate something or calculate it wrong, you’re in trouble. With Auditing, if you recognize concepts, you can often pick out the right answer.

    But let’s step back a minute, here: None of these exams are easy! They all suck!!!



    REG, FAR, AUD, BEC (for me)



    I didn’t get my grade for FAR yet so it’s hard for me to judge, but this is my opinion:

    Easiest to Hardest:

    1 – AUD (mostly memorization and the test was almost word for word for some of my review)

    2 – REG (tax is my stronger field)

    3 – BEC (didn’t study half the material, I got lucky)

    4 – FAR (disgusting amount of information to retain, plus accounting is my weaker field of audit, tax, and accounting)

    This is subjective and I would not suggest taking the tests in this order. They were all extremely difficult and by no means am I suggesting AUD and REG were easy. I’m basically listing the tests in order from ‘Very bad’ to ‘Oh my god…’

    EDIT: If I had to do it over, I would take the tests in this order:


    FAR and REG can be tricky if you are not comfortable with tax -> book differences, so I would take a small break in between.



    Easiest to hardest (all subjective!): AUD, BEC, REG, FAR. I took them in this order: BEC, REG, AUD, FAR

    I’m currently studying for my last, FAR, and I’m really glad I had something in between that and REG, due to the sheer amount of info on both, and the fact that they both have tons of calculations-so having something else in between broke up the studying a bit.



    bakagal – I agree 100% with your difficulty ratings!



    Easiest to hardest: AUD, REG, BEC, FAR

    Order I took them: AUD, BEC, REG, FAR

    If I had to do it again? FAR, BEC, REG, AUD

    I really wish I had gotten FAR out of the way… Studying for my first section was more detailed and focused since I wasn’t burned out from constant study from the rest of the sections. But it might also be a good idea to knock an easier one out of the way first for a confidence boost and more knowledge of the testing process / what to expect.

    A lot of people have difficulty with BEC but I didn’t think it was too bad, probably because I’m fresh out of school and a lot of the topics were more fresh in my mind, especially the business/econ related topics. Plus most of the IT topics were second nature to me. And not having sims made it a lot less scary 🙂

    Same goes for AUD, a lot of it is academic and as long as you know the concepts you can usually come up with a pretty good educated guess, even for really tricky/wordy questions

    I underestimated REG since I am a tax girl, so I didn’t put as much effort into studying as I should have. I failed the first time, but then did the Yaeger cram and passed.



    This is my order of difficulty from easiest to hardest:


    If I had to take them again I would start with FAR and take 3+ months to prepare. The amount of material is huge but I don’t think this is the most difficult exam. To me it all comes down to strategy for FAR and the reason I cannot pass it is the time is never sufficient for me on this exam. And I have never been an accountant by heart and still think FAr is not the hardest.


    The GaJone

    I have over 3 years experience in public, where I do a pretty even mix of audit and tax. I thought AUD was by far the easiest. That was the only test I went in feeling like I was well prepared, and walked out thinking I for sure passed. But that’s because I have experience in audit. I would have to think that AUD is a lot trickier if you’re taking the test straight out of college and haven’t experience auditing first-hand.

    I would have to say BEC was the 2nd easiest. I literally studied less than 30 hours for BEC and passed — granted, by the skin of my teeth, but still. REG I guess was next, because I didn’t think the tax material was too overwhelming. I spent most of my study time on the business law chapters. I will say however that I felt the worst coming out of my REG exam than I did any others, and ended up with my best grade.

    FAR has to be the toughest, just because of the amount of material covered. I still feel like I slacked off for FAR though and got away with it. I mean I didn’t finish the gov. and non-profit chapters until 3 days before I took the exam, which left very little final review time (especially considering it was the start of busy season and I was in the middle of an audit). But I did focus most of my time on the “basic” concepts and basically ignored the complicated problems while studying, which is what they say you should do with FAR since it’s “an inch deep and a mile wide”, which is why I think I got away with it.



    The GaJone, congrats on passing BEC and being done!

    I haven’t taken all parts, but FAR is killing me. I am spending so much time learning how to do every problem but you’re saying you didn’t even waste your time with the really complex ones. I think you are right. There were some hard questions on FAR but not all of them go into as much depth as the study questions. I’m glad I am trying to get FAR out of the way.


    The GaJone

    Thanks CPAWannaBe. I remember when I took FAR, you were taking it for the first time right around the same time as me, and I remember complaining with you about how awful it was when I made my first few posts on this forum. For you, it has to be 10 times as rough since you have to balance family life in there as well. For me it was a lot easier since I live by myself and can just crank out several-hour study sessions without being interrupted, or even worry about being interrupted.

    Yeah like I said, I didn’t spend a lot of my time on the real complicated problems. I’d maybe run through one or two of them just to get an idea, but that was it. By doing this I was able to get through a lot more MC questions in a shorter period of time, which in my opinion made the use of my time a little more efficient. I think this was the key to me passing not just FAR but all 4 parts.

    Good luck on the rest of your journey!



    GaJone, congrats on being DONE! I can’t believe you took all 4 parts so quickly – that’s awesome. Not to be a creep or anything, but I noticed you live in Cincinnati. I’m in Dayton and I have a lot of friends working down in Cinci. Where do you work? If you don’t mind me asking…



    I finally PASSED FAR after many attempts , what I did this time around was devote a week per chapter and an average of 4 hours per day on weekdays. Weekends, was study every free moment….but, I would keep a target for the weekend studies.

    I took a week off before the exam and did only Q’s and A’s along with taking notes of failed questions and answers. Having done this, I am now moving on to AUDIT, I have tested before with audit and failed by 7 points.

    Thinking, I am abit seasoned with AUDIT, I will give myself 11 weeks to study using my same method and with a few days off just before the exam to just do Q’s and A’s (I work in Corporate Accounting so my QTR’s deadline is a curveball to my study plan.)

    Target exam date for AUDIT is August 24th NYC…..

    I would like to think of the other 2 parts in planning my other exam for the last window of this year, would anyone care to tell me what is their experience between BEC and REG exam?



    Many people say that AUD is the easiest but why does it consistantly have the lowest passing rate?



    So far, in order of easiest to hardest, I’d say AUD, BEC, FAR. I’m curious to see where I put REG.

    @bcarmi, AUD is weird. I would guess it’s the exam people study the least for on average, but a lot of people rush through it. I feel a lot of people also think they understand it but fail to grasp something fundamental about it. Furthermore, I imagine it’s also very difficult for ESL candidates.

    Maybe people also get overconfident about it? I’ve got a friend who’s an auditor. She passed all the other parts of the CPA exam on her first try but AUD took her four tries. I’m sure being an auditor helps but you still need to study if you want to pass.



    Not sure about FAR Yet as I haven’t taken it but for me it was

    Easiest to hardest




    Easiest to Hardest: REG, FAR, AUD, BEC

    Order I took them in: FAR, REG, AUD, BEC

    I would’ve thought BEC would be the easiest for me but even though I was able to remember the majority of the formulas, a lot of the material just wouldn’t stick. Maybe it was because it was my last exam and I was just tire of studying, idk.



    Easiest to Hardest

    BEC (i love managerial and cost acctg), REG, AUD, and FAR



    Agree with lalap on order.

    BEC was by far the easiest especially with no SIMS, and I have a finance background. I have been paying taxes for over 20 years and enjoy tax, so REG is next, but you have to put in the time. AUD is really tricky. FAR is the hardest but I also studied the hardest for it. I recommend taking FAR last because by that time your study habits will be most effective.



    Easiest to Hardest: FAR, REG, BEC, AUD



    FAR was the hardest for me by a long, long, long shot. REG was the next hardest, just because of the amount of material. Then BEC, then AUD.



    Amanda – Even though AUD was my first fail, I think that you are spot on.


    Determined CPA

    you guys are scaring me! I left FAR for last YUCK!



    Determined – The main issue for me was the amount of material plus this old dog has been out of school since 94.


    Determined CPA

    No old dogs here =) Never too old!

    I know, I opened the book yesterday and was a bit worried about the volume of work. But I hated, HATED BEC so I feel like even FAR will be better…

    So far, and I haven’t taken FAR, my difficulty order is: easiest to hardest

    Reg, Audit, Bec



    Hardest= FAR,FAR, FAR and FAR.



    A good friend of mine’s wife just got her law degree and she’s sixty, so Determined you are right.



    Studying for AUD right now as my last test. I won’t know for sure until after test day, but halfway through the material I can see why AUD is so easy for some and so difficult for others. People who have strong logic/liberal arts/reading comprehension skills, like I do, have a much easier time. That’s not really the skillset of most people going for the CPA. I am absolutely crushing my MCQ’s at a level totally unprecedented in my practice compared to other exams. Whereas with other exams I would get in the low 70’s the first time around, I am in the mid to high 80’s consistently for AUD. Of course I will still work just as hard to ensure this is my last exam, but it really shows how much different it is from the other exams.


    Determined CPA

    jrosen92770 – im taking the CPA exam but do I really want to BE a CPA?? UM…..yes?? haha

    I wouldn’t put it past me to go back to school to be a teacher when this is all done. And I graduated in 07 so I’m a little late in the game too!



    @jopa16 Which review material are you using? I went through Wiley already and averaged an 88% first time through.

    Now I’m doing strictly Ninja and getting my @%^ kicked. I found the 2014 and 2013 released questions and damn near

    got a 100 on both. I think some questions for Audit feel like common sense and then some are just tricky. Especially

    when it comes to the evidence and assertions section.

    By the way, I took my exams from hardest to easiest. So I would agree FAR is the hardest, followed by REG, BEC and


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