June 19, 2019 at 3:25 pm #2491218Mi ChanParticipant
I started with BEC first because I was always under the impression that BEC is the easiest and people say it's going to be a confidence boost when you pass your first exam. I also see a lot of people say they passed the exam with two to three weeks of studying. So I went ahead and started with BEC, studied for three weeks, and failed. I just took Advanced Financial Reporting in my grad program and a lot of material still makes sense to me…why the heck did I not start with FAR? BEC might have the least topics to study for but they lack a structure and it's still a lot of information. BEC has also become harder since they added simulations. The old opinions about the difficulties of these exams before the changes are out-dated and have little value. I hope that whoever is new to their CPA journey realizes that no single section is easy and you should never underestimate the exam!June 19, 2019 at 4:23 pm #2491563A_RishParticipant
Let's be honest, all sections of the exam are difficult. I have no clue how people can pass them only studying a one, two, or three weeks. With that said, BEC has by far the highest passing rate of the 4 sections. I haven't taken it yet, so I have no clue with that is. In my opinion, most people should take about 4-6 weeks to prep for each section, so perhaps that's where you faltered in your first BEC attempt. FAR is definitely a good one to knock out early because it seems to flow into other sections. Don't allow yourself to get discouraged. If you put in the time and effort, you'll certainly pass. Good luck!June 19, 2019 at 4:40 pm #2491746PuppykoalaParticipant
Agree with Rish. Took me 4 months to study FAR and I seriously don't believe FAR is 5 times harder than BEC. Time and efforts win the race. Underestimating any section is unwise.June 19, 2019 at 5:42 pm #2491905Mi ChanParticipant
@A_Rish I agree I spent too little time and underestimated the exam. My weak area was cost accounting and I just kind of avoided the MCQs because I didn't have enough time to go through all the formulas and retain the information. The actual exam covered all topics and I had to guess a lot on the calculations. What I learned is all topics should be weighted equal, you cannot skimp on any unit just because you don't like it and think it won't be on the exam, it will definitely come back and get you.June 19, 2019 at 6:33 pm #2492085WEEE2CPAYEParticipant
Generally speaking since 2012 BEC typically has the highest yearly pass rate, it use to be much harder back in the day prior to 2012/2011. You can look up the yearly pass rates if you search ‘ uniform CPA exam ” and go to the Wikipedia page.
Anyways, it doesn't matter which exam you start with if you don't attempt to identify the best way to learn the information for yourself. The first exam is a learning experience other than learning the information.June 19, 2019 at 6:57 pm #2492250PDiddy2000Participant
I agree with @WEEE2CPAYE. You apply the same study plan for FAR as you did for BEC, you'll probably get the same results.June 19, 2019 at 9:25 pm #2493033dukenukeParticipant
I think that it is a good idea to do FAR first. It is widely considered the most difficult section and takes the most time to study for. If FAR is passed first, the initial time spent studying for it won’t count against the 18 month testing window. This allows more study time for the other three “easier” sections and a cushion for potential retakes. Also, many people end up losing credit for other sections because they don’t get a passing grade on FAR during the testing window.June 19, 2019 at 9:45 pm #2493096MaverickParticipant
I would recommend starting with FAR or REG.June 19, 2019 at 10:34 pm #2493273krstnamParticipant
I agree with you about the test and difficulty I think people sound ignorant when they ask questions like which exam was the easiest. I think the question should be which exam was the least difficult. They are all hard and branding one of them as the easiest doesn’t do that test any justice. Rant over but regarding difficulty, I had the pleasure of taking the exam in both formats, I think the SIMs made it a little easier. Also since it’s more conceptualization the memorizing part wasn’t as bad. I bet you could find a bunch of people who would disagree with me though 🙂June 20, 2019 at 9:06 am #2494155ReckedParticipant
If you thought BEC was tough you're in for a treat with FAR.
That's all I have to say about it. Firm believer in FAR first.June 20, 2019 at 10:36 am #2494497chandlerParticipant
A lot of people recommend that you do FAR first. I think it's a valid strategy even though I waited until last to do it. As for it being “easier” you might be in for a rude awakening. Interestingly enough, I've heard people say that REG, BEC, or AUD were their “easiest” exam, but I don't think I've ever heard that about FAR. There is a ton of material, and it's definitely pretty technical.June 20, 2019 at 11:09 am #2494563Lindsey_p87Participant
The order of the exams really doesn't matter, IMO. Each person will find certain exams harder than others, it all varies based on the person's learning style, job experience, and education. The reality of the situation is you didn't study enough – I'm basing this on your comments about studying only for 3 weeks and basically skipping cost accounting. Taking FAR first would not have gotten you a pass either if you didn't thoroughly learn sections of the material. I do think you should plan to tackle FAR next though, since the material is still fresh on your mind. But I would caution you against relying on your previous knowledge and not taking time to thoroughly grasp each topic.June 20, 2019 at 11:47 am #2494662DaKine256Participant
I have to agree with Lindsey. I took BEC first then FAR, and I don't regret doing it that way. They were both hard– FAR just covers way more material. Instead of getting discouraged, give yourself more time to study and try a different study method for FAR. Even as a recent grad with straight A's, I studied 130 hours for BEC and 200 for FAR. None of these exams are easy, but if you're willing to persist and put in the work, you can pass!June 20, 2019 at 3:15 pm #2495373jombeParticipant
I know some people won't agree w/ me, but I stand by FAR->AUD->REG->BEC.
FAR – building the foundation.
AUD – applying what you learned from FAR.
REG – knowledge you retained from FAR/AUD won't be super helpful, but nonetheless, doesn't hurt.
BEC – hated this section w/ passion. Good thing I took this last, because I would've said screw this and moved on to non-cpa path if I started w/ BEC.June 20, 2019 at 5:05 pm #2495700ambani.bradleyParticipant
I agree I spent too little time and underestimated the exam. My weak area was cost accounting and I just kind of avoided the MCQs because I didn't have enough time to go through all the formulas and retain the information. The actual exam covered all topics and I had to guess a lot on the calculations. What I learned is all topics should be weighted equal, you cannot skimp on any unit just because you don't like it and think it won't be on the exam, it will definitely come back and get you.
All the exams are hard. Your experience may be different than someone elses. The smart thing to do is respect each exam. I recommend at least 80 hours for BEC IF those are quality hours studying. Cost accounting is probably the most important section of BEC. Not sure who is giving you advice but I suggest you stop listening to them and take the entire examination process seriously or you will end up doing this for years.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.