CPA Exam Study Tips: How Long Should It Take To Study For Each Section?

If you are getting ready to take the CPA exam, you probably have already spent quite a bit of time studying for it. But are you studying enough? CPA exam candidates often wonder how long they should be studying for each section of the exam. Unfortunately, there’s no straight-forward answer like “10 days per section 200-301.” You can get an idea of how long it should take to study for each section however, depending on your specific schedule and study habits.

While there are no strict CPA exam study requirements, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) generally recommends that exam candidates spend 300 to 400 hours preparing for the exam. However, the recommended amount of time spent studying for each exam section varies. Because some sections are more difficult or cover more material than others, here’s a suggestion of how to break down your study time in order to meet the AICPA’s recommended CPA exam preparation time:

The Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) section of the exam is four hours long, and it contains 90 multiple choice questions and seven task-based simulations. The multiple choice section accounts for 60% of the section’s score and the simulations account for 40% of the score.

If you were taking a CPA exam review course, you would spend about 33 hours of class time going over the section, and 99 hours studying or doing homework. Therefore, those studying without a review course should plan to spend approximately 132 hours preparing for the FAR section.

The Regulation (REG) section of the exam contains 72 multiple choice questions and six task-based simulations. The multiple choice section accounts for 60% of the section’s score and the simulations account for 40% of the score.

If you were taking a CPA exam review course, you would spend about 28 hours of lecture time going over the section, and 84 hours studying or doing homework. Therefore, those studying without a review course should plan to spend approximately 112 hours preparing for the REG section.

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