Planning The Exam: How Long Should I Study?

Late last week and into this past weekend I played some email tag with Bonni and Sonny over at Yaeger CPA Review.  Sonny advised me that the recommended order of exams is F A R B, and that students will, on average, study for the following number of hours per section:

Using the Seat Availability Tool on the Prometric website, I looked ahead at what exam times were available at my local testing center.  After estimating how much time I would have to study based on these exam times, I decided that it may be best if I go in the order of F A B R, in the interest of providing myself more time to study REG in exchange for BEC.

Here is the proposed schedule I came up with, along with an estimate of study time for each section.  I used an average of 15hrs/week for studying, but that can potentially be increased if necessary.  March and June are grayed out because there is no testing in these months, and I will be heading off to grad school in mid-late August, so I'll need to have it completed by that point.

Do you think I can do it?  All feedback is appreciated! :)


What Section of the CPA Exam to Take First and Why
Reduce Your CPA Exam Study Time While Increasing Your Scores
Video: How Long You Should Study for the CPA Exam, per section (note: video is from 2010)

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Comment by Fast Forward Academy on March 4, 2013 at 5:51am

Dave... your plan is aggressive, but you can do it if you stay focused.

To help you out, please use our free 800 question test bank at We also have a free study planner that would map out a plan for you automatically based on your dates and send you email and text message reminders to keep you on track.

Finally, FAR is tough, but you can take a full featured free practice exam on our website for FAR and that will pinpoint the areas needing the most attention for you so you can get that one done on schedule the first time around.

Hope that helps!!

Comment by Amanda Sievers on February 26, 2013 at 3:01pm

That is a very aggressive plan, Dave. But I am the same way.

I will be studying for the exams in the same way. I don’t want to take the full 18 months to take all 4 parts- as that would stress me out even more. I would rather take 4-5 months out of my life and have no social life and knock them out than take a long time to take all of them. A lot of people disagree, but I think it all depends on the person studying. I am a crammer and do far better when I study the most important topics 1-2 weeks prior to the exam (I think it’s due to my lack of a long term memory ;) ). But other people would prefer to study for one part for a lengthy period of time- it’s all up to you. :)

Comment by MJBJ on February 13, 2012 at 7:36am

Dave, if this is the study schedule that gets it for you, then more power to you.  FYI, you may want to have a heavy dose of practice problems.  Many of the old test mc questions are avail online.  Also, check out  . . . search item . . .cpa exam to pull up additional mcs.

Comment by Dave on January 3, 2012 at 6:58am

I agree that my schedule looks sparse based on the information presented here, but there are many other factors I am also considering. One of my classmates from college scored 90+ on FAR first time using Becker, and he studied about 120-140 hours for that section. With this in mind, my 15hrs/week estimate is conservative, based on a moderate study schedule. If I increase my weekend studying, I can potentially go above 20hrs/week. At 7 weeks, this is roughly 140hrs total. Additionally, a 90+ score would be nice, but I only need a 75. :) Next, I just finished my undergrad two weeks ago, so I should still be reasonably fresh on a lot of the FAR material.

Of course I am not trying to come off as overly confident or cocky, but while I don't want to under study, I also don't want to over study and burn myself out.

Either way, I will keep you updated as things unfold over the coming months. Thank you for your comment, and best of luck! :D

Comment by Jenni Kouma on January 2, 2012 at 6:34pm

I think you will need more study time for FAR. It's the most voluminous material and most difficult for me.  I passed all the section first try execpt Far wich I passed on second try.  You will do well if you begin with the most difficult material. Once you pass it,  the rest of the sections will be less stressful. my 2 cents.

Good luck Dave. I think you can do it.

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