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How Long is the CPA Exam?

By March 16, 2022CPA Exam News

Many students and professionals who are considering the next step in their accounting careers are concerned and ask how long is the CPA exam?

In the event that you intend to sit for the CPA exam, you’ve probably been wondering how many hours you’ll need to devote to preparation before taking the exam. Some factors, such as prior knowledge and experience, play a role in determining the amount of time required for preparation.

How much time will you need to devote to studying for the CPA exam? We will assist you in answering that question.

How Long Is The CPA Exam?

The exam is 16 hours long in total. The 16-hour time span is divided into the four parts of the exam, each lasting four hours:

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD Exam)
  • Regulation (REG Exam)
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC Exam)
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR Exam)

You must score at least 75 points on each exam part to pass. Pre-test and operational question types are included in each exam part, which are then divided into five testlets per exam. They include:

  • Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQ)
  • Task-Based Simulations (TBS)
  • Write Communication Tasks (WCT) (only on the BEC Exam)

CPA Prometric appointment times include an additional 30 minutes on top of the four hours of testing time. This additional time is used for the exam login process, the standardized break in the middle of each exam, and a candidate survey.

But you cannot use this extra time to take the test. You must complete the test in just under four hours. Candidates who require testing accommodations should consult with their BOA or its designee to determine the actual exam length.

How Long Does It Take To Prepare For The CPA Exam?

The total number of hours needed to study for and to pass the CPA exam varies significantly across candidates and is dependent on a variety of factors. The following is a list of the most prominent factors.

Educational Background

Your educational background has a significant impact on the amount of time you will need to devote to studying for the exam. If you’ve only taken the bare minimum of college courses, you’re going to be less prepared for the exam because of your lack of knowledge in the areas tested.

Some states, for example, do not require that you complete a course in governmental accounting or internal controls as part of your undergraduate program. It is likely that you will require additional study time for the governmental accounting sections if you did not take an introductory course in governmental accounting.

Work Experience

In most cases, work experience does not significantly contribute to exam knowledge, but it can in some cases. For example, if you’ve been working as a tax accountant full-time for several years, you’re likely to be familiar with some of the REG blueprints and won’t need to go over them too much in your preparation. The same for auditing if you are working in auditing.

Because the exam is academic in nature, your auditing experience will not have a significant impact on your exam knowledge and performance. Most people feel it doesn’t make a significant difference despite some overlap.

However, on average, working in a related profession can help you better prepare for the exam and lower the time you need to devote to studying.

Time Since College

Studying for the CPA exam is a time-consuming endeavor, taking it straight after college or within a few months of graduating may make it a little simpler because some of the exam material from your college studies will still be fresh in your mind.

This is because your final year of college will include several higher-level accounting courses;, this is especially true if you graduate with a Masters in Accountancy (MAcc) degree.

If you have been out of school for a long period of time (more than three years), it may take you a little longer to complete your studies, especially if the topics are ones that you are not regularly exposed to at work.

General Knowledge Of Accounting Concepts

These factors may be meaningless to certain candidates who have a thorough understanding of accounting principles and topics.They remember the majority of the material they learned in college and can use reasoning to solve problems they haven’t encountered yet.

How Many Hours Should You Study For The Exam?

At least 280-300 hours of study time is required even if you have every potential advantage in your favor when taking the complete CPA exam. The scope and depth of content covered by the entire CPA test part is immense, and you simply must set aside enough time to practice reviewing and solving multiple-choice questions and simulations properly in a timed situation to be successful. In reality, you should plan on spending a lot more time.

However, the amount of time spent is not everything. The quality of your studying, as well as the consistency with which you follow your study plan, are both equally important. If you spread out your 150 study hours over 5 months and don’t participate in any practice quizzes, it won’t be particularly beneficial.

You should also keep in mind that unexpected events may arise and require a change in your plans. To allow for any surprises that may come up during your exam, preparation for each exam should include a buffer of 1-2 weeks to allow for any unforeseen circumstances. It’s better to have a little additional time for final review at the end rather than be forced to cut corners and fail.

For Time Management Tips


Make an intelligent study schedule

Start by creating a study plan tailored to your job and personal responsibilities. Then, with an effective strategy in mind, devote equal attention to each and every topic.

Do not forget to take notes and revise them as you go. Also, set aside weekends for professional assistance. Take frequent breaks to allow your mind to rest and recharge.

Book your first exam promptly

Once you have earned the required credits to sit for the exam and have determined that the timing is appropriate for you personally and professionally, schedule and pay for the first exam six to eight weeks in advance.

Setting a deadline will not only provide you with a defined period of time to prepare, but it will also motivate you to continue your studies.

Take (plenty of) mock tests

Mock examinations allow you to practice in an environment that is similar to a real exam. In terms of number and type of questions, they are identical to those seen on the actual CPA Examination.

As a result, the most effective way to master time management is to solve them. Set a timer while you answer the questions. Once you have finished each testlet, you should stop the timer and record how long it took you to complete the section. By doing so, you will become more adept at finishing the exam within the time limit.

Overall, the time it takes to pass the CPA Exam is determined by your level of preparation, skills, study plan, and review materials. Furthermore, time management is critical in this situation. You’re good to go as long as you know how much time to devote to each section.

Get Professional Help setting up your Study Plan

Self-discipline is paramount to your study plan, but it helps to have a CPA review course that can guide and advise you in all aspects of your studying. The sole purpose of a review course is to give you, the candidate, the benefit of their years of experience in getting candidates through the exam successfully.

At Yaeger CPA Review we make sure our material is always totally up-to-date. Our instructors know how to present the material so you understand the concept in each blueprint and therefore know how to complete the specific task required in the blueprint. We teach through understanding not memorization or time-wasting repetition of doing 100’s or 1000’s of old multiple choice questions. These questions were designed to teach lower level, non-critical thinking. Today’s exam tests only higher level critical thinking in the form of mcq, simulations and problem-solving questions.