The best order to take the CPA Exam

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You want to get your CPA license, and you’re ready to start studying and scheduling your exams. But where should you start? To help you map out your strategy, we’re sharing the best order to take the CPA Exam based on your discipline and other factors.

CPA Evolution changes what order to take the CPA Exam sections

Before we dive into our recommendations, let's breakdown of each part of the CPA Exam, so you know what to expect and can best determine which section to take first. Starting in January 2024, the structure of the CPA Exam will consist of three core sections all candidates must take and pass:

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD) 
  • Taxation and Regulation (REG) 
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

Candidates must also pass one of three Discipline sections:

  • Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) 
  • Information Systems and Controls (ISC) 
  • Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP)

Before you decide what order to take the CPA Exam, you’ll want to choose your CPA Exam Discipline.

Not sure which CPA Exam Discipline is right for you? Take our quiz and find out!


The best order to take your CPA Exam based on your Discipline 

You have a Discipline in mind, and you’re ready to start planning your exam strategy. We recommend these testing orders, but it’s also important to take the path that works best for you!

Exam order if your Discipline is BAR

If you enjoy the technical elements of accounting and reporting and want to elevate your overall accounting competency while learning how to dig into financial analysis, choosing the BAR is a great option. Our suggested testing order if you choose BAR is: 

  • FAR 
  • BAR 
  • AUD 
  • REG 

Starting with FAR will give you a stronger foundation into the reporting elements prior to taking the BAR section which will then build up your general knowledge as you go into AUD and REG.

Exam order if your Discipline is ISC 

Information technology and data management is becoming increasingly important to financial careers. The ISC connects tech and security knowledge into the field of public accounting, leading to a path in data management, IT auditor, or even a CIO. 

If you choose this Discipline, we recommend: 

  • FAR 
  • REG 
  • AUD 
  • ISC 

An alternative order to take the CPA Exam is: 

  • FAR 
  • AUD 
  • ISC 
  • REG 

Exam order if your Discipline is TCP 

Tax compliance and planning is vital to public accounting and there is a strong demand for knowledgeable tax professionals. Choosing this Discipline will open the door to working in a company’s tax department, government entity, banks, or even managing your own tax firm. 

If this is the right Discipline for you, the best order to take the CPA Exam is: 

  • FAR 
  • AUD 
  • REG 
  • TCP 

As you can see, no matter what your Discipline, FAR is the best place to start your journey. It gives you the foundational knowledge you need and passing this exam sets you up for success moving forward. 

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