CPA FAR Exam Time Allocation

Hey! Look who it is! Glad you could join me today. Today we are on a mission to get Austin Power’s mojo back find out about the CPA FAR Exam time allocation. Are you ready to join me on an excellent adventure with Garth and Wayne, double scratch, I mean Bill and Ted? Alrighty then, let’s do this.

CPA FAR Exam Time Allocation: How Many Hours Should I Study for the FAR CPA Exam?

Time allocation concerning the FAR Exam is twofold. There is the time allocation pre-FAR and time allocation during FAR. In this section, we discuss what you need to know concerning pre-FAR time allocation, AKA, how many hours should I study for the FAR CPA Exam?

According to The CPA Journal, you should probably study 160 hours to succeed on FAR. Of course, 160 hours seems like a lot of time. This is in part because it is. 160 hour is the equivalent of four full 40 hour work weeks (or two full 80 hour work weeks during busy season 🙂 ). However, if you wanted to try to shave off some time from the 160 hour guestimate, I would highly suggest that you, yes you, take the following courses: Financial Accounting I, Financial Accounting II, Advanced Financial Accounting, Corporate Tax, Governmental Accounting, and Not-for-Profit Accounting.

The courses mentioned above will cover the majority of material that you could possibly expect to experience on the FAR section of the CPA Exam. One important caveat to note is material may have changed since you last took a particular course. Give yourself sometime to recognize, understand, and reconcile any differences. Try to avoid shaving off too much time and running the risk of understudying. Additionally, you should try to mitigate the risk of CPA Exam burnout by over-studying. If you can, find your Goldilocks zone of studying, which for most candidates will be 160 hours for FAR.

CPA FAR Exam Time Allocation: How Long is the Test and Outline

Now that we have discussed what you need to know about the pre-FAR time allocation, it is time to dive on into discussing time allocation during FAR. The current version of FAR is 4 whole hours with 90 multiple choice questions and 7 task-based simulations. You are responsible for traversing through several obstacles questions with agility and accuracy. In order to do so, I would highly recommend developing a test day timeline. Below, yes right below, is a sample test day FAR outline that you can use as your actual outline or as a starting point for an outline of your choice.

Testlet 1: 45 minutes

Break: 5 minutes

Testlet 2: 45 minutes

Break: 5 minutes

Testlet 3: 45 minutes

Break: 5 minutes

Task-Based Simulations: 90 minutes

In summary, this timeline equates to 1 minute and 30 seconds per multiple choice question and 12 minutes and 51 seconds per task-based simulation. You are more than welcome to adjust this outline to fit your time management needs. My feelings won’t be hurt. Okay, maybe they will, but just a little bit 🙂

For additional information on timing related to the new Uniform CPA Exam, check out FAR CPA Exam Duration – How long is the Test and Changes to the FAR CPA Exam in 2016. As always, remember to breathe.


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