Hardest Part of BEC CPA Exam

Hey, hey, hey! Word on the street is that you want to know, “What’s the hardest part of BEC CPA Exam?” Is this true? Do you want to know what the hardest part of BEC CPA Exam is? Okie dokie then. You have come to the right place to clear up any confusion. In short, the hardest part of the BEC CPA Exam is cost accounting. How hard is cost accounting? If you have been trying to overcome cost accounting, you may feel like Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Akon 🙂

Hardest Part of BEC CPA Exam: Cost Accounting

In the post about Most Tested Topics on CPA BEC Exam, we discussed the BEC Content Specification Outline. However, cost accounting does not appear to be an area of content specification. How can cost accounting be the hardest then?

Content Specification Outline

Effective Date: January 1, 2016

Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)



Corporate Governance 16% – 20%
Economic Concepts and Analysis 16% – 20%
Financial Management 19% – 23%
Information Systems and Communications 15% – 19%
Strategic Planning 10% – 14%
Operations Management 12% – 16%

Topics generally discussed in a Cost and Managerial Accounting course are heavily tested in the Financial Management, Strategy Planning, and Operations Management areas that make up anywhere from 41 percent to 53 percent of your BEC Exam. Wow! That’s a huge part of your BEC Exam. If you hypothetically bombed the topics related to cost accounting i.e. you received a goose egg on these questions, you would not pass the BEC section of the CPA Exam. No worries though because you are going to do amazing on the cost accounting questions. Furthermore, we should caveat the interval of 41 percent to 53 percent because these areas tend to cover other groups and topics. Please check out the Content Specification Outline for additional information.

Hardest Part of BEC CPA Exam: Variances

So what’s so hard about cost accounting? Besides that topics in cost accounting tend to build upon one another, cost accounting can be extremely difficult because of variances. No, we are not talking about the statistical variance 🙂 We are talking about cost variances. Cost variances tend to be one of the nightmares that BEC test goers experience while preparing for the CPA Exam. In particular, some popular forms of variance analysis include direct materials, direct labor, and manufacturing overhead. For an enlightening series on cost and managerial accounting, check out the YouTube page for Education Unlocked. Specifically, be sure to view the videos on Direct Labor Variance Analysis, Direct Materials Variance Analysis, and Standard Costs and Variance Analysis. Building confidence on these topics will help you feel comfortable come test day.

If you are currently studying for the CPA Exam or have taken the CPA Exam, please leave a comment below about the hardest topic you encountered on BEC and any suggestions on how you overcame the hardest topic. As always, remember to breathe.

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