How Many Hours Should I Study for The CPA Exam? By Professor Farhat, CPA

How many hours do I need to study to pass the CPA exam? How many hours should I study to pass the CPA exam? How long does it take to pass the CPA exam? Can I pass all four parts of the CPA exam in one year?

I would be a millionaire if I got a dollar every time someone asks these questions.

I get these questions and variations of them on a regular basis from future CPAs on my website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or via email ( The answer is not simple. Continue reading.

There are 10 factors that influence how long you study or how many hours to study in order to pass the CPA exam. Please note that these 10 factors influence the variations in the time you spend studying, not your success rate on the exam

1- Education:

By showing an organic interest in your business, it’s those strangers and prospects that are initiating the relationship with you — versus you, the business, initiating the relationship with them. This makes it easier and more natural for them to want to buy from you somewhere down the line.

2- GPA:

The second factor is your GPA. if your GPA was 4.0. Do you study the same amount of time that a person with a GPA of 2.5 or 3.0? Of course not. A person with a GPA of 4.0 will study less because he/she is more prepared in college.

Also, remember that GPA could be inflated. So, ask yourself, “How much did I learn when I went to school?” If you are well prepared in college, regardless of your GPA, you will spend less time preparing for the exam than a person who was less prepared.

3- Time Gap:

The third fac tor is the time gap between your education and sitting for the exam. For example, if you graduated in May of 2020 and you sat for the exam in June of 2020, you are going to retain more information therefore you will spend less time studying for the exam. if you graduated May 2020 and you waited until June 2022 to sit for the exam then you will need to study more because all the information that you learn in college most likely you forgot.

So, the time gap between your graduation and the time to sit for the exam matters. This time gap also influences the pass rate. The longer you wait to take the exam the higher the probability you will fail the exam. This conclusion is based on data from the NASBA and the AICPA.

4- Age:

Age is a double-edged sword. Age may work for you or it may work against you. Evidence shows that as we age, we absorb and learn the information slower than younger individuals. That might be true but also as we age, we become more mature therefore more motivated to understand the material, especially from a practical perspective.

As far as I know, there is no evidence that shows that age has any influence on the CPA exam. Maybe something I will need to study down the road.

5- Experience:

What could offset the age factor and the time gap between your education and sitting for the exam is the amount of experience you have in the real world. So, if you have 5 to 10 years of experience in public accounting where you worked on audit, tax, payroll, adjustments, compilations, reviews etc., then you are going to absorb the information much faster than an individual with no work experience.

Also, experience in the real world will help you tremendously on the simulation, especially with the Document Review Simulation (DRS). Not all experiences are equal. If you have experience in taxation, then you will spend less time studying for the Regulation section.

If you have more experience in auditing you will have less time studying for the audit section. If you have experience in financial accounting then you will have less time studying for the financial accounting and reporting exam.

So, experience in the subject matter also matters.

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