The uniform US CPA exam consists of 4 sections: Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), and Regulation (REG). When it comes to the hardest section among all the exams, everyone says it’s FAR. 

Why is FAR largely considered the hardest?

Here are some reasons.

Everyone has their difficulty in the exam, but if we take the majority as consideration, then FAR is the hardest part of the CPA exam. In FAR, the candidates will tend to have more problems with financial management, governmental accounting, and fund accounting. When preparing for the exam, it’s essential to look at the strengths and weaknesses of yours. You can review the experience of others, but don’t follow it blindly. You have to prepare yourself for the exam and focus on studying the critical part. Strengthening the weak areas is the only way to pass the CPA exam.

You don’t need to memorize the information simply. Especially in the new exam; you have to understand the concepts well. Take your own time and give yourself time to prepare for each exam. Select a CPA review course that fits and works for you. Get the right CPA study guide and make some progress in your career.

According to the survey conducted by NASBA, most of the people said “FAR is the hardest part among all the CPA exam sections.”

The CPA-FAR Exam section covers topics like financial transactions, financial statements, GAAP, reporting for nonprofits. Most of the CPA aspirants consider FAR to be the challenging one among the remaining CPA exam sections because of its length. This exam is also considered as difficult because it tests the candidate’s understanding of statement presentation, financial reports, and business transactions using IFRS, GAAP, and governmental accounting systems. There’s also common to see topics like benefits of the employee, compiling operations, transfers, research costs, correcting errors in transactions, and calculating fair value figures as well.

FAR CPA Exam Format:

The FAR section starts with two Multiple-Choice testlets containing 33 MCQs in each testlet. Later, you are allowed to start two testlets which contain 8 Task-Based Simulations.

Question TypeNo of Questions
Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs)66
Task-Based Simulations (TBS)8

FAR Concepts:

Select Financial Statement Accounts30-40%
Conceptual Framework and Financial Reporting25-30%
State and Local Governmental Accounting5-15%
Select Transactions20-30%

Select Financial Statement Accounts – These topics consist of the income statement, evaluation of balance sheet, statement of retained earnings, cash flow statement as well as transactions that affect accounts.

Conceptual Framework & Financial Reporting – These topics include financial statements, different aspects of standard setting, and several reporting. The candidate should be familiar with the process of financial reporting for both non-profit and non-governmental organizations.

State & Local Governmental Accounting – Typically, these topics cover non-specific and generalized overviews of governmental accounting and fund accounting.

Transactions – It covers both recognition and computation of certain operations on the statement like leases, contingencies and so on.

Study Tips for CPA-FAR Exam:

Below are the study tips for CPA-FAR exam.

  • Cover All the Topics
  • Give Yourself Enough Time
  • Know Your Journal Entries
  • Practice MCQs

Cover All the Topics: The CPA-FAR exam covers a lot of information. It’s important to go through the CPA review material and cover all the topics. 

Give Yourself Enough Time: If you are willing to take the FAR exam, you need at least 7 to 8 weeks to prepare for the exam. So, give yourself enough time for exam preparation.

Know Your Journal Entries: There are many journal entries on this exam. It’s important to know how to record transactions both conceptually and physically. 

Practice MCQs: Keep practicing MCQs in the CPA review course. Do as many as possible.


Many Certified Public Accountants feel FAR is the hardest part of the exam, but if you prepare well and get proper guidance, you can crack the exam easily. Persistence is the key to success. Hope you found useful tips to clear the CPA-FAR exam. You can easily crack the exam by following the above study tips. If you have any queries, feel free to comment in the below section. Happy Learning!


Simandhar Education is India’s No.1 training provider for US CPA, US CMA, Enrolled Agent IFRS and HRCI professional courses.


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