hours to study for cpa examYou have no idea how many times we’re asked this question … it’s a lot. And it’s a good question. But, like most things, the number of hours to study for the CPA Exam all depends on the person.

Even so, we’ll try our best to answer this tough question.

First, The Variables

Before you get in huff about whether what we recommend is realistic or not, you have to remember that the number of hours to study for the CPA Exam will be different for each person.

It all depends on:

  • Your education.
  • Your age … er, or how long you’ve been out of school and out of “student” mode.
  • Your work experience (you auditors have a leg up).

Another big factor, of course, is your familiarity and comfort with the English language. If English is a second language for you, definitely plan on needing more hours to study for the CPA Exam.

OK, Let’s Do A ROUGH Breakdown Via Section

(All figures from the AICPA; page 3.)


The FAR section consists of 90 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and seven task-based simulations. In Wiley CPAexcel, if you took all the lessons and assignments related to FAR, you’d take roughly 125 hours to complete it.


To prepare for the 72 MCQs and six simulations in this section of the CPA Exam, you’d spend roughly 110 hours studying with Wiley CPAexcel.

Historically, FAR and REG are the sections with the lowest pass rates (a.k.a. the “hardest”)


Count it up: 90 MCQs and seven simulations, same as FAR. If you did your work like a good student, using Wiley CPAexcel, you’d spend roughly 90 hours studying for this section.


BEC (oh how we love Sea Change) has 72 MCQs and throws a curveball with three written communication tasks. When you use the best, you can expect it to take roughly 75 hours to study for the CPA Exam’s BEC section.

Notice how we said roughly? Yeah, that was on purpose. It will probably be a little different for you.

Bryce’s Shortcut

Our buddy Bryce, from CrushTheCPAExam.com, swears he was able to shave 100 hours off his study time. That’s impressive, for sure, but it may not be realistic for you.

Bryce does give some good advice—or at least some advice that makes sense if you’re short on time and hours to study for the CPA Exam. He recommends focusing only on the most important concepts, which is admittedly a great shortcut if you’re down to the wire.

Or … Ignore The Clock, Focus On % Right

One of our favorite answers to the question of how many hours to study for the CPA Exam is this: Who cares? Rather than worry about the amount of time you spend with your nose in a book, instead focus on mastery of the material.

You should aim to achieve at least 80% correct/proficiency on practice questions and flashcards. Achieve this and you’re definitely on the right track.

But, Really, How Many Hours To Study For The CPA Exam?

OK. OK. You want an answer … here’s our rough answer.

Drum-roll please ….

The Answer: Roughly 400 hours—give or take 100 hours.