The Regulation (REG) section of the CPA exam covers federal taxation, business law, and business ethics.  Many find it a really difficult section but the passing rate for the past few years has been better than that of FAR or AUD.


2017 REG Section Structure


  • Length of four hours.
  • Two testlets of 38 multiple choice questions each.
  • Nine task-based simulation questions.
  • The score will be weighted 50/50 between multiple choice and simulations.
  • There will be an optional 15 minute break midway through the exam.

Content Allocation:

  • 10 – 20% Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and Federal Tax Procedures
  • 10 – 20% Business Law
  • 12 – 22% Federal Taxation of Property Transactions
  • 15 – 25% Federal Taxation of Individuals
  • 28 – 38% Federal Taxation of Entities

So, how should you best prepare for it?  Read on….

Get to Know Your Taxes!

It makes up the vast majority of the REG section so allocate your study time accordingly.  If you don’t have this down you’re in trouble.  One thing people find successful when preparing is printing out tax forms and reviewing them along with the other relevant study materials.

Do You Get the General Idea?

As with every section of the exam you need to truly understand the concepts behind the questions.  This may sound obvious but so many CPA candidates will focus on rote memorization of facts and figures to get them through.  But once you have a good grasp of the concepts it will not only make answering the questions easier but it will also help with memorization.  Knowing the concepts is even more important now as the 2017 exam is designed to test your ability to apply the knowledge you have as opposed to simply retaining it.  You definitely need this for REG.

Write it Down

Writing something down is a good tactic for memorization.    So, take notes while you study.  Then review those notes and rewrite them.  Doing this will test your real understanding of the material.  You’ll be glad you did this when it comes to the final review as it helps make it more efficient and effective.

Work the Practice Exams Again.  And Again.

Why?  Because this gives you a real sense of what the test will be like so you’ll feel more comfortable sitting for the real thing.  It also helps focus your study because it will expose your weak areas by showing which questions you got wrong.  This way you’ll know what you need to work on.  A lot of people will write out what they got wrong, what the correct answer is, and the reasoning behind it.

Watch Your Weight    

Make sure you’re aware of how much each topic figures into your score.  You don’t want to spend a lot of time on things that only count for a small(er) percentage.  Again, this focuses your study needs which you need for REG.

Are You a Morning Person?

What’s your best time of day for work?  Are you a morning person or do you tend to get a second wind mid-afternoon?  Take this into consideration.  Why not take the exam at your optimum time?

Final Countdown

Don’t skimp on the amount of time you spend on a final review for this section.  This can make or break your chances of passing.  You need to allow time to go over all the information again to make sure it sinks in.  Some course reviews will have specific Final Review sections to help you.  Taking notes earlier really comes in handy here because you’re better able to find the important stuff to know and save yourself some anguish.  You can even make a study guide out of them so you won’t feel overwhelmed.


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