What Is REG CPA? How Many Hours Should I Study For the REG CPA Exam?


As a CPA Candidate or future CPA Candidate, you might be wondering what the REG (REG) CPA Exam is and how many hours you should study for it. The Regulation section of the CPA Exam assesses the necessary knowledge and skills a newly licensed CPA (nlCPA) must exhibit with reference to U.S. federal taxation, U.S. ethics and professional responsibilities related to tax practice, and U.S. business law.

Types of Questions on the REG Exam

The REG Exam is four hours long and consists of 76 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) administered in two testlets and 8 Task-Based Simulations (TBSs) administered in three testlets. There are no Written Communication (WC) questions on the REG Exam. 

SectionSection TimeMCQsTBSWC
REG4 Hours7680

Skills Tested on the REG Exam

The skills required on the REG Exam are divided between remembering & understanding, application, analysis, and evaluation.

SectionRemembering & UnderstandingApplicationAnalysisEvaluation

Remembering and understanding is the observation and understanding of the significance of an area utilizing knowledge gained.

Application is the use or exhibition of knowledge, concepts, or techniques. 

Analysis is the investigation of the interrelationships of separate areas to identify causes and find confirmation to support implications. 

Evaluation is the assessment of problems and the use of personal judgment to derive conclusions. 

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REG Exam Content and Content Allocation

The blueprint for the REG Exam is organized by area, group, and topic. The topics included in the REG blueprint cover ethics and responsibilities in tax practice, licensing and disciplinary systems, federal tax procedures, legal duties and responsibilities, business law, and federal income taxation and gift tax topics. 

REG Content Allocation

There are five content areas present on the REG Exam. The content areas and their allocation percentages are broken down in the chart below.

Content  Area
Area IEthics, Professional Responsibilities and Federal Tax Procedures10–20%
Area IIBusiness Law10–20%
Area IIIFederal Taxation of Property Transactions12–22%
Area IVFederal Taxation of Individuals15–25%
Area VFederal Taxation of Entities28–38%

REG Exam Time Strategies

Preparing for the REG Exam is challenging in both the effort and time needed to properly plan for success. With so much to focus on when studying for the exam, it is important to understand time management on exam day. The chart below is a sample time strategy breakdown to consider for the four-hour REG Exam on test day.

In order to optimize your time the most when you arrive at the test center, write your countdown times as soon as you sit to take the exam.

We suggest:

  • Aiming to be approximately halfway through your time after Testlet 3 
  • Take the built-in 15-minute break
  • Keep the approximate question time in mind to stay on track
    • MCQ: 75 –84 seconds
    • TBS (General): 15-20 minute
    • TBS (Complex): 20-25 minutes
    • Research: 10 minutes

REG Exam Scoring

A candidate’s REG score consists of 50%  MCQs while the remaining 50% comes from TBSs. The weight of the final score for a candidate will be distributed evenly between MCQs and TBSs. 


Hours Needed to Study for the REG Exam

CPA Candidates often ask how many hours it takes to study for the REG Exam. The AICPA recommends that CPA Candidates spend a minimum of 300 to 400 hours to study for the CPA Exam. That’s about 16.7 days of consecutive study time—needless to say, it’s a lot. Because we all learn differently, some sections will require more study hours than others due to the volume of material included in a section and how quickly one is able to grasp and retain the study material. Taking your study style into account and having the proper expectations on hours needed to study for and pass the CPA Exam is vital to your success. So, remember to be realistic about how many hours it will take for you to pass the CPA Exam when creating a study plan. 

REG Exam Study Tips

If you’re ready to start studying for the REG Exam now, we suggest considering some of our study tips below.

  1. Create a game plan and study schedule
  2. Set boundaries to protect your study time by saying “no” when you need to study. 
  3. Ask for support from family and friends. 
  4. Get plenty of sleep, eat well, and stay physically active. 
  5. Study on the go with mobile devices to turn a walk, workout, or time waiting in line into a study session. 
  6. Study smarter by not wasting time with ineffective study methods. 
  7. Keep your eyes on the end goal and remember why you’re taking this journey. 

 Source: CPA Exam Blueprints

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