About REG CPA Exam
[Updated for 2023 - 2024]

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The Regulation (REG) CPA Exam section assesses a candidate's knowledge and skills in U.S. federal taxation, U.S. ethics and professional responsibilities related to tax practice, and U.S. business law. REG, like all other sections of the CPA Exam, is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

According to the AICPA Blueprints, federal taxation accounts for more than 60% of the REG Exam. The remaining topics tested in the REG Exam include: business law, business ethics, and professional and legal responsibilities.

The REG section of the CPA Exam in 2024 is set to undergo extensive changes. As a core section of the exam, the focus will shift toward technology-related knowledge and skills. These changes will include significant alterations to the format, structure, and content areas of the REG CPA Exam.

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How is the REG CPA Exam Scored?

Scores for the REG Exam are given on a scale of 0 to 99. Candidates need a score of 75 or higher to pass. These aren't percentages, and they shouldn't be treated as such. Scaled scores on the exam's MCQs and TBSs are determined using algorithms that take into account whether the question was successfully answered, as well as the difficulty level of each question.

For example, a candidate who answers 10 difficult questions correctly will receive a higher score than a candidate who answers 10 easy (lower value) questions correctly. Therefore, answering 75% of the questions on the exam correctly does not translate into a score of 75. There are many factors that go into a CPA Exam Score. Learn more about how the CPA Exam is scored here.

The first half of a candidate's REG Exam score is made up of MCQs, while the second half is made up of TBSs. The weight of a candidate's final score will be evenly allocated between MCQs and TBSs. This means that weightage for MCQs and TBSs are 50% each.

Steps in computing REG exam score
Steps in computing REG exam score

The REG Exam uses a process called multi-state adaptive testing. With this, the first MCQ testlet is set to 'medium' difficulty by default. The following MCQ testlet's difficulty level is determined by the candidate's performance on the first REG testlet. As a result, the candidate’s second MCQ testlet will be set to one of the following difficulty sequences:

  • Difficult - Candidate performed well on the first testlet
  • Moderate - Candidate did not perform well on the first testlet

The average difficulty of the questions in an MCQ testlet is described as 'medium' or 'difficult' for the REG Exam testlet. Each MCQ does not have a binary 'difficulty' or 'medium' value attached to it. Rather, each question's difficulty is measured on a quantitative scale.

Credit for the REG Exam MCQs is weighted by difficulty level; candidates who answer more difficult questions correctly receive more credit than answering less difficult questions correctly. As a result, a candidate with a difficult testlet is neither punished for having more difficult questions, nor is having two medium difficulty testlets advantageous.

Even with a Medium-Medium MCQ testlet sequence, it is feasible to pass the REG Exam. In these circumstances, passing requires a good-to-excellent score on the second MCQ testlet and the TBS testlets.

The REG Exam TBS testlets are pre-selected and have no bearing on the candidate's performance on the previous MCQ testlets, nor do the TBSs within the TBS testlets continue in accordance with the previous TBS.

While an MCQ can be answered correctly or incorrectly, non-research based TBSs receive partial credit. Research-based TBSs are assessed as correct or incorrect, with no partial credit provided.

REG CPA Exam Pass Rates

Students perceive the CPA Exam's Regulation section to be difficult due to the large quantity of non-accounting content presented in the exam, which includes tax law and company law. However, in 2022, REG has a cumulative pass rate of nearly 60%. This is the highest pass rate among all the CPA Exam sections. Here’s a look at the REG CPA Exam pass rates over the years:

The AICPA publishes the average CPA Exam Pass Rates, broken down by section, every quarter. The overall pass rate varies slightly by region and quarter, but it tends to settle around 45-55%. View the pass rates for each section of the CPA Exam from prior years in CPA Exam Pass Rates.

How To Study for the REG CPA Exam Section?

We estimate approximately 84-112 hours of study are required in order to pass REG, but each student is unique and has their own time requirements.

The order in which a candidate takes the four sections of the CPA Exam will vary depending on several individual factors. REG is the most standalone of all four sections and can be taken at any time during your CPA Exam process.

REG CPA Exam Study Tips

We recommend using some of the study techniques listed below:

  • Make a study regimen and a game plan you can stick to.
  • Say "no" to distractions to safeguard your study time.
  • Consider eliminating distractions during your designated study times – block Internet access, turn off notifications, tell family, friends and colleagues you will be completely unavailable.
  • Solicit help from relatives and friends.
  • Get plenty of rest, eat healthy, and exercise often.
  • Keep your sights set on the finish line and remember why you're on this adventure.
  • Gain an understanding of the regulation process by drawing on real-world experience.
  • Expand your understanding of internal control.
  • To increase your mastery, practice carefully on the portions you believe are your weakest.

Whether you're a fresh college graduate or a seasoned professional, the secret to passing the CPA Exam is to assess your priorities, create a solid CPA study plan, and take the first step toward your objectives. Year after year, applicants state that procrastination and study time management are the most difficult obstacles they face in passing the CPA Exam. Read on for our best advice on how to make your own study strategy and get started on the road to becoming a CPA here: CPA Exam Study Guide.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Students find the Regulation portion of the CPA Exam to be difficult to study due to the sheer amount of non-accounting information covered in the exam, as it incorporates tax law and business law.
The sequence in which a candidate takes the four portions of the CPA Exam is determined by a variety of factors. REG is the most self-contained of the four parts, and it may be taken at any point during the CPA Exam.
In order to pass the REG CPA Exam, we estimate that approximately 84-112 hours of study is required, although each student is different and has different time constraints.
Because tax and corporate law are challenging subjects, you should concentrate on them first. One way to learn about the regulatory process is by applying what you’ve learned in the real world. You should also put more attention on federal taxation, particularly income and inheritance taxation, and extensively study it. You should also broaden your knowledge of internal controls.

The CPA Exam is undergoing extensive changes starting January 2024 as part of the CPA Evolution. The AICPA developed the 2024 CPA Evolution in association with NASBA to retain the CPA Exam’s credibility by modifying it to reflect the constantly advancing skills and competencies required for the profession.

In this new core-plus-discipline model, the CPA Exam will have 3 core sections that will be taken by all candidates. It will also have 3 discipline sections, of which candidates will select only one section. The REG Exam will be considered one of the Core CPA Exam sections in 2024.

Yes. The 18-month rule will still apply to the REG CPA Exam in 2024. However, please be aware that NASBA and the AICPA announced an 18-month credit extension to allow for the transition from the current to the 2024 CPA Exam. This rule states that any CPA Exam components passed before January 1, 2024, shall be valid until June 30, 2025. Despite the fact that this law has been adopted in the majority of states, not all 55 states and jurisdictions have done so yet. Make sure to check where your state stands in this process!

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