The IRS Special Enrollment Exam, known as the SEE, is a 3-part exam. Each part is 3.5 hours long, plus half an hour for tutorial at the beginning and survey at the end.
SEE Exam Structure
The exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions with equal weighting. 85 questions are scored questions and 15 questions are experimental.
By experimental questions, it means that these questions are included to test for their suitability for future exams. They are not scored.
A new exam is introduced each May based on tax law through December 31 of the previous year.
SEE Exam Format in 3 Parts
The exam is divide into three exam sections:
- Part 1: Individual
- Part 2: Business
- Part 3: Representation
EA Exam Part 1
Part 1 focuses on individual taxation, covering income from various sources, deduction and credits, as well as specialized items such as estate and gift tax. It also touches upon an EA’s advisory role. You can see the breakdown on the right.
This part is relatively straight-forward with pass rate in the range of 77 – 83% in the last three years.
|1. Preliminary Work and Taxpayer Data||2. Income and Assets|
|3. Deductions and Credits||4. Taxation and Advice|
|5. Specialized Returns for Individuals|
EA Exam Part 2
Part 2 covers business taxation. It is considerably more difficult given the more complex nature of corporate taxation. This is reflected in the lower pass rate of 60% for the past 3 years.
A basic knowledge in accounting will help in Part 2. It’s also worth spending more time on practice questions for this part.
|1. Business Entities||2. Business Financial Information|
|3. Specialized Return and Taxpayers|
EA Exam Part 3
Interestingly, Part 3 is likely the easiest for most candidates. The pass rate hovered around 86 and 88% in the last 3 years.
|1. Practices and Procedures||2. Representation before the IRS|
|3. Specific Types of Representation||4. Completion of the Filing Process|
For Your Reference