BEC Written communication

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    I know this has been touched on a lot on this forum, but I am still worried. I test for BEC in a few days and have not practiced these at all. I see many people seem to not practice and say they are easy and “free points.” Should I be worried or do I just need to write a coherent memo or letter? If they are free points why does the test even contain them if most people are passing BEC at a higher percentage than other test, which people attribute to WC and the “free points (I also see people attribute it to being many candidates last test). Wouldn't the AICPA adjust the grading if they saw they were just giving away free points?


    You should understand what could be asked. These are not free points and require decent writing skills. Make sure to cover proper keywords to ensure good grading for the written portion


    I would practice. I did and it helped. Timing is everything. You’ll need at least 10-15 minutes per written question at min. Focus on structure and grammar. Review sample responses provided by the AICPA mock exam to know what they are generally looking for.

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    Don't worry about the content they could ask you about, but I would definitely at least look over some sample WC answers so that you have the format in your head. I ended up writing out a basic format with the # of paragraphs, and sample intro/conclusion sentences. It helps to know what the format should look like so you aren't trying to waste time during the exam figuring it out.

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    Definitely agree with Bigstakk and Lindsey – I would go in knowing you should have some sort of introduction restating the topic and the facts, a few body paragraphs (4-6 sentences each) with good topic sentences and conclusions, and a conclusion with a brief summary

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    Let's do this

    I was most concerned about these when I was preparing for the exam. I lucked out and got topics I knew about well enough.

    Sometimes while studying for the exam Id get a WC question and not be really sure how to answer. You cannot practice for every single question but you can learn how to write in a way that scores well and focus on learning the concepts by doing tons of MCQs. If I had to do it again Id do a lot more MCQs than I did.

    The course I used repeatedly stated to make sure to have an intro, body and conclusion. Often you can get some points for just rewriting the question. So just a typical essay style format but nothing too complicated or too long as long as you answer the question, use proper English and throw in as many keywords related to the topic as you can.

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    I know this thread is a little old, but I did a little googling to see if I could find some AICPA examples and didn't have any luck. Anyone have a handy link? I passed BEC years and years ago and oddly enough the writing is the part that worries me more than anything and I've worked in internal audit where I did a lot of writing.

    Really appreciate it in advance!

    My teenage son to me "If you don't pass, it isn't like you'll die or anything."  True.  Very true.  Just do your best, it's all you can do.

    @sdollen64 – If you want to see an AICPA example of this I would suggest going through the BEC sample test, as that has two WC. Here's a link for a general format to keep in mind when doing the WC section.

    I followed the above format, and was able to pass BEC, and honestly, I wasn't even all that confident in the question and content on hand. Just use buzz words and have proper grammar and punctuation. There's a good bit of information buried on this forum regarding the BEC WC section.

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    Practicing helps, but the stuff they ask for the written portion you have already studied for. Doing mcqs & other sims prepares you for the essays. I set aside like 6 hours the week before my exam only to go over “the most common” topics they may ask about. I think they are looking for well formed paragraphs, not an over abundance of all information you know about the topic. I tried to avoid any opinions that might be interpreted as incorrect. – coming from someone who took a ridiculously long time for college papers and doesn't care for writing memos at work.

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    Thanks for the link CH89 – that is extremely helpful to at least see a template. Thanks for the input too, jd!

    My teenage son to me "If you don't pass, it isn't like you'll die or anything."  True.  Very true.  Just do your best, it's all you can do.

    Decent writing skills and some solid keywords can mask a deficiency over an essay topic.

    Jeff Elliott, CPA (KS)
    NINJA CPA Review
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