Ask the NINJAs: Should You Do CPA Exam Practice Tests?

16 Jul 2012

Ask the NINJAs


Dear NINJAs,

I take FAR on the 19th and am getting a little nervous. I have worked all the homework problems and 2 final exams and got a 76 and 62 on them. I was ok with the 76 but am a little nervous about the 62.

I also took another practice test and got a 78. I've heard from most of my friends that are taking the CPA exams that my review course over-preps you for FAR and that practice tests are usually a lot more difficult than the actual exam…is this true?

Also, a few of my friends who are preparing for the exams said that you can safely add 10-15 points to your practice exam score and that would be a good indicator as to how you may score on the actual exam…true?

Just want to get a feel as to where I am at score-wise. -Matt



We are not a fan of practice exams.

If practice exams had a page on Facebook, we would not “Like” it.

If practice exams invited us over for a baby shower, we would check “no” on the RSVP.

That's just how we roll.

A practice exam doesn't really tell you anything.

For one – the exam may or may not be representative of actual CPA Exam content.

Two – CPA Study Software doesn't ratchet the difficulty up or down depending on how you're doing, so essentially you're getting a % correct – which is not how the CPA Exam is scored.

Finally – even if the questions are representative and they do use adaptive scoring … what does it tell you … that at this point in time you're ready for the exam? Great, but what if the exam is 2 weeks away?

As far as the 10-15 points thing … who knows.

If you score a 75 on a practice exam – that means a 90? Don't bank on it.

That sounds like a recipe for over-confidence and under-performance on exam day.

Instead of doing practice tests for the CPA Exam, we recommend doing intensive “mini testlets” over specific exam topics, beginning with your weakest area first.

Let's say you're terrified of Government Accounting. Do 20 MCQs over Governmental Accounting. If you're scoring below 70% (an arbitrary benchmark) … do another set of 20. After you're scoring 70-80% (again, not a magic number), move on to your next-weakest area.

Keep rocking NINJA MCQ (a href=””>NINJA MCQ).



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