CPA Exam Questions: What to Expect

CPA Exam Questions WhattoExpect Image

When studying for the CPA Exam, reading is great, taking notes is helpful, but answering practice CPA Exam questions is the best way to study. Nothing prepares you for sitting for the exam as much as practicing the CPA exam questions and simulations. Here’s what you need to know to prepare.

Exam Length and Format

The length and format of the four sections of the exam are as follows:

AUD – 4 hours – 3 multiple-choice question (MCQ) testlets consisting of a total of 90 questions. 1 testlet with 7 task-based simulations (TBS)

BEC – 3 hours – 3 MCQ testlets consisting of a total of 72 questions, 1 testlet with 3 written communication (WC) tasks

FAR – 4 hours – 3 MCQ testlets consisting of a total of 90 questions, 1 testlet with 7 TBSs

REG – 3 hours – 3 MCQ testlets consisting of a total of 72 questions, 1 testlet with 6 TBSs

The testlets are groups of questions that are constructed to appear together. The exam is structured so that if you answer a question wrong, you are more likely to see that topic come up again. The software is testing you to see if you really understand the concepts. Was your wrong answer just a fluke, or do you not understand the material? If you were unsure of an answer you gave and you see the topic come up several more times, it’s a good bet that you answered that MCQ incorrectly and the software is sussing out your knowledge of the topic.

The AICPA provides sample CPA exam questions and tutorial. While this sample test does not contain actual exam content and will not take the place of study materials, it can help you get comfortable with the MCQs, TBSs, and WCs on the exam.

Multiple Choice Questions

A big portion of all four sections of the exam are the MCQs. The best way to handle MCQs is to read the question very carefully. There is a big difference between a question that reads, “Which of these answers is most correct?” and a question that reads “Which of these answers is not correct?”

Likewise, read all answers carefully as well. Don’t jump the gun if one answer immediately jumps out at you. There are questions that may have two correct answers and selecting “D: Both A and B are correct” is the right answer.

Task-Based Simulations

TBSs can count for a large percentage of your score, so be sure to leave yourself enough time to this type of CPA Exam Question. TBSs often require the use of spreadsheets and research. If you are familiar enough with the exam content to do well on the MCQs and you’ve familiarized yourself with the software using the AICPA’s sample test, you should be able to handle the TBSs with ease.

Written Communication

The final type of CPA Exam question is the written communication. WCs can feel like the most daunting portion of the exam, but if you know what to expect, they’re actually one of the easiest. Like TBSs, if you are familiar enough with the material to handle the MCQs, you should have the body of knowledge you need to handle the WCs. Remember, you’re not graded on whether your WC is technically correct. You just need to use the keywords they’re looking for and use proper business grammar.

Practice doesn’t always mean perfect, but it just might mean a passing grade. Answer as many sample CPA Exam questions as you can in your studies, familiarize yourself with the software and techniques for answering the simulations, and you’ll be on your way.

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