The CPA Exam questions still cover a wide variety of topics you will find in most university accounting courses. While subject matter tested on the revised 2017 CPA Exam remains the same, candidates will see more Task Based Simulations (TBSs) in all sections as well as the addition of TBSs to the BEC section.
The number of from Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs) was reduced in all sections except the BEC exam, where MCQs increased slightly. The number of MCQs was reduced to make room for the TBSs that require more time to answer.
The AICPA also has introduced a new type of TBS in the AUD, REG and FAR exam sections. This simulation question is called Document Review Simulation (DRS). The new simulation questions are designed to test real-life tasks performed by CPAs. Answering the DRSs calls on candidates to search documents, such as legal letters, phone conversation transcripts, and authoritative literature.
Most CPA Exam Questions Are MCQs
MCQs still make up most of each exam. Each MCQ is one question and four potential answers. The TBSs require you to apply practical knowledge to complete a research question or fill out a form. You’ll find these on the AUD, BEC, FAR, and REG exams. Written Communication questions require you to respond with written essays. Only the BEC exam contains Written Communication questions.
Formats are similar for the Auditing & Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG) Exams. Half of the questions are Multiple-Choice Questions on each of these three exams and the other half are Task-Based Simulations.
The Multiple-Choice Questions are divided into two separate testlets. AUD is composed of 36 questions for each testlet, FAR is made up of 33 questions per testlet, and REG offers 38 questions per testlet. Following the MCQs on AUD, FAR and REG are Task-Based Simulations. Each exam section offers three testlets. Each testlet is divided into two, three and three TBSs for a total of eight simulations.
The BEC format is different from the other exam sections. The Business Environment & Concepts exam includes MCQs and TBSs just like the other three exams, but it is the only exam section that requires a Written Communications question.
Half of the BEC exam is Multiple-Choice Questions. Just like the other three exams, the MCQs are divided into two individual testlets. Each of those testlets contains 31 questions. Next on BEC comes two testlets of two Task-Based Simulations. There is a total of four TBSs on the BEC exam.
The final BEC testlet is composed of three Written Communication questions that require the candidate to compose a written response in memo form. One of the three questions is pre-tested.