CPA Exam Simulation Grading: a clarification

15 Jan 2009


It is widely believed (and I held it to be true up until today) that only one simulation is graded on the CPA Exam.

This is not true.

Someone passed on to me some information from a contact at the AICPA in New York that both simulations are graded, but only one written communication is graded and the other communication is pre-test and doesn't count.

This doesn't really affect anything that you do on exam day – it just reinforces the fact that budgeting enough time for the 2nd simulation is very important.

Thanks for reading.


Bobby Boucher Jr. 15 years ago

It is strange all the pre-testing questions stuff they do.

Both of mine seemed run of the mill questions nothing new just more of the same.

I guess pre-test questions can still be old material just a new questions covering it again.

Anonymous 15 years ago

I had the nuts and bolts simulation and know I bombed it, yet still passed the Auditing test. Someone got the same Sim and got a 99 on Auditing, and he/she thought they bobmed that Sim. So Im not sure if that got graded, by the 99, it was NOT graded

Anonymous 15 years ago

I wouldn't publish this information. 15 years ago

Feel free to share further why I shouldn't publish this.

CPA junkie 15 years ago

I think they means the reference to the nuts & bolts sim they had on a exam

I would delete that post; it I assume is a specific reference to a actual exam simulation audit and attestation

I think the actual topic posted is ok it is really just more theory

it is the Anonymous one at 5:38 not waterboy's

Christopher "Cru" Jones 15 years ago

Roger cpa review has this statement backing up another 71 Rogers website states "Communication in simulations is not as hard as you think While many exam candidates panic at the thought of the communications section, it isn't nearly as hard as it seems. Only one of these (of two) is actually graded. Remember that it's just like writing a business letter - as long as you respect the rules of good grammar and proper punctuation, you'll be fine!"

Foxy 15 years ago

I read research is only worth one lame point and you only get points for correct answers


rod7896 15 years ago

I had the "nuts and bolts" sim for audit, and received a 99. I don't see what all the fuss was about - it was somewhat confusing, but certainly not impossible.

Anonymous 15 years ago

nothing on the exam is impossible if you prepare accordingly

I think the exam is hard just because all the stress factors outside the test

time constraints

are my biggest problems

the material is nice and knowing it in and out helps you in the profession

Anonymous 15 years ago

i don't know if saying this is fair game, please delete if it isn't, but i skipped a sim on reg and made an 83. i didn't want to skip it, i just didn't understand it. i guess that's why i always figured they only graded one.

Anonymous 15 years ago

The AICPA has issued several publications since the computer-based exam took effect that clearly states that both simulations are graded, however one or more tabs on each may be pretest, and that only one communication is graded. If you read the actual literature that the AICPA distributes rather than relying on second-hand interpretations you can save yourself alot of trouble. 15 years ago

I can tell you that it is a widely-held belief among candidates that only one sim is graded. Call it misinformation, misunderstanding, or urban it whatever you want, but many candidates (including myself) think/thought this. is vague on the scoring and when many details surrounding the exam are less than transparent, sometimes second-hand info is all that we can go on.

If you have a link to some AICPA literature that would shed some more light on the scoring process, then please share would be much appreciated.


Anonymous 15 years ago

who cares.

zod 15 years ago

only a fool would budget time for 1 sim and play "CPA lottery" and hope that the sim they chose was the "real one".

Anonymous 15 years ago

I agree with the poster at 5:05. I have seen several pieces of literature explaining sim grading. If you thought only one sim was graded you must not read up much on the exam. 15 years ago

If you know of a link to an article, please pass it on.


Anonymous 15 years ago

I am glad you clarified that. I had never heard that before, so found it odd that you were so strongly promoting that.
Now what about the 'myth' that the questions get harder. Have we been able to clarify that one?

Anonymous 15 years ago

the questions do get harder. It is not a myth.
A multistage adaptive test delivery model is used for Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG) multiple-choice testlets. This means that the first testlet presented to the candidate is at a level of moderate difficulty. Subsequent testlets - at the same or slightly more difficult level - are then chosen automatically based on the examinee's performance on the previous testlet.

At the present time, Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) does not follow the adaptive model, and is composed of testlets at the moderate level of difficulty only.

The simulations presented in FAR, AUD, and REG do not follow the adaptive model. They are not selected on the basis of prior performance.

Anonymous 15 years ago

I'm looking forward to your post projecting when grades will be released.

Thanks for continuing this blog Jeff!

Anonymous 15 years ago

Im getting crushed by FAR practice taking exam end of feb, does anyone have any advice for keeping all of these rules in order, becker is not doing enough for me

Rob in TX 15 years ago

more time is the only thing that will work for FAR

maybe you take it and keep studying and if you pass then just call it more wasted time if you don't then it will be money in the bank for round 2

it really is like a 70-80 day review to absorb all that into a melon

atleast that is the way I am doing it maybe even a 90day review

Anonymous 15 years ago

I took FAR last week - I ran out of time before I finished the second sim. To me the third test did not seem any harder than first test - but then the first test hit a lot on gov't which is my worst topic.

I have found that is hard for me to figure out what are the hard questions. I am using Yeager and when Cindy says this is a real hard question - I did not find it hard but others which she does not say anything about I find hard.

I was planning on starting to study for REG. Now unsure if I should go back and keep studying FAR until I get the grades or keep on the path of REG.

Anonymous 15 years ago

If you feel like you wont reach 75 then it is better to study for FAR
FAR is vast and you have a better chance at it next time since you've just spent a lot of time on it.

Reg was the hardest section for me since I have no exposure to US taxes - I would prefer to finish FAR first and then tackle REG which is a monster for me!

Jeff 15 years ago

"I was planning on starting to study for REG. Now unsure if I should go back and keep studying FAR until I get the grades or keep on the path of REG."

Keep in mind that if you did actually fail (not saying you did, but just hypothetically), the earliest you can take it again is April. Only studying FAR from now until then seems like an overkill.

If it were me, I would put FAR aside, start on REG, then once you get your FAR score back (if you failed), schedule the re-take, put REG aside, and start reviewing FAR again. This way you safeguard yourself against lost study time if you actually passed.

AJ the Accountant 15 years ago

Taking audit tomorrow.. the simulations (especially writing portion) are a big nervous patch for me... do they make you memorize the audit reports for all the different opinions in the writing portion? I can remember what is generally in each but the exact wording is practically impossible!

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