Video – NINJA Framework + Simulations


Cole asks, “I had a question related to the Ninja Study Framework. I'm not seeing anywhere in the Framework on how to incorporate doing the SIMs or doing practice tests. Do you have a suggestion or advice on how to tackle those if at all?”

I used to tell people that I was not a fan of SIMs and maybe do 80% MCQ 20% SIMs, because I've always held that if you understand the content well enough to do the MCQ then you know well enough to do the Simulations because the SIMs are just a natural application of the concepts that you're already learning from the MCQ. Quite a few people probably disagree with me on that, especially because the SIMs used to be 40% of the CPA exam, now it's 50%. It's 50/50. So the combination of the higher weight of the SIMS and also a little bit of friendly pushback about my stance so I can go 70% MCQ 30% SIMS.

If I were studying today, I'd probably do 70/30. So I still hold that if you understand the tax concepts, if you understand the F150 pneumonic for a farmer's tax return and regulation then that will help you do like a simulation if you have a farmer's SIM. Or if you understand M1 and M2 for corporate tax then you'll probably do okay on a simulation because it's just a natural extension/application of what you already know. But at a bare minimum, I would do the AICPA sample test because it's like five questions, but you also get to do the SIMs and get familiar with the format, especially the research component. Make sure that you know how to do the research component for the AICPA sample test.

Practice exams? I hate practice exams. I tell people that they are a waste of time. People still insist on doing them. A practice exam, it's again, a waste of time because, just because you score a 75% on your practice exam, that doesn't mean that you're going to pass the CPA exam. Anecdotally, unofficially, I think that a 75 on the CPA exam is kinda like a B+, A-, probably an A-. And so that's based on nothing other than just my gut feel, so you can spend four hours doing a practice exam and all you've done is waited four hours to get the feedback on questions one, two, and three.

I am a bigger fan of doing questions in study mode and getting the immediate feedback. I think practice exams, they don't tell you, really, how you're doing other than just a percentage, but what's that good for? And then you have to wait hours to get feedback on your questions and then you have to go back through them, “okay, I got this one wrong.” Ya know, why? I'm a bigger fan of doing questions in study mode, immediate feedback, take a note or two if you need to over the question, and move on.


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