07/26/2011 – 20 Questions

Garrett Gleim sends CPA candidates bimonthly emails concerning different aspects of the CPA exam. Candidates can see the most recent email and all the archives here on the CPA Candidate Forum.

Occasionally, a Gleim candidate will email me asking why we use 20-question quizzes instead of 24-question quizzes for BEC and REG and 30-question quizzes for AUD and FAR. The answer is simple and straightforward. We use 20-question tests in our Gleim Online courses because they are of sufficient length to challenge you but are not too long. Based on four decades of experience helping more than 1,000,000 CPA candidates, we are very confident in recommending and using 20-question tests. You will have no trouble doing 24- or 30-question testlets in 35 or 45 minutes, respectively, on the CPA exam after extensive practice with Gleim’s 20-question quizzes.

Your largest potential problem — and your greatest potential advantage — on the CPA exam is time management. You must budget your time between multiple exam testlets by the use of a time remaining clock displaying hours and minutes. We recommend budgeting 1.5 minutes per multiple-choice question on each of the four exam sections. Thus, whenever you practice with Gleim, each 20-question quiz should be completed in 30 minutes under exam conditions.

In my own experience of studying for the CPA exam, I used only 20-question quizzes. I would go through each study unit and not move on to the next study unit until I could consistently achieve a score of 75% or higher on 20-question quizzes. When I went to take the actual exam, I had no difficulty taking the longer testlets. While some candidates are concerned that taking the leap from 20-question quizzes to 24- or 30-question testlets could be awkward and possibly affect their attention span, I did not find this to be an issue. In fact, I couldn’t mentally differentiate a difference in time between the 20-question quizzes I took when studying versus the actual exam testlets, although this was probably more a function of test adrenaline. In other words, when I answered the first 20 questions in a testlet, I wasn’t ready to stop; I had the energy to answer the rest of the questions without needing any mental break. This approach is the same as one used by long-distance runners training for a marathon. They rarely run the marathon distance in practice, opting instead for a high number of shorter runs. This method helps them maintain performance throughout training, avoid burnout, and perform at a high level on race day, just like you want to do at the Test Center.

Do you have any questions or comments about this week’s Hot Topics article or the CPA Exam? Email me at hottopics@gleim.com. Gleim Personal Counselors are available to help you develop a manageable study schedule and help you pass the CPA exam. Contact them at 800.874.5346, ext 498 or personalcounselor@gleim.com. Take advantage of the opportunity to get help from our extraordinary team!

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