Task-Based Simulations: CPA Exam Strategies

On every section of the CPA Exam, you will encounter Task-Based Simulations (TBSs). A Task-Based Simulation is a CPA Exam question type that requires you to complete four to eight tasks using the information provided, and they can be quite complex. However, you don’t need to let them intimidate you. You just need to learn the exam content and practice answering TBSs.

Task-Based Simulations: CPA Exam Numbers

In order to replicate the real-life problem-solving skills of a CPA, the exam contains simulations that require you to synthesize information and/or evaluate data. Task-Based Simulations are constructive response questions with information presented either within the question or in separate information tabs. Question responses may be in the form of entering amounts or formulas into a spreadsheet, choosing the correct answer from a list of answers in a pop-up box, completing accounting or tax forms, or reviewing and completing or correcting a draft of a document. In the AUD, FAR, and REG exam sections, you will also have to complete a Research task, which requires you to research the relevant authoritative literature and cite the appropriate guidance as indicated. You will not have to complete a Research task in BEC.

Each section of the CPA Exam contains testlets of Task-Based Simulations (TBSs). The number of TBS testlets as well as the number of TBSs within each testlet are the same for each exam section except BEC:

Number of Task-Based Simulations on the CPA Exam

AUD

BEC

FAR

REG

8 Total TBSs

4 Total TBSs

8 Total TBSs

8 Total TBSs

Testlet 3: 2 TBSs

Testlet 3: 2 TBSs

Testlet 3: 2 TBSs

Testlet 3: 2 TBSs

Testlet 4: 3 TBSs

Testlet 4: 2 TBSs

Testlet 4: 3 TBSs

Testlet 4: 3 TBSs

Testlet 5: 3 TBSs

 Testlet 5: 3 WCs

Testlet 5: 3 TBSs

Testlet 5: 3 TBSs

 

Task-Based Simulations: CPA Exam Answering Techniques

Knowing how to work through the simulations is key, so prepare to maximize your TBS testlet scores by applying the following suggestions:

  1. Budget your time so you can finish before time expires.
    • Allot small segments of the total testing time to each specific task. We recommend you budget 18 minutes for each TBS.
    • Monitor your progress to ensure that you will have enough time to complete all the tasks.
    • Use a CPA Exam time management system to determine the time at which you need to start and finish each TBS testlet.
  1. Spend the first few minutes reading the directions and scanning each TBS.
    • Spend no more than 3 minutes previewing the TBSs you received by clicking through the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.
    • You will not need to spend any time on the default directions page, as you should be familiar with its contents after practicing with the Gleim CPA Review System and the AICPA Sample Tests. You can therefore dedicate the full time (minus a minute for scanning to preview) to responding.
    • You will be familiar with the layout of the TBSs and prepared to jump right in if you have been reviewing with Gleim TBSs under exam conditions.
  1. Answer all the tasks within the time limit for each testlet.
    • Read all information tabs (e.g., financial statements, memos, etc.) associated with the tab you are working on before you attempt to answer the simulation. The AICPA has been placing more emphasis on including pertinent information in the information tabs to assess candidates’ ability to analyze documents.
    • Completely understand the information in the exhibits. Quickly survey the various items, then specifically analyze the most relevant facts to reduce the possible answer choices. Keep in mind that the relevant information may be presented or worded differently than in the TBS.
    • Do not skip any of the questions within a tab. Always make an educated guess if you are unsure of the answer. Set a reminder for yourself to go back if you have time and confirm your answers by clicking the flag icon under the number of the TBS in the navigation toolbar at the bottom of the screen. There is no penalty for incorrect answers, so do not move on without at least entering your best guess.
  1. Spend any remaining time wisely to maximize your points.
    • Ask yourself where you will earn the most points.
    • Move from task to task systematically, reviewing and completing each one. Focus specifically on any TBS you flagged.
    • Only spend 18 minutes on each TBS to ensure that you stay within your budgeted time.

Task-Based Simulations: CPA Exam Review

Plenty of practice with TBSs allows you to master these answering techniques and finish the CPA Exam simulations with complete confidence. You can get all the TBS practice you need with the largest test bank on the market. The Gleim CPA Test Bank offers 13,500+ questions and simulations that mirror the look and feel of the CPA Exam better than any other course. Tap into a sampling of our test bank today by accessing these free CPA Exam questions.