CPA Exam Document Review Simulations: DRS

CPA exam document review simulations

Within the task-based simulation (TBS) testlets of each section of the CPA Exam, you may encounter a Document Review Simulation (DRS). CPA Exam Document Review Simulations are an intricate question type that offers a unique challenge to CPA candidates, but you can prepare to best DRSs by learning more about them.

An Explanation of CPA Exam Document Review Simulations

The DRS is a type of task-based simulation in which candidates will be given a realistic document and the source materials that go with it. The document will contain highlighted words, phrases, sentences, or even paragraphs that may or may not be correct. The candidate will be responsible to determine which edits are necessary if any at all.

The Purpose of CPA Exam Document Review Simulations

The AICPA designed the DRS to test the candidates’ application, analysis, and/or evaluation skills and thereby increase the exam’s authenticity. The DRS represents tasks that most if not all newly licensed CPAs must perform. Licensed CPAs are expected to create and edit documents like those found in each DRS, so CPA candidates must be prepared to do the same in order to qualify for the certification.

The Number of CPA Exam Document Review Simulations

As mentioned, the DRSs will present themselves within the TBS testlets of each section of the CPA Exam. There are five testlets total for each exam section, and the TBS testlets appear after the two multiple-choice (MCQ) testlets that you will see first. AUD, FAR, and REG each have three testlets that present a total of eight TBSs, so the TBSs appear in Testlets 3, 4, and 5 for these sections. You should expect to see at least one DRS within these three testlets. BEC has two testlets that contain a total of four TBSs, and the TBSs show up in Testlets 3 and 4 for this section. Again, you should brace yourself for at least one BEC DRS. The fifth BEC testlet is dedicated to Written Communications (WCs) rather than TBSs. For AUD, FAR, and REG, the TBS testlets contribute 50% of your total score, and they provide 35% of your total score for BEC.

CPA Exam Task-Based Simulations Overview

AUD

BEC

FAR

REG

Total TBSs

8

4

8

8

Testlet 3

2

2

2

2

Testlet 4

3

2

3

3

Testlet 5

3

N/A (WCs)

3

3

Scoring Weight

50%

35%

50%

50%

The Components of CPA Exam Document Review Simulations

The DRSs always include the actual document you must review and correct as well as several resources that will help you complete the DRS. These resources are the same that you would find in any other TBS.

  • Exhibits: Exhibits may have information necessary for completing the DRS. Types of exhibits may include financial statements, emails, letters, invoices, memoranda, or minutes from a meeting. The tools at the top right of the screen let you change the layout of open exhibits or close all open exhibits at once.
  • Calculator: The calculator is a basic tool for simple calculations similar to those used in common software programs.
  • Excel: Excel functions like the desktop version of the software and is useful for performing complex calculations. You can copy and paste from Excel to the calculator and vice versa.
  • Authoritative Literature: The Authoritative Literature tool is available in every TBS testlet for each section. You can use either the Table of Contents or the Search function to locate the correct guidance when researching for DRSs.
  • Overview: The Overview icon launches a pop-up box containing the first sentence of each testlet question in numerical order. Here you can flag questions or review previously flagged questions.
  • Help: The Help tool explains the most important functions and tools on the exam. It features directions and general information but not information specifically related to the exam content.
  • Question Navigation: To navigate between simulations, click any number icon in the navigation bar under the clock, one of the arrows surrounding the orange number icon at the top left of the simulation, or one of the arrows at the bottom of the screen. Clicking the flag icon next to the orange number above the simulation serves as a reminder to go back and review the DRS again if you have time.

The Process of Completing CPA Exam Document Review Simulations

To effectively answer a DRS, follow these steps.

  1. Begin by familiarizing yourself with every part of the DRS.

    Review the document and each exhibit so you know what is being asked and what information is available.

  2. Read each underlined section and answer choice carefully and completely.

    Each underlined portion of text will be followed by a blue icon with a white outline inside.
    Clicking the underlined text reveals five to seven answer choices that may include the option to revise the text, retain the original text, or delete the text. Verify that each word or amount is correct in your choice before making your answer selection. To finalize your answer, you must click the “Accept” button. You must make an answer selection for every modifiable section of a DRS because each counts as a separate question. You will know an answer has been selected when you see that the white outline in the blue icon has changed to a white checkmark.

  3. 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 document you are revising.

  4. Double-check that you have responded to each underlined portion of text.

    If you have time, go through the entire DRS once more to confirm that every underlined section has a white checkmark next to it.

The Preparation for CPA Exam Document Review Simulations

While the DRS does include many moving parts and tests your skills at higher levels than some other CPA Exam questions, it can be perfectly manageable with sufficient practice. Before you face a DRS on the actual CPA Exam, you’ll need to develop a strong understanding of the exam content and a lengthy history with this question type. When you depend on Gleim CPA for your CPA exam prep, you’ll get all that and more.

Gleim CPA Review features our innovative SmartAdaptTM technology that leads you down a personalized learning path to CPA Exam success by assessing your study needs and then directing you to focus on your weak areas. SmartAdaptTM also tracks the difficulty level of the questions you’ve answered, just like the AICPA does. SmartAdapt then presents detailed visual analytics so you have an accurate view of your study status. This perspective is crucial for your DRS preparation, so see SmartAdaptTM in action by accessing our free CPA course demo today!