Everything You Need to Know about the CPA Exam DRS: Part 1



Watch Gleim CPA Review’s detailed video to learn how to approach and answer a Document Review Simulation (DRS) from start to finish. “Everything You Need to Know About the DRS on the 2016 CPA Exam” is a recorded version of our live webinar led by Professor of Accountancy Amy Ford, CPA, CMA. The DRS is a type of Task-Based Simulation (TBS), and it is the most significant change affecting the 2016 CPA Exam. The DRS could appear on the AUD, FAR, and REG sections of the CPA Exam as early as July 1, 2016.


Click here to view the first video in our three-part series.

2016 CPA Exam Changes

Before covering the details of the CPA Exam DRS, Amy briefly mentions the other changes to the 2016 CPA Exam that went into effect this past January. These changes included new exam software, a modified toolbar, and a modern design.

An Explanation of the DRS

The DRS is a new 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 the DRS

The AICPA has installed this addition to the CPA Exam in order to increase the exam’s authenticity. The AICPA feels that 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 on the DRS, so CPA candidates must be prepared to do the same in order to qualify for the certification.

An Introduction to a DRS

The DRS featured in the video instructs candidates to review a draft press release and make any changes necessary to ensure that the press release is accurate and consistent with the excerpts from the quarterly financial statement and the related notes included in the financial statements tab.

To help candidates complete this task, the DRS in the video supplies candidates with a series of tabs. These tabs include:

  • The Document Review tab, which returns candidates to the actual document if they have moved to another tab
  • The Authoritative Literature tab, which links to the FASB Codification Table of Contents where candidates can conduct any necessary research
  • The Financial Statements tab, which links to the related financial data
  • The Help tab, which gives detailed information on what is expected and displays in blue each portion of text that must be edited

These are the four tabs featured in this particular DRS, but another type of tab candidates may encounter in the DRS is the Exhibits tab. The Exhibits tab may contain several documents such as balance sheets, emails, meeting minutes, and memorandums.

After Professor Ford explains the different components of the DRS she is working on, she begins the process of addressing each underlined portion of text in the document review. She then shares very important information about answering DRSs: candidates must click on every underlined portion of text in the DRS in order to receive full credit for completing the simulation. Even if the underlined text is correct and does not need any edits, candidates still have to click on it to submit their answer. Amy cites evidence for this obligation in the fact that one of the options for editing an underlined portion of text allows candidates to leave the text as originally stated. Therefore, even if the section is correct, candidates still have to select the section and choose this option.

If the text should not be included in the document at all, candidates should choose the option to delete the text. The other options available let candidates revise or rephrase the underlined text. When candidates select an option, a blue check mark appears at the end of the underlined text to communicate that this text has been addressed. Finally, candidates must click the “Accept” button so that the test will keep their changes.

Everything You Need to Know about the CPA Exam DRS Continued

In Part 2 of this video series, Amy moves through the press release step-by-step so that candidates know how to approach the DRS. Watch the second part next, and discover the features of the Gleim CPA Review System that can help you prepare to master the DRS and pass the CPA Exam in 2016.