CPA Hot Topics 02/14/11 – Research Task

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.

Often, large changes implemented by authoritative bodies have both positive and negative effects. Rarely is a sweeping revision of testing procedure perceived as picture perfect. In 2004, when the CPA exam transitioned from paper-and-pencil to computer-based, many CPA candidates wrote to Dr. Gleim with concerns about everything from the completely new exam section (BEC) to the previously unknown simulations. Now, however, the majority of candidates agree that the computerized exam is better for test takers.

The same is true for the most recent round of changes in the CPA exam’s format and functionality. For example, many customers applaud the decision to have the Written Communication in the BEC section only, while others lament the fact that they no longer have these “easy points” in the other sections. Additionally, some candidates find it easier to answer the Task-Based Simulations due to their stand-alone nature, while others prefer multiple questions on one common situation.

One change that has proven stressful to many candidates is the new Research tab format. Part of the difficulty stems from the fact that this task had just undergone an overhaul in appearance and functionality in 2010. Now, candidates who took one or more sections in 2009 and one or more sections in 2010 will need to adjust to yet another version of the Research task!

Gleim believes that all CPA candidates can master the new Research tasks and reduce their stress on test day. We recommend taking the following steps to put yourself in control:

1. Read all of Study Unit 5, Task-Based Simulations and Written Communication Questions, in the CPA Review: A System for Success booklet. This study unit contains detailed instructions with illustrative screenshots on how to complete the Research task.

2. Watch the two relevant tutorials on the AICPA’s website: “Research Questions” and “Authoritative Literature Search.”

3. Take the AICPA’s Sample Test.

4. Practice answering Research tasks using the Gleim Online and Simulation Wizard courses. Our simulations are designed to emulate the real CPA Exam to the furthest extent. When you practice Research tasks in Gleim Online or the Simulation Wizard course, you are becoming an expert on the Research task on the CPA Exam!

5. Take the Gleim Practice Exams. Each section is designed to look and function exactly like the actual CPA Exam. You will be able to practice the time-management and test-taking skills discussed throughout the Gleim System for Success, and you will feel more confident and comfortable on test day.

Once you have taken all of these steps, Gleim believes you will see the positive aspects of the new Research tasks, and you will approach the Simulations with a level of confidence that often makes the difference!

Do you have any questions or comments about this week’s Hot Topics article or the CPA Exam? Email me at 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 Take advantage of the opportunity to get help from our extraordinary team!

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