Contact Us : 800.874.5346 | International: +1 352.375.0772
Contact Us : 800.874.5346 | International: +1 352.375.0772

How does SmartAdapt work?

How does SmartAdapt Work?

As the leader in CPA Exam preparation for over 45 years, Gleim is dedicated to helping candidates pass the CPA Exam. We released our adaptive learning system, SmartAdapt™, in 2017, which we designed from the ground up to guide candidates through our comprehensive content and deliver the best exam prep experience.

But what is SmartAdapt, and can it really help you pass the CPA Exam more effectively? Let’s look at how our innovative technology will help you pass the CPA Exam on your first try!

Before you login

All of our material is expertly authored by accountants and industry professionals with a background in education. The CPA Exam is difficult, so we use techniques teachers and instructors use to make sure our materials are easy to understand and use.

Our authors and accounting experts look at the CPA Exam Blueprints released by the AICPA to see what content will be tested on the exam and at what skill level. We then group topics together based on a natural learning curve and then divide them into study units. This grouping helps candidates learn and grasp the material at their own pace and in an order that makes sense.

To earn their best possible score, CPA Exam candidates need to learn all of the testable topics. Efficiently breaking up the content is key to tackling everything on the CPA Exam because trying to study it all at once is overwhelming and frustrating. Mastering a few topics at a time builds confidence and momentum.

While analyzing the CPA Exam Blueprints, we note the level of knowledge candidates will need for each topic and ensure our Multiple-Choice Questions and Task-Based Simulations evaluate at that level. We also set a soft priority for different topics, allowing SmartAdapt to make recommendations to candidates who are equally proficient in a number of areas. Our goal is for candidates to master all topics as best they can before exam day.

All this happens before you log in for the first time, ensuring that your first study session is as productive as your last.

Getting started

Every study unit in the Gleim course starts with an initial study session designed to set your baseline. It gives SmartAdapt a high-level overview of what you know before you dive into the material so it can start planning your studies. Candidates are encouraged to take their time on the baseline. SmartAdapt will only look at your initial answer, but you will get immediate feedback on whether your answer was correct or not.

Expect to get low scores on these study sessions, and don’t let your performance bother you! An initial low score just means there are things you still need to learn, which makes perfect sense at this stage in your studies. If you aced them all, you’d probably be ready to sit for your exam.

Instead of just looking at your score, focus on how you performed on each topic area. Did you score better on some? This insight can help put your score into perspective and give you a preview of what’s to come. SmartAdapt looks at these scores too and uses this information to make recommendations on what to study. The goal is to build your mastery and maximize your score, so it will focus on the areas in which you need the most improvement.

Example of a quiz result in Gleim's SmartAdapt system, showcasing both strong and weak areas.

Reviewing questions

After you finish a quiz, including the baseline diagnostic study session, you will be able to go back and review each question. For each question, you’ll see whether you answered correctly and be given an explanation as to why your answer is right or wrong. Every question in our test bank (the largest available) has explanations for the right and wrong answers. We really recommend you take the time to review each question and all four answer choices, even if you were right.

Understanding whether your reasoning was correct is just as important as getting the right answer because you’re not just preparing for an exam; you’re learning the skills you will need to perform well in your career. And because the CPA Exam is non-disclosed, which means no one knows the exact questions that will be on it, it’s imperative to know how to arrive at the correct answer instead of simply memorizing information. You might not be lucky next time.

Reviewing questions can also help you identify test-taking mistakes you may be making, such as rushing through and not reading the full question or answer choices. Identifying these mistakes early allows you to build a better test-taking strategy for the actual exam.

After each quiz (including the diagnostic session), SmartAdapt highlights the topics within each study unit to focus on. It will recommend either reading the Outline or watching our Gleim Instruct Videos for those topics, but there are also supplemental options you can select as well, such as the digital flashcards and audio lectures. You can choose whatever you like, and SmartAdapt will adjust.

Practice, learn, repeat

After studying, it’s time to see how much you’ve improved. Taking another Multiple-Choice Question or Task-Based Simulation quiz will test your knowledge and let you see where you still need practice.

Multiple-Choice and Task-Based Simulations

Multiple-Choice quizzes are quick to work through, taking roughly 25-30 minutes to complete. Having a quick way to gauge your progress is important as it allows you to spend more of your study time reviewing and learning from your mistakes. During your studies, you will likely be taking many more Multiple-Choice Question quizzes than Task-Based Simulations or Written Communications.

Task-Based Simulations make up 50% of your AUD, REG, and FAR score and 35% of your score for BEC. You’ll need plenty of practice with Simulations to get the coveted 75. A Simulation may take a while longer to work through than an MCQ, but it will test you at a much higher skill level, and you’ll need to perform at that level if you want to pass.

SmartAdapt compares your scores on both Multiple-Choice and Simulation quizzes to adapt to your specific needs as you study for the CPA Exam. Whichever type of quiz you take, it will automatically select the best questions to gauge your comprehension. No matter what stage you’re at in a study unit, SmartAdapt is checking and double checking your progress to make sure you’re on track to pass!

Once you master a study section, SmartAdapt will notify you it’s time to move on to the next one. But finishing a study unit doesn’t mean you will never see its topics again.

Spaced repetition and question mastery

SmartAdapt uses spaced repetition Opens in new window, a proven learning methodology, to balance your time spent on each topic and ensure you revisit information regularly. You will see questions from previously completed study units included in your quizzes for new study units. We call these Mastery Questions. Mastery Questions do not affect your score or progress in your current study unit, and you will only see up to five Mastery Questions on a quiz.

An example CPA exam question with a wrong answer and a thorough answer and explanation.

Don’t worry if you miss a Mastery Question here or there. There is a lot of information covered on the CPA Exam. It’s one of the reasons it’s such a difficult exam. However, with the Mastery Questions, you are more likely to remember all the information as you close in on your Final Review and exam day!

Finishing with a Final Review

After reviewing your Exam Rehearsal, you’ll unlock Final Review Mode. During your Final Review, SmartAdapt continues to look at your progress and make recommendations, taking into account that your exam is very soon. It uses your Exam Rehearsal score as an ending diagnostic, but still takes your previous progress into consideration. There is a difference between forgetting something and not knowing something, and SmartAdapt modifies its approach accordingly.

Expect to jump between the study units as SmartAdapt focuses on areas that will maximize your exam-day score. Don’t waste precious time worrying about reviewing all of the topics yourself; trust SmartAdapt and Gleim to check your blind spots.

Those who purchase our Premium CPA Review System will also gain the benefit of a second Exam Rehearsal. With a separate set of never-before-seen questions, it’s a great way to practice another full exam without artificially inflating your score. It also helps boost your confidence as you see your score improve from your first Exam Rehearsal to the second before sitting for your actual exam!

Gleim's SmartAdapt System recommending a candidate revisit a study unit they completed but haven't reviewed in a while.

Study how you want to study

We’ve put a lot of work into developing and maintaining our SmartAdapt system, and we’ve seen candidates pass the CPA more efficiently than ever before. However, no one knows how you learn better than you. That’s why our SmartAdapt never forces you to follow a recommendation.

We’re the CPA Exam experts, but if you want to create custom quizzes in our Test Prep software, take an extra adaptive quiz, or watch the videos instead of reading, feel free to do so. The great thing about SmartAdapt is that it truly adapts to you, no matter how you study. It is able to change its recommendations to accommodate the additional information it receives, so you are never without direction when you sit down to study.

Get started with Gleim CPA Review

We have over 45 years of experience helping over 1 million CPA candidates pass their exams. Our Premium CPA Review System has a pass rate of over 91%, proving our adaptive course can help anyone achieve their career goals. If you’re ready to try our revolutionary SmartAdapt system for yourself, try our free demo today!