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CPA Task-Based Simulations are scenario-based questions on the CPA Exam. They are a large part of what makes the CPA Exam so difficult. Each one will introduce a situation, provide data in the form of charts, memos, and emails, and require you to answer a series of questions. They make up 50% of your total CPA Exam score.
NOTE: In place of Research Task-Based Simulations, 15% of the BEC section is made up of Written Communications which we explain on this page too. While the AICPA usually considers these separate from other Simulations, they share more similarities than differences.
Task-Based Simulations are a very important part of the CPA Exam.
Currently, three of the five testlets on the CPA Exam are made up of Simulations (two for BEC). Depending on which section you’re taking, you will have 4 or 8 Simulations on each section of the CPA Exam. In total, you will have 28 Task-Based Simulations and 3 Written Communications on the CPA Exam, and they will make up half of your overall grade.
In the past several years, the AICPA has continually improved the Simulation section of the CPA Exam, adding exhibits, redesigning the interface, and changing their sample exams to include harder Simulations. With all of the CPA Exam changes, it is clear that Simulations are not going away. Rather, they play an increasingly important role in assessing your abilities as a CPA.
The best way to prepare for Task-Based Simulations is to practice answering them. The best CPA review courses include many different Simulations and should not overly focus on any one type of Simulation. This means that having access to a robust bank of Simulations is key.
The Uniform CPA Examination Blueprints contain five general types of Task-Based Simulations. In no particular order, they are Research, Free-response Numeric Entry, Option List, Journal Entries, Document Review. Additionally, the BEC section contains Written Communications questions in place of the Research Task-Based Simulations.
The Task-Based Simulations on the CPA Exam are not simple, so the AICPA includes several tools to assist in their completion. However, if you’re not familiar with these tools before you start your exam, you will waste valuable test time figuring out how and when to use them.
In addition to knowing how these tools work, it is crucial that you learn how to use them optimally. Overly relying on these tools can waste a lot of time you should be spending answering the questions. The best way to find that balance is by practicing with the tools on many different Simulations, so make sure your review provider includes these tools with their simulation bank.
Task-Based Simulations come in many different forms on all four sections of the CPA Exam. Each one has its own quirks and answering techniques. The best thing you can do is practice many different Simulations to learn exactly how each works. If you’re looking for good tips, our helpful guide on each of the Simulation types is a great place to get started.
The cliché is “as many as you can.” With that in mind, we’ve created the largest bank of Simulations on the market. Memorizing 1,300 Simulations would be quite the feat, so we’re confident you’ll have plenty of study materials to master this difficult component of the CPA Exam.
The best advice we can offer is this: if your review provider offers an adaptive learning system, it will guide you to your weak areas, and this includes Simulations. Gleim Premium CPA Review adapts to you with our proprietary technology—SmartAdapt™. The CPA Exam is always getting harder, so make sure you’re working with a review provider that prioritizes your studies.