To help CPA candidates get a better feel for the CPA Exam, the AICPA has free practice exams simulating the real exam. There is one sample test for every exam section. Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting and Report (FAR) and Regulation (REG) have five testlets with 10 multiple-choice questions and six task-based simulations. Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) has 10 multiple-choice questions, three task-based simulations, and two written communication tasks.

On June 14, 2019, the AICPA announced changes to these sample tests to include a more robust explanation of specific answers to task-based simulations and written communication tasks. Let’s discuss these changes and how they should affect your approach to the CPA Exam.

Task-based simulations

To help you learn from the questions, the new AICPA Practice Exam now shows you the correct answer, gives you an explanation of the answer, and allows you to see where the question relates to the Exam Blueprint of that particular exam section. This helps you look at simulation questions comprehensively, and not only see whether you got the answer right or wrong. This is a great opportunity for candidates to learn from their mistakes and adjust how they approach task-based simulations on the actual exam. It also gives you the opportunity to learn how to utilize the Exam Blueprints and incorporate them into your study.

Written communication tasks

BEC written communication tasks now include an acceptable sample response you can compare to your response to see if you’re on the right track in answering the question. Written communication tasks are not cut and dry, and there is no specific right or wrong answer making them harder to study for. This is the perfect opportunity for candidates to see if what they’re putting on paper stands up to acceptable sample answers. Use these updates to enhance your writing skills and get a better idea of what scorers are looking for in written communication tasks.

Why you should take the AICPA sample tests

The AICPA is the architect behind the actual CPA Exam; they’re also the architects behind the sample tests. This means that while the sample tests won’t be a perfect indicator of the actual exam, you’ll get a feel for what you’ll see and how questions will be worded on each section of the CPA Exam. The sample tests are an online version of the real CPA Exam software offered at Prometric testing centers; the tests will show you which resources will be offered on the exam, how to move through testlets, and how to manage your time, even if it’s within a short window. On a basic level, the sample tests will make sure you’re not surprised with the physical layout of the exam on exam day.

Also, the enhanced sample questions will really let you dig into the nuances behind specific task-based simulation questions and written communication tasks. These tend to be more difficult for candidates since there isn’t always a list of answers to choose from. Taking the sample tests will teach you how to tackle task-based simulations, as well as what examiners are looking for with written communication tasks. Don’t pass up this opportunity to work with questions and answers written by the same people who write the CPA Exam.

Build the AICPA sample tests into your study

You can check out the AICPA sample tests at the AICPA website here.

While the sample tests are a great resource for CPA candidates, it’s important to keep in mind they aren’t the only item you should be studying before the exam. They should be a compliment to your Surgent CPA Review course, and you should spend more time on the sample tests as you come to the end of your study for one of the four sections. Once you start your final review and are digging into the unlimited, full-length practice exams offered by Surgent, take some time and check out the AICPA’s sample tests. Then use what you learn from the sample tests and relate it back to your final review.

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