Recently, the AICPA addressed some common questions that candidates raise regarding the task-based simulation (TBS) questions on the CPA Exam. Below are the questions and the AICPA’s responses to those questions.

Are the sample test TBS questions representative of the real exam in functionality?

Yes. The Exam team ensures that TBS questions included within the sample tests show the full Exam functionality. This includes research questions, written communication questions, and document review simulations. We are also conscientious in ensuring that we include TBS questions that require the use of realistic exhibits and the authoritative literature.

Are there TBS types that are not represented in the sample test?

All TBS types are represented in the sample test. In general, TBS questions on the Exam have between five and 10 scoring opportunities. Some TBS questions included within the sample test are condensed versions, which only contain between two and four scoring opportunities, but those scoring opportunities are still representative of the TBS types within the Exam.

Are there TBS questions that are so comprehensive that they cross multiple sections and are more “capstone” like?

Each TBS question is focused within an Area of the respective Exam section’s Blueprint. However, as discussed in the Final Report on the Practice Analysis, there may be some natural integration across sections of the Exam. This integration would not raise to the level of capstone-like but rather require candidates to have some underlying knowledge that may be tested within other sections of the Exam.

For example, a candidate could receive a TBS coded to the Audit section within Area III “Performing further procedures and obtaining evidence” and Content Group “Understanding sufficient appropriate evidence.” If the TBS is focused on inventory, it is reasonable that, in order for a candidate to conclude on the sufficiency and appropriateness of evidence obtained, they would need to understand, at a base level, the accounting principles relating to inventory to be able to successfully answer the question.

The sample test TBS questions are focused on one topic (e.g., variance analysis or capital gains/losses). Are there live TBS questions that are more comprehensive and cover content that crosses multiple blueprint topics but are within the same section?

All the Exam’s TBS questions are focused to a Blueprint area, although a simulation may cover more than a single topic within the area.

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This information was originally provided to CPA Review course providers by the AICPA.