CPA Exam questions are broken down into two different categories: multiple-choice questions, and simulations (which themselves can be categorized into task-based simulations and written communication questions). For every section of the CPA Exam, multiple-choice questions (or MCQs, for short) account for 50% of the candidate’s score:

  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR): 50% MCQs, 50% Task-based simulations
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC): 50% MCQs, 35% Task-based simulations, 15% Written communication
  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD): 50% MCQs, 50% Task-based simulations
  • Regulation (REG): 50% MCQs, 50% Task-based Simulations

Liz Kolar, Surgent CPA Review co-founder, sat down with us to discuss her tips on how to successfully solve the Uniform CPA Exam’s multiple choice questions. She offers five key points of advice:

1. Doing well on Testlet 1 means you’ll get more difficult questions in Testlet 2

The AICPA uses a multi-stage testing model for multiple-choice question testlets. This means that each mcq testlet has questions that fall into either of two pools – moderate or hard. The more difficult questions are worth more points, so Liz recommends that CPA candidates attempt to ace the first testlet to unlock these harder, more valuable questions.

2. Answer each question within 90 seconds

You only have about a minute to a minute and a half to answer each MCQ, so do your best to work efficiently. Liz offers a few strategies to answer questions in a timely manner.

3. Find the call first, then reread the full question

The “call,” or what the question is asking you to do, is usually located directly above the four multiple-choice answer options. Before reading the question, find the call. This way, you know what to look for when you go back and read through the full problem.

4. Try to answer the question before looking at the answer choices

If possible, attempt to come up with your own answer before looking at the choices.

5. If you have no idea what the answer is, guess quickly

If you are unsure of what the correct answer is, quickly make a guess and move on to the next problem. The AICPA includes experimental questions in every exam that don’t count towards your score, so there’s a chance the question you are struggling with may not even count.


Watch the full video here

YouTube video


Did you know that students who use Surgent’s CPA Review courses are able to pass the entire CPA Exam in the time it would take them to pass a single section of the CPA Exam with another review provider? It’s true! Learn more about Surgent’s award-winning CPA Review software here


Liz Kolar, CPA, CGMA, has been teaching CPA Review for more than 25 years in the United States, has personally taught more than 2,500 live sessions, and has helped thousands of candidates pass the CPA Exam. She founded Pinnacle CPA Review and co-founded Surgent Kolar CPA Review.