June 24, 2018

Navigating Task-Based Simulations on the New CPA Exam

Task-based Simulations

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In the months leading up to the launch of the new version of the CPA Exam, the AICPA disclosed many details about how the format and functionality of the exam would change. One final bit of insight the AICPA offered before the new version launched addressed the navigation of the increased number of Task-Based Simulation (TBS) testlets. Specifically, candidates can no longer see all of the TBSs at once. Now that the new version of the exam has arrived, candidates making the transition from old to new may want to update their exam day strategies based on this change.

TBS Navigation on the Old CPA Exam

In the previous version of the CPA Exam, candidates could view all of the TBSs at the same time because all of the TBSs were in the same testlet. You could click forward or backward within the testlet to assess each TBS and decide the order in which you wanted to address them.

TBS Navigation on the New CPA Exam

Almost a year ago, we learned that the number of testlets in each section of the new CPA Exam would increase from three to five. The additional testlets contain more TBSs, giving AUD, FAR, and REG a total of eight TBSs and BEC a total of four TBSs.

As the new version of the exam serves candidates more TBSs, these TBSs are divided between three testlets. You can still move between TBSs within a given testlet; however, you cannot view other testlets or their TBSs unless you exit the current testlet. To exit a testlet, you must click the button that reads “Submit Testlet”, and you should only do so when you have completed each TBS and are satisfied with your responses. Once you submit a testlet, you will not be able to view it again.


If you’re familiar with the old CPA Exam, you should adjust your expectation of how many TBSs you will have access to at once. You should also devise a new time management strategy for completing the TBSs, as you won’t be able to assess all of the TBSs before beginning or review all of the TBSs at the end if you have time remaining. Make sure you know how many TBSs you will encounter on each testlet and budget your time accordingly.

CPA Exam Navigation

If you sat for a section of the old CPA Exam and need to sit for a section of the new exam, you can amend your testing-taking habits before you sit. How? By preparing with exam-emulating CPA review. Practicing under extremely realistic exam conditions enables you to acclimate to the exam early. When you’re completely comfortable with the CPA Exam, you can minimize exam day surprises and maximize time for exam questions.

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Elijah Watt Sells Award Recipients Make the Rest of Us Want to Puke

The AICPA announced the winners of the Elijah Watt Sells awards yesterday. For you mere mortals, this is an award for the 10 highest cumulative scorers on the CPA exam.
Glancing over the recipients we notice that two Big 4 firms (KPMG and Deloitte) enslave employ five of the recipients. A couple of recipients work in industry and a few more work for smaller, local firms.
This leads to the obvious question of why the hell P. Dubya and E&Y were totally shut out? Grant Thornton and BDO were also blanked. Are the honchos at the Radio Station and Big D giving the worker bees more time to study? Are P. Dubs, E&Y, et al. cutting out the bonuses for passing and thus destroying anyone’s motivation for passing? Are those of you looking to pass already choosing between eating and sleeping (and maybe sex) so studying just isn’t happening? Sells was a Big D founder so maybe the whole thing is rigged? Thoughts anyone?
Oh and congratulate the recipients while you’re at it (without vomiting on them).

We’re Here to Listen to Your CPA Exam Stories Because We’re Solid Like That

Cpa_exam.jpgOkay, so the purpose of the Elijah Watt Sells post was not to make any of you feel like you’re lesser accountants. We just figured that a good portion of you were hung over today and the story of 10 individuals that got vomit-worthy scores on the CPA exam would get you past the nausea and running to the bathroom to lose that 3 am breakfast.
Now that you’re feeling better, we want to appeal to the rest of you. We want your CPA exam horror stories. Not because we want you to send you running back into the bathroom to sob in the stall. Not because some people we know passed all four sections in one sitting and don’t have any good stories. No, no. We want your stories because we here to listen to you. Besides, they’re probably funny now anyway. Aren’t they? Even if you’re still mortified or pissed off, this your opportunity to vent about it.
Sooooo, did you run out of gas on the way to the exam site? Did your computer crash with 10 minutes to go and you had to re-take the entire exam? We’re you caught cheating?!? Or watching porn? Impress us…