Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
November 26, 2022

CPA Exam: What are Task-Based Simulations?

task-based simluations

Please enjoy this sponsored content from Gleim CPA Review.

The CPA Exam consist of three question types: multiple choice (MCQ), Task-Based Simulations (TBS), and written communication (WC). On the current version of the exam, TBSs appear on the AUD, FAR, and REG sections, and Written Communications replace TBSs on BEC. However, the format of the next version of the CPA Exam will raise the number of TBSs in these sections and add TBSs to BEC as well. BEC will continue to be the only exam section to require candidates to complete WCs. The CPA Exam will also feature the Document Review Simulation (DRS), a new version of a Task-Based Simulation, starting July 1, 2016.

To properly prepare for the CPA Exam, you will need to know these exam staples inside and out, so start by learning about Task-Based Simulations, their different parts, and how to practice with them.

Task-Based Simulations

As a form of constructive-response question, a Task-Based Simulation calls for a candidate to finish six or seven tasks using information provided. Completing a task may involve choosing the correct answer from a pop-up list, filling out tax forms, or entering formulas or amounts into a spreadsheet. Each TBS includes at least one research question. Research tasks require candidates to search the relevant authoritative literature and cite the appropriate guidance.

Task-Based Simulations help CPA Exam candidates demonstrate their ability to apply technical accounting knowledge to practical situations with refined skill and appropriate judgment. They also expect candidates to possess a sufficient grasp of the professional responsibilities of a CPA.

Parts of Task-Based Simulations

Task-Based Simulations house two types of tabs: work tabs and informational tabs.

  • Work Tabs: The titles of these tabs and the gradable responses they require vary. A pencil icon marks the work tabs, and the answer boxes within these tabs change color to indicate that a response has been made but is not necessarily complete.
  • Informational Tabs: Informational tabs include
    • Directions: This tab appears near the bottom and should be consulted first for a full introduction to the navigation, tabs, toolbar, and tasks. Hint: We recommend you explore this tab in our exam-emulating course so you don’t have to waste valuable time on your actual exam day learning how to navigate the TBSs.
    • Resources: This tab includes pertinent documents and useful tools such as tax rates, formulas, present value tables, and spreadsheet operators and functions.
    • Authoritative Literature: This tab contains sections of distinct resources such as the AICPA Professional Standards (for AUD), the FASB Codification (for FAR), the Tax Code (for REG), and the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).
    • Help: This tab demonstrates the process of completing the task.

Practice with Task-Based Simulations

With this increased emphasis on TBSs, candidates should direct a significant portion of their study time toward comprehending and acclimating to this specific type of question. The DRS has its own unique qualities that you can learn about in our CPA Exam DRS video series. You can also use the largest CPA Exam test bank found in Gleim CPA Review Systems to practice completing Task-Based Simulations. To ensure that you have a full understanding not only of the process of answering a TBS but also the content tested on TBSs, Gleim includes detailed answer explanations for each TBS tab.

Latest Accounting Jobs--Apply Now:

Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.

Related articles

an excited woman looking at her computer

Hey Tax People, You’ll Be Thankful For This Remote Job That Promises No More Than 40 Hours a Week EVER

Those of you dreading the idea of yet another busy season (so, all of you) will be interested in this gig: how’s 30 to 40 fully remote hours a week sound to you? So not only will you never have to go into the office, you won’t have to sacrifice all your evenings at weekends […]

Maybe 2023 Will Be the Year You Get That Big Promotion

If 2023 is anything like 2022, the odds are stacked in your favor if you work in public accounting, according to a recent LinkedIn analysis. Professional services was among the five industries that doled out the most promotions this year: And at the top seven largest public accounting firms in the U.S., that big promotion […]