How to Answer SIMS and MCQs

No one ever asks about the structure of multiple-choice questions.  From experiences in school, virtually every candidate has had plenty of knowledge of multiple-choice questions.  But, the task-based simulations seem to cause a bit of consternation.  The AICPA describes TBSs as follows: “Task-based simulations are condensed case studies that test accounting knowledge and skills using real life, work-related situations. Each task-based simulation is expected to take approximately 8 – 15 minutes to complete.”

So, in FAR and auditing, you need to reserve 105 minutes if you can (15 times 7 TBSs) for the simulations and in Regulation, you should try to leave 90 minutes (15 times 6 TBSs).  That can be difficult to do, so you need to monitor your time usage very carefully.

BEC is different because 85 percent of the grade comes from the multiple-choice questions.  The remaining 15 percent is from 3 written communication questions, two of which are graded with the other one being pretested.

Here is some advice on the answering the TBSs.

 --Read the information carefully.  TBSs are likely to be much more wordy than a multiple-choice question so you need to avoid guessing at the information.  Don’t get in a panic.  They will tell you everything you need to know if you will just read it.

--Keep in mind that the information being tested is the same whether the question is in one form or another. FIFO is FIFO no matter how it is tested. It is the knowledge that is important not the setup of the question.

--The examiners are not trying to trick you.  They simply want to see whether you understand the relevant information.  They truly believe that the question and the format are clearly presented.  Don’t let yourself get psyched out by the TBSs.

--At, they provide a free tutorial and sample tests.  If you have not taken a part of the exam previously, be sure to take advantage of this assistance.  The examiners want you to have a feel for what you are going to face.

--When you were in college, it was highly unlikely that all of your accounting tests were multiple-choice questions.  We have all walked into exams that turned out to be short problems, long problems, fill-in the blank, journal entries, or the like.  So, you have already had years of experience figuring out what format your teacher was using for testing.  That was certainly not very hard.  The CPA Exam is the same.  Don’t let yourself get overly concerned about TBSs. Sure, they look difficult and you are likely to be rushed for time but, even there, the experience is probably no different at all from the courses you took in college.  If you could adjust to a different test format on an intermediate accounting test, you can certainly adjust your thinking for the TBSs. graded with the other one being pre-tested.





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