Task-based simulations are on three of the CPA exam sections. There are 6-7 questions depending on the section. According to the AICPA website, task-based simulations are case studies that allow candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and skills by generating responses to questions rather than simply selecting the correct answer.

Task-based simulations typically require candidates to use spreadsheets and/or research authoritative literature provided in the Exam. The fact that TBSs can come in many different formats makes it hard for candidates to feel prepared.


In my opinion, the easiest format is the research type task-based simulations. 

At first I had a hard time with them; it seemed like I was not using the right search terms. Sometimes I would get too many search results, and having to go through them to find the right answer was time consuming. However, the more I practiced, the more I found what worked for me. I discovered that it was really helpful to familiarize myself with the different sections. This meant knowing where the topics were located and in which order. If I'm having a hard time finding what I'm looking for, I just go to the contact page and find the section of my topic. Then I use the "find" function on the page to locate my answer.


Like they say, practice makes perfect. 

So, make sure to sign up for the free 6 month access to the authoritative literature after you get your NTS. This will give you a chance to practice with the same database resources you'll see on the exam.


As to the other formats of the TBSs, they can be a type of multiple choice...

Where you'll pick your answer from a drop down list or fill in blanks. They can be a short problem, long problem with many tabs, and may ask you to do journal entries. They are really trying to test if you can think on your feet. The good thing is that one TBS will usually cover more than one topic, so if you’re struggling with a certain topic, you won’t be risking losing a whole TBS question. 


Keep in mind that the information being tested is the same...

Whether it's a multiple choice question or a task-based simulation problem. As Roger likes to say "Study and you will pass". It's the knowledge and the hard work that will get you through the exam regardless of the format of the question. 


--Margo Pacific, Guest Blogger for Roger CPA Review