The BEC (Business Environment and Concepts) exam is known as the easiest section of the four part CPA Exam. The easy reputation BEC has attained is most likely due to the high pass rates and current lack of Task Based Simulations.
The BEC section is three hours long and currently consists of 72 multiple choice questions and three written communication tasks. Of the 72 MCQs, 60 are counted toward your exam score while the others are pretested. Of the written communication tasks, two are counted toward your score while one is pretested.
Below find a breakdown of the BEC exam content:
31-39% Financial & Operations Management
- Financial decision-making
- Capital budgeting
- Cost accounting
- Process management
15-19% Information Systems
- IT processes and systems
- IT and internal control
16-20% Corporate Governance
- Roles of the Board of Directors and corporate officers
- Internal control and Enterprise Risk Management
26-34% Economic Concepts & Strategic Planning
- Economic measures and indicators
- Financial risk management
Changes to BEC in 2017
With the coming changes to the CPA exam scheduled for the second quarter of 2017, it would be wise to knock out BEC quickly. The current breakdown of question type for BEC is 85% multiple choice questions and 15% written communication. Presently, BEC does not have any task-based simulations, next year you can expect four or five. With the increased number of TBSs, you can expect fewer multiple choice questions.
On the bright side, the new exam will allow a standardized 15-minute break that will not count against your time. The reason behind the new break is that the updated exam will require more brainpower as the test is at a higher skill level.
Tips to Pass BEC
Don’t underestimate BEC just because it has a reputation for being the easiest section. It’s important to know as much content as you can. The BEC section requires you to know a little bit about a lot of topics. Try to not only memorize but understand the material. Some things that I will do to prep for this exam is write down all of the formulas on flashcards to memorize.
Additionally, I will brush up on keywords to include on the written communications. The written communcation pieces should have correct grammar and punctuation in addition to being relevant and concise. Practice thoroughly on the sections you feel are your weakest in order to improve your mastery.
--Shannon Neumyer, Guest Blogger for Roger CPA Review