Research Task Format

Research Task Format

Did you know that research is tested in its own independent task-based simulation problem on the FAR, AUD and REG Exams? Learn what to expect regarding the format and get tips for effectively answering the problem.

Roger Philipp, CPA presents:

As of January 1st, 2011, research is tested in its own independent task-based simulation problem on the uniform CPA exam. When you are in your exam, you will see a variety of tabs which will vary depending on the testlet. In the simulation testlet, you will find work tabs, indicated by a pencil, information tabs and a help tab. The reference information for the research question of your exam can be found on the information tab called "Authoritative Literature." To practice using the authoritative literature resources before your exams, please visit the displayed website to submit a free professional literature request subscription from NASBA. The subscription is valid for six months and available to anyone with a valid notice to schedule. We are currently working in the Auditing and Attestation exam. Let's jump to question number four in this testlet to find our research work tab question. In problems such as this, you will be asked to search through a database within the testlet to find an appropriate references that addresses the issue presented in the research problem. In each applicable simulation, a scenario is presented in which you must find your answer in the authoritative literature using a predetermined list of codes. Let's look at this question. It is asking us to identify the section of the professional standards that address the issue of a supervisor reviewing the audit work of a junior assistant. Using the "Authoritative Literature" tab, you will search for keywords associated with the question using the search box which will pull up all references within the literature to those keywords. In this case, we will focus on the description of an audit engagement for PJ Wholesale, Inc. It is not stipulated that PJ Wholesale, Inc. is an issuer, so we cannot assume that it will fall under the auditing standards of the PCAOB. We will, therefore, limit our search to the US Auditing Standards. Use the "Search Within" function to find specific instances of keywords within each subsection, such as "supervision" and "review." These keywords will be highlighted in the text and we can go through them to find the relevant text that answers the research problem. As I scan through the results, I am looking for those keywords for context clues that let me know I found the information I need to answer the question. Here I see, "The junior assistant, just entering upon an auditing career, must obtain his professional experience with the proper supervision and review of his work by a more experienced superior." I can then click back to my answer fields and input where I found the correct section for my answer. Here we will enter our answers. We are in the US Auditing Standards section, abbreviated by the letters "AU," section 210, paragraph 03. Make sure to read the specifications below the answer fields explaining the proper format. For example, single digit reference numbers, such as "paragraph three," may be formatted as a two digit response - zero, three. Make sure to return to any unfinished or flagged questions before exiting your testlet. While you may jump around within a testlet, once you exit the testlet you cannot return at a later time. Now that you know what to expect regarding the format of the research tasks on the CPA exam, you are even better prepared for test day. Good luck and happy studying!

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