CPA Examination Item Types 

Published March 11, 2017

CPA Examination candidates are assessed using three types of test items that appear within specific testlets in each section.

Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQ)

The multiple-choice portions of the Examination are administered in a series of testlets. Each Examination section will include two multiple-choice testlets.

Task-Based Simulations (TBS)

Task-based simulations are condensed case studies that test accounting knowledge and skills using real life, work-related situations. All task-based simulations are intended to assess knowledge and skills that are appropriate for an entry-level accountant. There are three TBS testlets in the AUD, FAR and REG sections, and two TBS testlets in the BEC section.

Written Communication Tasks

Written communication tasks appear only in the BEC section of the CPA Examination. For each of three written communication tasks, candidates must read a scenario and then write an appropriate document relating to the scenario. The instructions state what form the document should take (such as a memo or letter) and its focus. The candidate’s response should provide the correct information in writing that is clear, complete, and professional.

For a complete breakdown of each Examination testlet by section, please review the CPA Examination Structure white paper.




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