Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thoughts on BEC section of the CPA exam Q1-2011
Mechanics of the CPA exam:
·         While doing calculations in the CPA exam, using the computer “windows” calculator was a bigger pain than I had anticipated.  Partially because my studying was done on a laptop, hence I had no practice using the keyboard interface.  Also the mouse at the Prometric test site was a wired version so it didn’t slide around smoothly for the small movements necessary for easy and quick calculator input.
·         Time management for the CPA exam cannot be stressed enough.  Very important to write down the budgeted time in a way which is easy to compare with the countdown clock on the test.  (there are no watches allowed in the testing room).  For example:
Testlet                  Start time            finish time
1                              3:00                        _______
2                              2:20                        _______
3                              1:40                        _______
4                              1:00                        _______

·         I found that I needed every bit of 1-hr to complete the written communications in the BEC portion of the CPA exam, including time to go back to each and carefully proof for spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar errors. 

·         When the exam time expires on the CPA exam, a window pop-up disables the test (you can see the exam behind the pop-up but it is not functional).  One is required to click the button on the window to close the exam. 

·         It seemed to me that the sections of the exam were not tested evenly within each section.  For example, if a section showed 15% weighting in the CSOs for the BEC section of the CPA exam -- a majority of those ~12 questions were one particular sub-section and not evenly spread across the 5 sub-sections.  The take-away… pay attention to what is stressed by the national instructor (if you are using Becker CPA review).

·         The Written communications required 3 memos.  Only 1 of them, strictly speaking, was from subject matter that I studied in the BEC material.   (This confirms what Tim Geraty. discussed in the Written Communications tutorial in the Becker material).

·         While there is a “globalization” topic on the CSOs, and there was IFRS overview in the study material, there were no specific IFRS questions on my BEC section of the CPA exam.

·         I found that using the Becker flashcards integrated with the course work and Passmaster both were a great help with remembering and referencing formulas.

Test center errata:
  1. Only one ID was required.
  2. Needed to turn pockets inside out each time into the testing area.  Nothing was allowed in the testing room that was not on your body (except the locker key and your ID, and those were required to stay on your desk)
  3. Kleenex were not allowed in the testing room.  With a cold, one would be well advised to wear a long sleeve shirt :-)
  4. Video surveillance on each seat.
  5. There were only 8 seats in testing area of my Prometric test center.  All of them were full while I was there.
  6. Foam earplugs were a plus (take a set).  They did have muffs available at the Prometric test center,  but I would have found those distracting... (and yucky)

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