I want to summarize some of the more common feelings that CPA candidates have after exiting the Prometric test center.

Here are the top four regulation exam experiences:

  1. The one area of the REG exam that will most likely leave you the most frustrated are the SIMS. The simulation questions are difficult to practice and can be wildly divergent from exam to exam. The REG SIMS often leave test takers exasperated. The common regret that I hear is “I wish I spent more time on the SIMS.”  Commonly, test takers will only spend 1 hour on the SIMS and scramble to finish to the very last second. If SIMS are a weak point you might want to consider allocating 1.5 hours to that section of the exam.
  2. Secondly, you should be aware of “pre-test” questions. These are questions that AICPA is testing for future exams but they do not count. Basically, there are questions in every exam that are the test makers use to experiment with question level difficulty. For example, if you see a longer than usual SIM question it is most likely a “fake” question.  Sometimes it is totally obvious that a question does not belong. One of the dead giveaways in the SIM section is the length of the question. If you get a super long question SIM question do not panic as it is most likely not a question that will be used against your score. 
  3. You should notice that the testlets are getting harder. By the time you get to the third testlet you want to be shaking your head at some impossible questions. This is a good sign. The CPA exam uses an algorithm that automatically scores your exam. If you are getting a lot of questions correct, the algorithm reaches into the test bank and presents you with more difficult REG questions.  However, many test takers do not notice a rising level of difficulty and you should not panic if the exam feels that the level of difficulty has not changed. If the exam feels as though it getting easier – that is a bad sign and you may need to re-take the REG exam.
  4. For your MCQ’s you will have a split of questions that either involve calculations or other questions that are more conceptual in nature. For example, you might find that you first testlet is 40% Calculations / 60% Conceptual), your second testlet is   70% Calculations / 30% Conceptual and your last CPA testlet is 50% Calculations / 50% Conceptual. Make sure that you allocate your study time with both types of Regulation practice questions.