The Document Review Simulations (DRS), also referred to as SIMs, test your ability to complete a realistic task that simulates something a newly licensed CPA might do on the job.
The simulations are not multiple-choice questions and require you to come up with your own answers to the problems. This part of the exams is heavily weighted and can cripple your score if not approached correctly. Below are 4 tips to help you prepare for the CPA exam Simulations.
#1 – Give Yourself A Fighting Chance
Be sure you leave enough time for the simulations. A general rule of thumb is that since the SIMS are worth between 35% to 50% of your score, then you should budget your available time accordingly. Below is a good estimate for how much time you should plan on setting aside for the SIMS:
Audit Simulations: 50% x 4 hour test = 2 hours
FAR Simulations: 50% x 4 hour test = 2 hours
REG Simulations: 50% x 4 hour test = 2 hours
BEC Simulations: 35% x 4 hour test = 1 hour 24 minutes
#2 Play To Your Strengths
Answer the SIMS in order from “most comfortable with the subject matter” to “least comfortable with the subject matter” so you maximize your points if you run out of time. This will also prevent you from getting stuck on one ridiculously hard SIM for 30 minutes (like I did!).
#3 Expect the Unexpected
You are most likely going to get a simulation that is completely out of left field and was never even touched on by your review course. Expect this! There is one “fake” simulation for each exam that doesn’t even count towards your score. Assume it’s the fake pretest question and move on.
#4 Keep Your Head In The Game
Never ever let yourself get discouraged when your taking the exam. This applies not only to the SIMS section but for the entire freakin CPA exam! You’ve worked your butt off, sacrificed much of your social life, and studied like an animal to get to this point right? Be proud of yourself and walk out of that testing center like a champ. Keep a positive attitude throughout the exam and you will have a much higher chance of recalling all that info you crammed into your head.
Have you taken any of the Document Review Simulations yet? Got a few pointers of your own? We wanna know! Please share in the comments section below and spread your knowledge to all those in need.
Bryce Welker is a regular contributor to Forbes, Inc.com, and Business Insider. After graduating from San Diego State University he went on to earn his Certified Public Accountant license and created CrushTheCPAexam.com to share his knowledge and experience to help other accountants become CPAs too. As Seen On Forbes