CPA test day can seem daunting if you don’t know what you expect. Luckily, there are a host of resources available to you in order to simulate CPA exam day. Let’s talk about preparing for CPA exam day by creating a mock day, where you do everything exactly the same as you would on the actual exam day.
Schedule Your Exam
In order to properly simulate CPA test day, you need to have your exam scheduled. Then you’ll know if your exam is in the morning, the afternoon or the evening, which can make a huge difference in how you prepare on exam day. For example, you won’t have the whole day to do any last minute studying if your exam is in the morning as opposed to having your exam in the evening.
You need to have your NTS to schedule your exam; then you can hop on over to Prometric’s website and pick a date and time.
Finding An Exam
Before you start planning your day (but after you schedule your exam), you need to find a full-length practice exam. Many purchased study materials will have full-length simulations. I used Becker and they had two full-length exams for each section.
The AICPA also has sample tests and exam tutorials. I highly recommend that, if nothing else, you go through their tutorials. They cover different questions types, tools that are available to you on the exam, and how to navigate the exam. It will definitely help you prepare for exam day.
Planning Your Day
Now that you know when your test is scheduled and you’ve found a practice exam, you can actually simulate the test day. Block out the time that you have scheduled on your actual test day on a practice day. Plan what you’ll have for breakfast, when you’ll drink coffee, and otherwise how your routine is going to look on that day.
You also need to set aside time to “drive” to the exam. Use a mapping software to see how long it takes to get from your house to the Prometric center. I recommend mapping it out exactly when you are going to leave your house; then you can see what traffic is like and if it may take you a little longer than usual to get to the exam. You can even actually drive this distance or drive to the Prometric site if you know there is somewhere close by that’s quiet where you can take your simulation exam.
Simulating The Actual Exam
On exam day, you’ll spend the first 30 minutes at the Prometric site getting checked in. So when you’re planning your driving, make sure you are arriving at the test site at least 30 minutes early. You can use those 30 minutes to just hang out before your simulation exam.
The room you will be taking the exam in is incredibly quiet, so find somewhere quiet and free from distractions to take your exam. If your simulation exam is downloaded on your computer, I highly recommend turning your internet off. If you can’t do that, just be extra vigilant about not getting online.
I assume you know which exam you’ll be taking, so you should know how much time you are allotted. Some exam software will count down time for you, but if yours doesn’t, you should set a timer on your phone.
As you take the exam, keep the time in mind. If your exam is four hours, you should allocate an hour for each section (3MC and 1 Task Based Sim). If your exam is three, you should allocate 45 minutes for each section. It is very important you stick to or stay ahead of your time, or you’ll run out and might not reach the end. Remember, you get 0 points for a wrong guess, but full points for a correct guess. So you want to make sure you are getting to every question, just in case your guess is correct.
You get breaks after each testlet, and it’s your choice if you take them. If you plan on taking them on exam day, take them on simulation day. Or you can try not taking breaks and seeing how you feel. It’s a good time to test theories out because there are no repercussions for going wrong.
When you finish your simulation exam, you’ll get instant results, which means you walk away knowing exactly what you need to work on. Depending on how long you have until your actual exam, continue to review the material with an emphasis on parts of the simulation exam you didn’t do so hot on.
Keep in mind that the actual exam is not graded the same as the simulation exam, so your score won’t be completely accurate. But you will get a chance to see what you need to work on which is always helpful.
Good luck my CPA friends!