How to master research questions

10 min read

Since 2004, the CPA Exam has included research questions that require information found in the authoritative literature associated with three of the examination sections— the AUD, FAR, and REG. The skills required to search and synthesize information from an accounting reference are similar to a search you would conduct in an entry-level accounting position.

On the CPA Exam, there are seven task-based simulations for FAR and AUD, and six for REG. For each of these exams, at least one of the tasks will be a research question. The following are some tips on how to master research questions:

  • These tasks ask you to find the answer to an accounting question in the appropriate authoritative literature. Most Becker lectures have at least one research question included in the practice simulations. It’s very important that you do all of the practice
  • When you’re answering a research question, you can start by doing a simple keyword search (unless you’re lucky enough to know exactly where to find the answer in the authoritative literature). To do a simple keyword search, enter a term (or combination of terms) into the box that says ‘Enter Search Here.’ This is very similar to doing a Google search.
  • However, simple searches can yield a large number of search results. So you may find that it’s more efficient to use the ‘Advanced Search’ option, which allows you to search for exact phrases. Generally, searching by exact phrase will yield fewer search results, making it easier for you to find the answer to the research question in a timely manner.
  • For a hands-on demonstration of a research question just like those found on the CPA Exam, try the CPA Exam Sample Test.

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