How to Solve Journal Entry Simulations

July 15, 2021

Journal Entry Simulations are one of the five types of task-based simulations (TBSs) you will encounter on the CPA exam. Together with the written communication questions (for BEC only), these in-depth, multi-step word problems are worth 50% of the total score for the CPA exam. MDS CPA Review has prepared guidance documents for each type of TBS and for the BEC written communication testlet to help you gain proficiency with these questions and score higher on the CPA exam.

Journal Entry TBSs Combine the Option List & Free Response Numeric Entry Formats

Typically, a scenario is given that requires you to determine whether a journal entry is needed. You may select account names from an option list and fill in the amounts for each journal entry, properly entering debits and credits, or choose “No Entry Needed.” However, some Journal Entry TBSs have option lists for both the account names and the amounts, while other Journal Entry TBSs have no option lists (you must fill in everything).

The journal entry TBS guidance document provides detailed instructions such as:

How to simulate the exam experience (not just the exam content) during your studies

  • Use a split screen to view the scenario & questions on one side of the screen and the area to record the JEs on the other side of the screen.
Save Time On The CPA Exam

Time-saving test tips 

  • For each journal entry, the order in which you list the accounts doesn’t matter, as long as you list all needed accounts, and the amounts are correctly entered as debits or credits. 
  • Start with the entries that are the most comfortable for you and build from there.

Practical study tips

  • During homework, it is helpful to examine the provided solutions and compare them with your work. 
    • Was there a write-off or a bookkeeping error that required an adjusting entry?

Quick access to authoritative resources that explain how to excel with TBSs

How to make and implement a time allocation plan for the TBSs on the exam

  • The Journal Entry TBSs vary in length and difficulty, with the ones that have only Option Lists (multiple choice) being the easiest and those that have only Numeric Entries (fill in the blanks) being the most difficult. On average, you should allocate 15-20 minutes to complete each Journal Entry question.
Clicking Submit Button

Ways to check your exam answers for accuracy before clicking “submit”

  • Learn ways to prevent mathematical errors: 
    • Don’t type your calculated answer in the answer box; copy/paste from either the calculator or the spreadsheet to avoid typos.
    • Make sure that your credit and debit entries balance.

Our How To Solve Task-Based Simulations Series

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