Sunday, July 3, 2011

How to practice Research section in Regulation?

Is it important to practice Research question? 
Yes, Research question carries more or less 6 % of your score. It is easy to answer the question, provided you practice how to answer the question well. It will save your time for other simulations. In this exam where people fail getting 74%, What does an extra one mark means? Life.

What kind of questions can we get in Research? 
If you refer CSOs/SSOs effective January 1, 2011 and also CSOs/SSOs Effective July 1, 2011 they have a list of references which can give you a clear idea of what to expect. But in general you can expect 

  • Internal Revenue Code
  • Statements on Standards for Tax Services
  • Relevant IRS circulars 

Is it enough if I prepare using CPA Exam Review software ?
I verified most of the reviews, they don't carry each and every topic. I am not being judgmental here, but knowing the arrangement of IRS code and referring  all those possible areas along with sample test really helps. I will give you my example of errors so that you can have a clear idea.  

Do we really need sample test?
My answer is a big YES. I observed real time experience is different from the review software we use. The way the search feature works in real exam is different from our review software or Google search. 

How much should I prepare for this section?
  • Refer Internal Revenue code and go through the arrangement (click here)
  • Visit AICPA online professional library and refer the arrangement of Tax Services (Click here )
  • Visit IRS website for latest circulars and refer publications like for example, Publication 17  
How to Access the AICPA Professional Library?
Please refer this post 

Tell me how to practice for this section
  • You can practice every question at IRCode or Tax Services or schedule time to practice a bunch of  questions in addition to your CPA review software. 
  • I practice some review questions from AICPA sample tests.
  • You don't need to remember every thing here, just know how to search and find the answer.
My Experience :

After completing the sample test, I was confident that I nailed the research only to discover that my research answer was wrong. Out of number of sections, I found a section which was similar to the right answer. After reading the question again I discovered that I overlooked the point that needed more attention than the rest of the question. So it is important that you read the question 3 or 4 times (Normally these questions are not lengthy so read them again)before answering the question and exactly pin point what they are asking out of the information they gave us.  Look at the images I posted here to see how close we can go wrong on a research question.

 This is the wrong answer I chose

This is the Right Answer

  1. Read the question Carefully /Critically.
  2. Note the key question on your answer sheet. 
  3. Carefully select your answer in the order (e.g. TITLE 26 -> subtitle F -> chapter 64 -> sub-chapter B ->  6312).
  4. Double check your answer.
  5. Remember on real exam we will answer two research questions. 

For example :

Applz Inc., a company with a Dec 31 year end, deals in computers . Applz sold Bell company's stock and it purchased identical stock beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the date of the sale. Which section and subsection of the Internal Revenue Code provides guidance on a loss resulting from this transaction?

After reading this question you probably identified it as a wash sale.. So now we should search for the answer
I tried first the word wash sale, then 30 , then the 'and, or , not' operators too..
To understand how to use the research section operations please visit the AICPA website and watch the tutorial..

You need Windows operating system to install required software before launching the test.. Click here 
Make sure you use Internet Explorer, these sample tests don't work on any other browser. You can access it from Google chrome provided you install the IE tab

Note:  If you click on the image it will expand to its original size. Right click on the image and save it to your computer.

Disclaimer: The websites from where these images are taken from are copyright protected. Images used in this blog post are purely for academic purposes only.

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