CPA Exam Written Communication Tips: 6 Steps toward Success

An Overview

Written communication tasks appear only in the BEC section of the CPA Exam. For each of three written communication tasks, you must read a scenario and then write appropriate documentation relating to the scenario. The instructions in the task state what form the document should take (such as a memo or letter) and what its focus should be. Your response should provide clear, complete and professional information.

What are the CPA Exam Graders Looking For?

The written communication portion of the BEC exam is not meant to measure your creative writing skills. In reality, the Written Communication portion of the BEC not only tests your proficiency in articulating a problem and its solution in well-thought-out content but also your technical use of standard English and professional document creation.

Producing a Good Piece of Writing in the Eyes of Graders

Graders look for:

  1. Complete sentences
  2. Use of proper grammar
  3. Relevance
  4. Clarity and Supporting Details
  5. Be Concise
  6. Good Organisation: Include Introduction and conclusion

CPA Exam Written Communication Tips

1. Use Complete Sentences

Avoid using abbreviations, diagrams, charts, bullets points, and graphs. These are considered as big negatives for essays meant for CPA exam purposes.

There is actually a technical reason behind this. Your answers will most likely be graded by machines, and machines are programmed to check the grammar and sentence structures.

Bullet points are typically not complete sentences. You will end up losing a point because of that.

2. Use Proper Grammar

When it comes to business writing, don’t make things fancy. Keep it short, simple and straight-to-the-point but make sure you have utilised proper grammar when doing so. 

3. Relevance

It doesn’t matter much even whether your concepts are correct or not if you construct your sentences in a manner that might be impossible for a machine to grade.

Use topic keywords in your essay to stay on topic and be cautious enough to not copy the question text word-for-word or you may end up losing points.

4. Clarity

Make sure each paragraph in your response establishes supporting details or summarises the answer to the question at hand.

5. Be Concise: Less is More

Including unnecessary information in your response should be avoided. Less is definitely more!

6. Good Organisation

Write down your basic ideas and structure your answer before you begin.

Make sure your document has a clear introduction, body and finally, conclusion. Create an outline in order to assemble the organisation of your response. 

Start with an overview where you describe the purpose or intent. Then, rewrite the question, so the beginning sentence of the introductory paragraph closely matches with the topic. Then, ensure that there is a smooth flow from one paragraph to the next. Summarise the key points of the document in the final conclusion paragraph.


Hope that the above article is helpful to you in your CPA exam preparation. If you have any queries, feel free to comment in the section below. Happy Learning!

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