CPA Exam Tip: BEC Written Communication


The Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) section of the CPA Exam tests CPA candidates’ understanding of business concepts and the importance of a CPA’s professional duties and responsibilities within the larger context of the business environment.

A portion of the BEC Exam consists of 3 Written Communication Tasks (WCs) that account for about 15% of the total BEC Exam score. It takes about 15 minutes to answer each question and only two of the three questions are graded. One is a pre-tested question.

According to the AICPA, the Written Communication portion of the BEC Exam is graded for both technical content and writing skills, so you’ll want to consider the following tips when planning your overall Written Communicating strategy:

  1. Use proper spelling, grammar and Standard English.
  2. Don’t use bullet points, abbreviations, charts or graphs.
  3. Write clearly, concisely and use complete sentences. Include an introduction, body and summarizing conclusion.  
  4. Stay on topic. It’s important that your written answer is relevant, on topic and answers the question asked.
  5. Include keywords in your answers. For example, you might use keywords like, “changing accounting principle,” “change in estimate,” and “retrospective” in certain answers. It depends on what question was asked. Either way, be sure to incorporate some of the main components of the question into your answer.

Be sure to also check out Roger Philipp, CPA, CGMA, in the video below as he summarizes the best way to conquer BEC Written Communication.