I just completed the tests for Chapters 2 and 3 and am really happy with the way knowledge is tested so far in the course. Each test is separated into general multiple choice questions, learning activities and the occasional quiz. The learning activities have been very practical as they usually involve completing a tax return for a hypothetical client. At first I was a little put off by already having a tax return to complete in Chapter 2 but quickly realized that it was a great way to actually apply the ideas covered in the chapter. I also appreciated the fact that the scenarios only included information that had been covered up to that point. They provide you with supporting documents such as W2s and 1099s as well as a paragraph about the individual and leave it to you to prepare the return.
Even though I will be using tax software to prepare returns once I get to that point, I have been doing all the exercises by hand on the actual returns in order to familiarize myself with all the nuances of the various 1040s and other schedules. This is also encouraged by the course as they provide all of these forms in the supplemental course download. Unfortunately, like most accounting/tax courses, one mistake early on can lead to a whole series of mistakes. For taxes, specifically, choosing the wrong status can taint the rest of your answers. Thankfully, the tests can be taken twice which allows a little room for error. This also helps with accidentally choosing the wrong multiple choice answers when transferring answers from your worksheet to the online test. The answers are often in a different order on the online test compared to the hard copies which means that if you’re like me and complete the test offline first, you’re going to have to be really careful to make sure the answers you’ve chosen online match the answers on your sheet. Chapter 3 also had a short quiz which could only be taken once. For quizzes it will be important to double and possibly triple check answers since getting one thing wrong can lead to missing nearly every question. Going forward, I am expecting that the tests will take me longer as more tax topics are introduced and the tax returns get more complicated. I’m still pretty excited right now though as I currently have Chapter 4 and 5 to complete and will then be ready for the final.