If you’re ready to enhance your career with the many benefits of the enrolled agent (EA) designation, then you’ll most likely need to get ready to pass the Enrolled Agent exam. Officially called the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE), the EA exam ensures that attorneys, tax attorneys, and tax preparers have the knowledge and skills necessary to hold the enrolled agent title granted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The EA exam ensures you’re worthy by presenting hundreds of Enrolled Agent exam questions. To prepare to pass the exam, you should learn all the details about these questions.
The EA exam syllabus has 3 parts:
Each part of the EA exam has the same number of questions: 100. And all 100 questions are the same kind: multiple-choice (MCQ).
Additionally, we can see from the 2023 Enrolled Agent exam IRS syllabus that portions of the 100 questions in each exam part address different topics. This chart includes those topics.
|SEE Part 1: Individuals||SEE Part 2: Businesses||SEE Part 3:Representation, Practices, and Procedures|
|1. Preliminary Work with Taxpayer Data – 14 questions||1. Business Entities and Considerations – 30 questions||1. Practices and Procedures – 26 questions|
|2. Income and Assets – 17 questions||2. Business Tax Preparation – 37 questions||2. Representation before the IRS – 25 questions|
|3. Deductions and Credits – 17 questions||3. Specialized Returns and Taxpayers – 18 questions||3. Specific Areas of Representation – 20 questions|
|4. Taxation – 15 questions||4. Filing Process – 14 questions|
|5. Advising the Individual Taxpayer – 11 questions|
|6. Specialized Returns for Individuals – 11 questions|
The EA exam questions will ask you about different topics, but they employ the same structure to do so. Each exam question will feature these 3 parts:
Therefore, all EA exam questions offer 4 answer choices, and candidates are responsible for picking the best possible answer of the 4.
Though all the Enrolled Agent exam questions are MCQs, they are not all written the same. There are a few different ways in which the EA exam sets up its multiple-choice questions. Specifically, the EA exam uses 3 different types of MCQ formats.
This MCQ simply asks a question directly. While these questions can sometimes be answered with a yes or no, in the case of the EA exam, the candidate must always select a specific answer.
A taxpayer who receives a Form 1099-MISC with the wrong dollar amount in box 7 should do which of the following?
This question type may provide a sentence or two of information and end with an incomplete sentence. In these instances, the answer completes the sentence. Alternatively, these questions may require you to select the answer that would best fill in the blank at the end of the question stem.
The Net Investment Income Tax may apply to _________?
This format makes a statement and then asks for the answer option that does not meet the criteria of the statement. Therefore, you must use deductive reasoning to determine the best answer, which, again, is the option that doesn’t satisfy the previously provided specifications.
Upon reviewing a new client’s prior-year tax return, the preparer sees taxes paid for the first-time homebuyer credit. The preparer should ask the taxpayer all of the following EXCEPT:
The similarities between the exam parts continue as each part features 3.5 hours (210 minutes) of total testing time. If you divide 210 minutes equally among 100 questions, you have 1.5 minutes to answer each question. You also still have plenty of time to review your answers before your total testing time runs out.
To ensure that you can answer each and every question to the best of your ability within the time allowed, you must practice your time management as you review the exam material. As you complete practice tests or quizzes, limit the amount of time you have to answer each question.
When you get in the habit of answering the questions in a timely manner, you’ll be able to do so on the exam while retaining your composure and confidence.
To answer all of the Enrolled Agent exam questions in time and to the best of your ability, you need a strategy for getting through each one. When you create a plan for completing each question and stick to it, you can avoid surprises, remain calm and confident, and give yourself the best chance at passing the EA exam. Use these tips to develop your question-answering system:
Whether you answer a real exam question or a practice question, read each question attentively. Make sure that you completely understand what the question is asking before you answer it.
After you’ve read the question, stop yourself from reading the answers. Instead, without looking farther down the screen, try to anticipate and formulate the answer in your head. Taking this step gives you an idea of what the answer may be and prepares you to find the right answer without getting dissuaded by the wrong answers. It also helps you know if you’re on the right track when you see the answers.
Spend a few seconds familiarizing yourself with all of the answer options. Read each answer option carefully, giving the words your full attention. Remember, some of these answer options are distractors, so take the time to understand exactly how each answer option is addressing the question.
Once you know what each answer option offers, choose the answer option that you feel is truly the best. If you are unsure about one or more answer options, make an educated guess.
After you answer all 100 MCQs, go back and review your answers. You can change your answers before submitting the test, so this step allows you to be fully confident in your performance.
With each EA exam question you face, keep these tips in mind:
While the Enrolled Agent exam features a lot of questions, it gives you enough time to answer them. And the right Enrolled Agent exam review course gives you enough practice questions to build your confidence before you encounter the real thing. You can learn more about your enrolled agent course options and get my recommendations in my comparison. You can also save big on your exam prep with my enrolled agent course discounts.
Once you’re equipped with your review materials, use my top 21 Enrolled Agent exam prep tips to become an expert at studying for the exam and answering Enrolled Agent exam questions.
And for even more help preparing for the EA exam, you can go through my free EA course. Sign up below!
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites.