Start by dividing your class into two teams—Team X and Team O. Flip a coin to see which team goes first. Taking turns, ask each team an accounting-related question, either based on the material you’re currently teaching or from specific content that will be on the next test. (Or you can even pull questions from the Bank On It® game.)

Once a question has been posed, the responding team should confer amongst themselves before sharing their final answer. If the team gets the answer correct, they get to write in either an X or an O on the board, depending on which team they’re on. If that team does not provide an accurate answer then the other team has a chance to deliberate and provide the right answer. The first team to get a row, column or diagonal line filled in on the board wins. 

Here are several ways your class can play:


Have all team members line up and answer questions individually for their respective teams. Questions will still go back and forth from one team to the other, except only the student who is at the head of the line can answer the question—they can’t consult their teammates for help. You can either have each student answer one question and move on to the next person in line, or if they answer incorrectly you can also keep them in the front of the line until they answer a question correctly. This approach is great for reviewing material for a test, as everyone is forced to be an active participant. And if you choose to keep students in the hot seat till they answer correctly, it should help motivate them to be more prepared.

Sudden death:

This variation is similar to the head-to-head style of playing, except that once a player answers a question incorrectly they must sit down and are no longer in the game. It adds another layer of competition by introducing an overall MVP as well as a winning team. Be sure to keep track of how many rounds each team wins, as it might not necessarily be the team that the MVP is on. And while the overall winning team should get some reward, the heftiest prize should go to the top dog. Might we suggest extra points on an exam?

Daily question:

In this version of TIC-TAC-CPA, each team receives only one question every day, either at the beginning or end of class. This turns the game into a semester-long competition and makes it easier to present more complex and/or time-intensive questions. Simply keep track of how many wins each team has throughout the course and provide a bigger prize to the overall winning team at the end of the semester. To make things extra competitive (and encourage greater student engagement), again, consider dangling a few bonus points on the final exam for members of the winning team.

Cut throat:

This diabolical twist can be added to any of the aforementioned versions to really spice things up. For every two wrong answers in a row that a team gives they actually lose the last spot on the board that they gained. Fear of shattering their team’s progress might just be a great motivator for some students. 

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