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The AICPA Is Taking Your Comments on the CPA Exam Now

Before those of you who spend your lives tweeting obscenties at NASBA for holding your score hostage get all excited, let's be sure we understand who we mean when we say "your" comments:

The American Institute of CPAs has issued an Invitation to Comment, requesting feedback from key stakeholders to shape the next version of the Uniform CPA Examination. The comment period opened today and runs through December 2.

The Invitation to Comment – Maintaining the Relevance of the Uniform CPA Examination is the first document available for public comment in the Practice Analysis, a comprehensive research study the AICPA is conducting to determine the outline for the next Exam. It explains the stages of the Practice Analysis and includes results from the AICPA’s preliminary research, as well as specific questions about the potential changes under consideration.

Everything is up for grabs here, including examination length, types of questions, number and structure of test sections, testing fees, and score reporting timelines.

In addition, newly licensed CPAs will have a say based on their recent experience with the exam:

A large-scale survey of CPAs will validate information gathered during the exploration phase. The survey will also explore the content areas to understand the breadth and depth to which a particular subject area should be tested on the exam. Survey statements are created based on the knowledge and skills required for newly licensed CPAs that are identified during the exploration phase. Survey respondents will rate statements and address content topics, as well as identify the level of skills to test on those content topics, by describing tasks that newly licensed CPAs may be required to perform. Respondents will rate each statement for relevance, criticality, and frequency related to a newly licensed CPA’s job. In November 2014, the survey will be sent to thousands of randomly selected newly licensed CPAs and direct supervisors of newly licensed CPAs. Data collection will continue through December 2014 and will be analyzed separately for each group. Information gathered from these practitioners on the relevance, criticality, and frequency of statements will be used to further inform the test blueprint (the content topics and skills that the examination assesses).

By this time next year, we should have an Exposure Draft that will lay out any proposed changes for final comment before this beast is put to bed in 2016 to be deployed in 2017 and BAM, you have a new and improved CPA exam.

You need to read this initial invitation to comment, as is lays out all the areas that the AICPA Board of Examiners is open to messing with, including, as mentioned above, length and even number of test sections. That's right — if they get enough feedback to that end, they might even change up the four sections you are so familiar with. They're also wondering if essays should reappear in sections other than BEC as in the days of yore, when every section except BEC had an essay portion. They've also wondered out loud if BEC should have simulation questions.

Not only that but future simulations could include audio or video "which would increase the amount of realism in a given task." We're going to go ahead and assume they mean video relevant to the task at hand and not cat videos to soothe the stressed-out test-taker.

It is assumed these changes will result in increased costs to candidates as well as an increase in the time it takes to score the exam (because of course), so that's also up for discussion.

You have until December 2 to get your $0.02 in on the initial invitation to comment.