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On April 4, the AICPA published a press release confirming the final details of the 2017 CPA Exam. These details included the official launch date of the next version of the exam, April 1, 2017, the new exam’s purpose and basis, some of the definite 2017 CPA Exam changes and content stipulations, and more information about other exam updates. Candidates can establish realistic expectations for the exam by reviewing these details.
The Purpose and Basis of the 2017 CPA Exam
The goal of the upcoming iteration of the CPA Exam is to continue to protect the public interest while preserving the relevance and legal defense of the exam. The new version of the exam intends to assure boards of accountancy that the candidates who pass are adequately equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to fulfill the duties of a CPA in the current state of the accounting industry. The AICPA’s Board of Examiners gleaned their information about the present expectations of a CPA through an extensive research project that consulted key stakeholders in the profession. The results of this research project, called a practice analysis, determined the impending changes.
The Changes of the 2017 CPA Exam
Some of the changes of the 2017 CPA Exam include:
An increased focus on testing higher-order skills. The next exam will assess cognitive faculties such as critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical ability.
Analysis-level tasks in all sections of the exam. The structure of the exam will continue to feature the four sections of AUD, BEC, FAR, and REG, and a portion of each section ranging from 15-35% will test at the analysis skill level. AUD will also test evaluation-level skills.
An increased number of Task-Based Simulations. As Task-Based Simulations (TBSs) are an effective way to appraise higher-order skills, each section will contain more TBSs, and TBSs will also be added to BEC for the first time.
Adjusted score weights for all sections of the exam. For AUD, FAR, and REG, the scoring weight of the multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and the TBSs will be about 50% each to balance the increase in TBSs. For BEC, the score weight will approximate 50% for MCQs, 35% for TBSs, and 15% for written communication.
An increased time allotment. Candidates of the BEC and REG sections will receive one additional hour of testing time. As each section of the exam will be four hours, total exam time increases from 14 to 16 hours.
A new 15-minute standardized break. Each section will also include a 15-minute standardized break that will not detract from candidates’ testing time. Candidates will only be offered this break at about the halfway point of the section, and they can choose to accept or reject it. Other optional breaks taken between testlets will continue to count against testing time.
A blueprint for each section. The new 2017 CPA Exam blueprints will take the place of the CSOs and SSOs as the foundation of the exam and will supply a stronger and more precise presentation of testable content.
Additional Updates to the 2017 CPA Exam
The AICPA once again addressed the 10-day testing window extension that creates extra days to take the CPA Exam each quarter by shortening the blackout months of March, June, September, and December. Following the release of the 2017 CPA Exam, the 10-day extension will not be available in June 2017 in order to afford the AICPA additional time to analyze exam results and set new passing scores, but the extension will be available again in September 2017. The 10-day testing window extension necessitated more score release dates for each quarter, and these dates now appear on the score release timetable for Q2.
The Plan to Pass the 2017 CPA Exam
The new 2017 version of the CPA Exam is now just a year away, but candidates still have ample time to prepare to pass by using the valuable resources Gleim CPA Review provides, like the exam blueprints and an up-to-date review course. Candidates can also combine passing scores from the current version of the exam with passing scores from the coming version of the exam. As long as all sections are passed within the 18-month window, you will earn your designation! Contact Gleim CPA Review to establish your plan to pass the CPA Exam today.