Have a question on the CPA Exam? What section is easiest? How should I study for Regulation? Are pants mandatory at the testing site? Shoot us an email with your query. It's the big question on everyone's minds so we better address it now before you cute little CPA exam candidates start freaking out:
Do you know what will happen if as of December 31, 2010 I have completed two sections of the exam? Will I only have to take the remaining two sections or will I be subject to the new exam parts coming in 2011?
Good question. First of all, keep in mind that a lot of the hype surrounding the 2011 changes is: A) CPA Review course marketing ("buy new materials! Be sure you're up to date!") B) AICPA marketing ("Hey! Check out how advanced we are and how easily we can integrate a whole new set of standards into our psychometric exams!") C) Misinformation spread by candidates who "heard from someone" that BEC will now contain 10 simulations and all of them will be graded. Just stop. The two biggest changes for 2011 are the addition of IFRS (which will mostly affect FAR) and communications in BEC, that's it! That means get FAR out of the way this year if you can and throw in BEC before December if you are allergic to written communication. The exam changes twice a year anyway, this is nothing new. Now that that's out of the way, the rolling 18 month period also stays the same so whatever you have passed in the last 18 months will still be good. Again, if you're freaking out about all of this, get FAR done ASAP and you will have minimal IFRS and GAAP codification garbage to deal with. A few sections are moved around (for example, business structures will be moving out of BEC) but it's mostly the same content. REG is hardly changed at all and AUD will be one half hour shorter with more on professional ethics while BEC will be one half hour longer with written communications. Simulations are trimmed down to "simlets" and instead of getting one topic, you have a better chance of doing well as they will be smaller and consist of several different topics. In my opinion, the exam is just getting easier. I'm willing to bet that testing will be a bit of a bumpy ride for the first two windows of the year as the AICPA BoE gets its bearings with the new information and somewhat adjusted formats. But debits are still on the left and credits on the right so it's not worth getting bent out of shape over; the exam will still suck and you'll still have to study but thankfully, just like thousands of CPAs before you, you'll rarely use anything you learned for the exam in the real world. Adrienne Gonzalez is the founder of Jr. Deputy Accountant, a former CPA wrangler and a Going Concern contributor. You can see more of her posts here and all posts on the CPA Exam here.