As most things eventually do, the CPA exam is in need of an update. The American Institute of CPA’s has decided that it’s time to revamp the licensing exam for accountants. This new version is expected to launch sometime in 2017. The AICPA’s goal is to make sure that the content and structure of the exam continue to measure the skills and knowledge of aspiring CPAs.
While the exam content is not expected to change much, the method in which it will be presented will be changing. Surveys have shown demand for more “critical thinking” questions, so they are considering increasing the weight of the task-based simulations section, and also adding more problem solving questions in general. Anyone who has taken the CPA exam most likely noticed how outdated the interface of the exam is and that it’s not the easiest thing to navigate. The AICPA is discussing the institution of a new Excel based program. Since most accountants frequently do their day-to-day work in Excel, this could be a big help to test takers. There is also talk of allowing candidates to re-test a failed section within the same testing window, reducing or even eliminating blackout times, and extending the period that the exam must be completed from 18 months to 24 months.
Drafting a new version of the CPA exam is not something that happens overnight. This process began in 2013 with discussions of the strategic direction of the exam by the Board of Examiners. In 2014, the idea was introduced to focus groups and surveys were issued. In 2015, an actual draft of the exam will be designed and then hopefully approved and finalized. The new version will be officially announced in 2016 and then launched at some point in 2017.