The CPA Exam world has been buzzing for the past year about changes to the exam by the AICPA to be instituted in 2017. Time for speculation or fitting in the exam before the new format was applied has officially passed. The purpose of this new structure is to prepare better young CPA's to enter the workforce by giving them more real life scenarios, but it means the first batch of students now taking the exam are guinea pigs for those to come after.
What to expect
- Multiple choice questions for FAR, REG, and AUD will count for 50% of the scoring on each exam with the other 50% composed of task-based simulations.
- BEC will now test with three written communication questions counting for 15% of the score, task-based simulations counting for 35%, and multiple-choice making up the remaining 50%.
- An increase in total testing time from 14 to 16 hours. This means you will have four hours to take any exam. Extra breaks will count against this period, but you will have standard breaks on top of the four hours.
- Less multiple-choice and more task oriented questions.
- The standard 15-minute break will come around half way through each section of the exam and will not take away from the 4 hour testing time. Declining the break is allowed but will not add to time available to answer questions.
How to prepare
It is no longer good enough to study flashcards and memorize multiple choice questions. You will have to study by walking through scenarios, practicing critical thinking, and applying higher order accounting skills. You will also want to take a look at the new details on the timeline of the test on exam day and understand how much time you can allow yourself on each question. Finishing the exam is no longer as simple as making sure the MCQ's are answered as some of the exam will include qualitative answers as well. Now, you have to manage your time and put more thought into communicating on the new critical thinking sections.
Study groups may prove to be more important than ever as it helps to have sounding boards when preparing for critical thinking. Getting a group together and answering potential questions will help you practice answering in a concise and effective manner. Practicing listening others answers and providing critiques and having others do the same for your answers will help you recognize flaws and become more efficient when answering the questions in real time on the exam.
Use your resources
The good thing is that Yaeger CPA Review been preparing for these changes to make sure you can be as prepared as possible. Our 2017 course includes brand new textbooks, videos, and software built around the AICPA Blueprints. Better yet, our new AdaptaPASS incorporates the new information and tailors the CPA Exam review course to your learning style.
Make sure you still reach out to past students who have succeeded. If they are willing, it's still worth it to ask for help from someone who has already passed the exam. These accountants already have a wealth of knowledge, so incorporating them into your study network to see how they would answer task-based simulations. You'll be able to understand their answers and contrast those with how you've learned to study. Before, the emphasis was put on repetition and memorization whereas now it's all about retention, application, and communication of what you know, so seeing how others do it is going to be one of the best ways you can ready yourself.