CPA Exam Review News Blog

Changes Coming to CPA Exam in 2017

Nothing in the professional world stays the same for too long. From the smallest facets to the largest themes in business, change is constant and steady. We've touched on this from the personal aspect - work life balance, vacation time, salary, office settings, and dress codes are showing a lot of flux. Alongside these smaller changes is a bigger change occurring in 2017.


The Uniform CPA Exam is changing in significant ways for the first since 2011. This is not just to mix up the testing format or a routine checkup on examination procedure. The reformation is a direct response to specific client and market needs as well as to address the need to stay relevant among a competitive work field.


A huge change since 2011 has come in the form of newer technologies and the role those are playing in financially based professions. Such technology is putting most every profession, in some sense, on the cutting edge where failing to keep up with the times quickly spells into failing on a larger scale. Accountants must respond to a more complicated business culture by picking up the more complicated tasks at hand.


Much like teaching your grandparents how to handle an iPhone, repeating what you've been told is not enough. When the test is over accountants are needing to know more than a set of steps. Analytical application of skills is becoming more important than ever. Accountants are required to do more than run the numbers (which they always have) but are finding they need to see problems and effectively solve the problem and communicate what needs to be done to their colleagues. This is on top of everything the accountant is used to doing.  The CPA Exam is responding to this by implementing critical thinking and problem solving on the test.


This new approach has translated into the following changes . . .


  • 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 be tested 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 time, 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. 

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