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State Board Report

April 2016

Changes to the Uniform CPA Examination, beginning with tests administered on April 1, 2017, were announced to the public on April 4, 2016 along with blueprints for the Exam. "We have been on a long journey here," Executive Vice President and COO Colleen K. Conrad reported to the Executive Directors Meeting. "Most of the announced changes should not be a surprise to the Boards as we have been sharing changes under consideration and seeking your input throughout the entire process. Next year, when the new Exam actually launches, should be really exciting," she said.

By November 2015, the Board of Examiners had received over 600 comments on proposed changes to the Uniform CPA Examination, AICPA Vice President-Examinations Michael Decker told the conference. He explained the next version of the Examination reflects updates to continue to test the knowledge and skills needed for a "newly licensed CPA." The practice analysis was conducted to specifically measure the knowledge and skills possessed by a person with two years of experience. "We are shifting to testing critical thinking from testing memorization," he said, as candidates are being asked to do more critical thinking earlier in their careers, requiring higher order skills. These include analytical ability, problem solving, critical thinking, professional skepticism and communication skills.

Task-based simulations have been added to the BEC (Business Environment and Concepts) section of the Examination, and both the BEC and REG sections will now each be four hours long, Ms. Conrad said. This brings the total time for taking the four sections up to 16 hours. A standard 15-minute off-the-clock break has been added approximately halfway through each section, she reported, and candidates can opt to take the break or not. Forty additional testing days are being added as each quarterly testing window has been extended by ten days commencing in the second quarter of 2016 through 2017, except for the launch window of the second quarter of 2017. The extension is not included in that quarter as additional time is necessary to analyze results due to the changes made.

In 2018, Microsoft Excel will be added as a tool for the Uniform CPA Examination, Mr. Decker announced. Also the user experience will be enhanced, as all of the Prometric testing centers will have 23" HD monitors by 2018 and there will be added support for ADA candidates.

For more information about the forthcoming changes, please visit the CPA Exam section of this website.

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