The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has stated that the next version of the Uniform CPA Examination will launch on April 1, 2017 (the 2017 Q2 testing window). The Exam will continue to include four sections: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). However, each section test will now be four hours in length, for a total testing time of 16 hours.
Candidates will be offered a standardized, 15-minute break approximately midway through each section, which may be accepted or declined. This break will not count against testing time. In addition to the standardized break, optional breaks between testlets, which do count against candidates’ testing time, will continue in the next Exam consistent with current practice.
Additional task-based simulations (TBSs) will be included on the Exam to assess higher-order skills that include, but are not limited to, critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical ability. The TBSs will contain background material (i.e., real-world documents and exhibits) and data that will require candidates to determine what information is or is not relevant to the question.
A new type of TBS will be introduced in the AUD, FAR, and REG sections, beginning with the 2016 Q3 testing window (July 1, 2016), called the Document Review Simulation (DRS). The DRS will continue to be used after the launch of the next Exam where it will be added to the BEC section as well. Candidates are encouraged to visit the AICPA web site and review the new DRS format under the Sample Exam option.
In connection with testing higher-order skills, the Exam will utilize a skills-based framework consistent with the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, which is further supported by the Exam blueprints. The Blueprints contain approximately 600 representative tasks across all four exam sections and replace the Content Specification Outline and Skill Specification Outline. They will identify content knowledge linked directly to representative tasks performed by newly licensed CPAs.
Scoring weights for AUD, FAR, and REG will be approximately 50% MCQ / 50% TBS while scoring weights for BEC will be approximately 50% MCQ, 35% TBS, and 15% Written Response Simulations.
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)
Task-Based Simulations (TBSs)
Written Response Simulations
Candidates will still get credit for passing sections of the current Exam after the next Exam launches. NASBA (the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy), boards of accountancy, and the AICPA have agreed that any combination of passed current Exam sections and passed next Exam sections will count toward licensure. All candidates will take the next Exam sections beginning in the second quarter of 2017. Thus, any sections passed prior to the launch of the next Exam in the second quarter of 2017 will count toward licensure requirements (subject to the 18-month rule) going forward.
To increase candidate convenience, there will be a 10-day extension of the testing window each quarter in the months of March, June, September, and December. The 10-day extension will not be available during June 2017, as additional time will be required to analyze Exam results and set new passing scores.