Irvin Gleim, Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida and prolific CPA Review author, recently sat down with AccountingWEB to share his perspective on the coming changes in the CPA Exam.
February 4, 2002 is the grade release date for the November 2001 exam. With that date coming up, it is a reminder that only three paper and pencil CPA exam opportunities are left before the conversion to a computerized exam. May 2003 will be the last CPA exam as we currently know it.
Mr. Gleim encourages all current CPA candidates to finish up before November 2003. He believes the transition from pencil & paper to computer will be problematic, which will increase candidate tension, frustration, etc.
Beginning November 2003, CPA candidates will go to Prometric Computer Testing Centers (formerly Sylvan) and take computer-administered tests. The details are not finalized, but look for the following:
- Candidates would be approved to take the CPA exam by their State Board of Accountancy and upon approval and payment would call Prometric Testing Services to schedule an exam location and time. Candidates in some states may have to make separate checks out to their State Board and to Prometric.
- Each exam will consist of both multiple-choice questions and constructive response questions (also referred to as "simulations"). Hopefully the AICPA will share more about the constructed response questions. Presumably they would include both short answer questions and objective questions in response to an abbreviated case study presentation.
- There will be four 3-month exam windows each year, with two months for exam taking and one month for exam research, reporting, etc. Candidates can take each section only one time within each window.
- First time candidates could take each section of the CPA examination independently and in any order with no conditions on passing any other section, but must pass all sections within a rolling 18 month period.
- Conditional candidates as of November 2003 will be allowed to take the remaining equivalent sections of the exam under the old rules applicable at the time, including the number of retakes and the time period allowed.
- The proposed length of the new exam is based on 14 hour total length.
- "Auditing & Attestation" replaces "Auditing" and remains at 4.5 hours
- "Financial Accounting & Reporting" retains the same title but goes from 4.5 to 4.0 hours
- "Regulation" replaces "Accounting & Reporting: Taxation, Managerial, and Governmental and Not-for-Profit Organizations" (TAX-MAN-GOV) and becomes 3.0 hours
- "Business Environment & Concepts" replaces "Business Law & Professional Responsibilities" and becomes 2.5 hours
- The "Auditing & Attestation" section and "Financial Accounting & Reporting" section will continue to be "similar" in scope and coverage to the sections they replace. "Regulation" and "Business Environment & Concepts" will differ considerably.