Accounting Professors Endorse Computerized Uniform CPA Exam

One hundred (100) percent of university accounting professors say the newly computerized Uniform Certified Public Accounting Examination (CPA Exam) will give more students the opportunity to pass and increase their scores, according to a new survey.

The survey, conducted by the Boston Institute of Finance (BIF), a leading developer and distributor of online education for the financial services industry, shows that professors say the greatest advantages to the new test structure include: it's easier to focus and pass (100%), it uses technology (67%), and gives the student the opportunity to intensively study for one area (48%). In addition, 81 percent of the professors believe it will alter how students study for the CPA exam but not necessarily how they teach those students in the classroom.

"There is going to be an increase in online test prep courses as it better mirrors the actual exam and increases a student's ability to pass," said Ben Carcio, vice president and general manager, Boston Institute of Finance. "Students can prepare for their exam with online test prep and use technology to identify their strengths and weaknesses and adjust the focus of the practice questions to help improve specific scores."

Passing the Uniform CPA Exam is one of several steps required to become a CPA. Known for its difficulty, the Uniform CPA Exam assesses the knowledge and skills that entry-level CPA's need when they enter public accounting. A new computer-based exam was introduced throughout the nation in April, 2004. The new test allows individuals to take one or more sections of the exam, in any order, on any weekday, at one of several testing centers.

The survey was sent to more than 400 university accounting professors across the United States.

The survey results of the respondents include:

  • 59 percent of the professors view the new exam "positively," while only 20 percent view it "negatively;"
  • Interestingly 53 percent say it won't alter how they teach students compared to 46 percent who say it will;
  • While the greatest disadvantages include: the content doesn't test as high a level as before (100%), the exam covers too much material(63%), and it's too costly (24%);
  • 77 percent of the professors say students are well-prepared for the rigors and demands of the marketplace; and
  • Only 11 percent of the respondents have actually tried the exam, compared to 67 percent who haven't, and 22 percent who have seen it but haven't tried it.

"The survey results show that accounting professors still need to become better acquainted with the test so they can, if desired, alter their course content and make better test prep recommendations to their students," said Carcio.

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