While the AICPA recently announced sweeping changes to the CPA Exam starting in 2017, they just announced that some of those changes could occur as early as July 1, 2016!

Beginning in July 2016, the AICPA will be updating the CPA exam testing software to improve the User Experience (UE) as well as include a new question type in the FAR, AUD and REG sections – the Document Review Simulation (DRS).

The DRS is a form of a task-based simulation and as such will occur in 3 out of the 4 CPA Exam sections. Its debut in the 4th section (BEC) will not occur until the original timeframe of 2017. The DRS was highlighted in the Exposure Draft, Maintaining the Relevance of the Uniform CPA Examination, which the AICPA released earlier this year. Document Review Simulations present a realistic task that simulates what a newly licensed CPA might do on the job. The DRS features a primary document as well as related source materials for the candidate to review. Highlighted words, phrases, sentences or paragraphs in the DRS document may or may not be correct, requiring the candidate to select appropriate changes based on the relevant source materials.

The purpose of this new question type is to better prepare newly licensed CPAs for the tasks they will be expected to perform, including reviews of memos, bank statements and other documents that are representative of common business documents they will encounter as practicing CPAs. While this new question type is being added as early as July 1, 2016, the testing of the higher-order skills (Application, Analysis, and/or Evaluation) associated with this type of question is not expected to go into effect until the second quarter of 2017. Candidates can rest assured that as long as they are aware of the new question type and gain familiarity with the format, their knowledge of the content will drive their success.

We have provided you some examples of what the new question type will look like:

Aside from the new question type, updates to the user experience will include the following, most of which will improve a candidate’s ability to maneuver through the exam:

  • Update directions screen – this will highlight many of the new user features in the exam; candidates should read through the directions thoroughly.
  • “Exit Button” in the upper-right corner is changing to read “Submit Testlet” – candidates reported they were afraid to click the exit button for fear of exiting the entire exam. This update will make the functionality of the button clearer.
  • Timer – the exam timer is being updated to reflect hours and minutes in a clearer manner; an example is shown below:
  • Break screen – this screen will be easier to understand.

The AICPA recently updated the sample tests to include examples of the new question type and other user experience changes. Candidates are encouraged to take time to familiarize themselves with the new exam functionality found in the sample tests provided by the AICPA.

How Surgent CPA Review can help

Surgent CPA Review is committed to making sure candidates are prepared to sit for the CPA Exam, regardless of when that may occur. Rest assured, our review course will include coverage of this new question type and other exam changes. With our unlimited access to course materials, candidates will continue to receive course updates (content and functionality) throughout their review experience. If you have not started the review process, we suggest you get started sooner rather than later. To enroll in Surgent’s CPA Review course, please visit us at www.surgent.com/cpareview, call 800-778-7436 or email us at cpareview@surgent.com