The CPA Evolution is around the corner. Are you looking for advice on how to tackle the new CPA Exam? Don’t worry. Surgent’s got you covered.

Our biggest piece of advice for CPA candidates is to take the BEC exam now.

Why should you take BEC now? Here are the top three reasons BEC should be the next exam you take:

  • The BEC section is being eliminated in 2024.
  • The BEC section has a 60% pass rate — and, historically, is the easiest section to pass.
  • Passing BEC now will replace the discipline section requirement that’s part of the CPA Evolution.

Here are some key dates if you’re looking to take BEC before the end of the year:

  • OCTOBER 1: Last day NASBA will process notices to schedule (NTS) for first-time BEC candidates; some states are later. 
  • NOVEMBER 12: Last day NASBA will process NTS for BEC re-exam candidates; some states are even earlier. 
  • DECEMBER 15: Last day to sit for any section of the CPA Exam in 2023; last day ever to sit for BEC. 

If you want to get a jump-start on the CPA Evolution, take BEC now before it’s gone forever.

Stay up to date on exam changes, the CPA Evolution transition process and what to expect in 2024.

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Questions about CPA Evolution structure

What’s changing from the current CPA Exam?

The existing CPA Exam includes four mandatory exams that all candidates take: AUD, BEC, FAR and REG. In 2024, the CPA Evolution Exam will include three core exams (AUD, FAR and REG) and one discipline exam of your choosing (either BAR, ISC or TCP). No longer will each candidate take the same four exams. While the names of the core exams remain the same, the content of each is changing. 

In addition to the exam realignment, essays and most of the authoritative guidance resources in the simulations will disappear in the new exam format. You can expect some of the content in the old exam to be realigned, and some (like BEC) to be sprinkled throughout CPA Evolution exam parts. Technology, digital acumen, and data analytics are also now a core component across all 6 section-parts.

What is the format of CPA Evolution?

While you will only need to take 4 exams (3 core + 1 discipline), here is the breakdown of each: 

  • AUD (core): 4 hours, 78 MCQs and 7 task-based simulations 
  • FAR (core): 4 hours, 50 MCQs and 7 task-based simulations 
  • REG (core): 4 hours, 72 MCQs and 8 task-based simulations 
  • BAR (discipline): 4 hours, 50 MCQs and 7 task-based simulations 
  • ISC (discipline): 4 hours, 82 MCQs and 6 task-based simulations 
  • TCP (discipline): 4 hours, 68 MCQs and 7 task-based simulations 

Questions about discipline exams

What topics are included in the new discipline exams?

  • Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) — Assurance or advisory services, financial statement analysis and reporting, technical accounting, and financial and operations management. 
  • Information Systems Control (ISC) — Business processes, information systems, information security and governance, and IT audit. 
  • Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP) — Individual tax compliance and planning, personal finance planning and entity tax compliance and planning. 

Which discipline exam should I take?

Do not take a discipline exam simply because it matches your field of work interests. Instead, you should choose the exam you feel you are the most likely to pass. That’s the goal! If you aren’t sure which will be easiest, Surgent recommends taking BAR. The content on this exam is most similar to your college curriculum. If you already work in tax and have a solid foundation, take TCP. 

Remember, if you fail – you can try a new discipline with no penalty! And no matter what discipline you take (and pass), you can still practice in any area.

Does it matter which order I take core and discipline exams?

You can take the exam parts in any order you choose. You do not have to pass core sections before your discipline exams.  

If you haven’t taken an exam yet and are able to schedule all of them before 2024 – Surgent recommends this order: BEC, AUD, FAR and REG. If you are unable to complete all exam sections before 2024, we still recommend starting with BEC, which will replace a discipline requirement.  

In 2024, Surgent recommends taking your discipline exam immediately following the core section associated with it: FAR > BAR, AUD > ISC and REG > TCP. 

Questions about what to do in 2023

Will the sections I pass in 2023 disappear in 2024?

No! You get to keep them. All exam parts passed before Jan. 1, 2024, will still count towards your CPA licensure. Since your passed sections are grandfathered in, no retesting is needed. 

If you pass BEC before 2024, BEC will replace a discipline section requirement. This is why we encourage you to pass BEC if you do nothing else in 2023. If you pass AUD, FAR or REG, they will carry over and serve as core credits. 

And best of all, if you pass any section in 2023, your 18-month clock will reset in 2024. This means any exam sections passed in 2023 will have credit until June 30, 2025. Scheduling exams as soon as possible will work in your favor. 

Are there any other important dates I need to know this year?

Yes! There are two massively important dates to put on your calendar: 

  • On November 15, 2023, NASBA will stop processing Authorizations to Test and Notices to Schedule for the BEC exam. You must have your application and NTS approved before then to be able to sit. Do not delay! 
  • December 15, 2023 is the last testing day of the current 4-part exam model. No exams will be offered from December 16 – December 31. That gives you 15 less days this year to sit. 

What are the best sources for exam changes and scheduling information?

Surgent’s team will keep this page up to date with CPA Evolution changes and important dates. Other helpful resources include: 

How will Surgent CPA Review help me with the transition?

In 2023, Surgent will begin rolling out an updated exam prep course. Your course material will dynamically change based on your testing date. For instance, if you are taking FAR in 2023, you will see different course content than people taking FAR in 2024. 

Rest assured, Surgent will make it as easy as possible for you to study the correct material!

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