Earlier this week, we shared the AICPA’s announcement about the CPA Exam Changing Sooner Than 2017. These changes involve updating the CPA Exam software to improve the candidate’s user experience (UX) and implementing the new Task-Based Simulation (TBS) question type, the Document Review Simulation (DRS). Updates to the UX are set to go live on January 4, 2016, and the DRS will be included in the exam beginning July 1, 2016.
While some current and future CPA Exam candidates have been concerned about these alterations, we here at Roger CPA Review want to assure you that these changes are minor, especially compared to the 2017 CPA Exam changes. And here’s why.
The CPA Exam software update simply means that the software will be undergoing a minor user experience refresh.
These changes were incorporated to make the exam easier to navigate and understand. Examples include updating the welcome and break screens to make instructions more clear and succinct; enlarging the “Begin Exam” button in each section so it’s easier to see; and changing the “Exit Exam” button in the upper right hand corner to “Submit Testlet”, which can be seen in the AICPA’s sample exam here:
Perhaps this will be one of the most useful updates since in the previous version, candidates were actually afraid to submit their exam because the button was unclear. This helps alleviate that stress.
Another useful update is the timer display that candidates will see on every page of the exam. Notice how the time is divided by hours and minutes within the same display in the beginning of the exam; however, when the candidate has less than 1 hour remaining, the display changes solely to minutes remaining. When the candidate has less than 2 minutes, the display will turn red and indicate how much time they have left until there is no time remaining.
Candidates will experience this refresh to the CPA Exam software in all Prometric Testing Centers as of January 4, 2016 and should not expect these changes to greatly impact their testing experience.
As for the implementation of the DRS beginning July 1, 2016, the content being tested will still be based on the 2016 Content Specification Outline (CSO); the only change occurring will be the format in which it is delivered.
The DRS will also not be testing any higher order skills—that will only take effect during the 2017 CPA Exam changes. So as long as candidates know what the DRS is, how it’s’ being tested, and gain familiarity with the format/structure, they are still expected to perform well. And with Roger CPA Review’s updated course materials, candidates will have the resources and preparedness they need to pass the DRS with confidence.
Candidates can think of the 2016 CPA Exam as the next generation version of the CPA Exam: one that’s simply being refreshed and updated to continue to improve the user experience and ensure that the exam remains relevant to CPA job functions. As long as you’re familiar with the content and format, you’ll do great!