Our own Roger Philipp, CPA, along with our Sr. Northeast Representative, Craig Cutbert, CPA both attended yesterdays AICPA meeting held at AICPA Headquarters in New York, NY. This meeting was exclusively for review course providers in order to discuss CPA Exam updates, issues and Quarter 1 Results. Here are some interesting results from Craig.

With the first testing window of the 2011 CPA Exam complete, its time to start analyzing the figures from the first windows results. Approximately 46,935 exams were taken in the first quarter of 2011. This represents an 18.8% decrease from the first quarter of 2010. Although this may seem like a significant decrease, the AICPA has asserted this is common in the exam industry when a new exam is administered. Although a slow first quarter, the AICPA predicts that the total amount of exams taken in 2011 will increase by 8% over 2010. This growth is expected to continue at roughly 8% year over year.

During the first quarter of 2011, the combined average pass rate for all 4 exams was roughly 42.5%. This is a significant decrease compared to the combined average pass rate for all 4 exams taken in the 2010, which were 48.4%, and 2009, which were 49.1% (the highest annual pass rate in the exams history). Although the scores were low in the first quarter of 2011, this is to be expected, as many candidates are taking the exam while working busy/tax season hours.

As the AICPA announced earlier this year, for the first three testing windows of 2011, exam scores will not be released until the blackout month following the window. This is due to the AICPA wanting to ensure that due process is taken in the grading process during the first few windows of CBT-e. Beginning in the fourth quarter of 2011, exam scores are expected to be released in a much more efficient and faster process. Starting Q4 2011, scores will begin to be released at the beginning of the second month within each testing window, with scores for exams taken late in the first month and throughout the second month being released just 2 weeks after the exam was taken. For example, if you were to take the exam at any point from November 1st 16th, you could expect to see your exam score around December 1st. If you were to take the exam on November 23rd, you could expect to see your exam score around December 8th. Although the majority of scores will be released in this manner, BEC scores may take slightly longer to be released due to the grading of Written Communications.

The AICPA proclaimed that so far the testing of the 2011 Exam is going quite smoothly. They claim to have received no complaints regarding IFRS. While candidate overall satisfaction, obtained via a post-exam optional survey, rates at just over 98%. The only minor complaint the AICPA has received relates to the exam load times when entering the TBS portion of the exam. The AICPA acknowledges the issue, and hopes to improve the load times in the future. However for the time being, when jumping from testlet 3 to the TBS portion of your exam, expect it to take around 20 seconds for the TBS to fully load.Link
Additional Notes:

  • The passing score for the CPA Exam will remain at 75
  • All Prometric Testing Centers now feature flat panel monitors
  • Mock exams are now provided through http://www.aicpa.org/cpa-exam
  • New accounting pronouncements are eligible for testing 6 months after their effective date. However if early adoption of the pronouncement is allowed, the pronouncement is eligible for testing 6 months after the pronouncements issuance date.
Craig Cuthbert, CPA