2017 CPA Exam FAQs


As the 2017 CPA Exam Changes approach, we know that a lot of CPA Exam candidates have questions regarding some of the basic and not-so-basic components of how this new exam will look in terms of content and structure. To make things a bit easier for you, we compiled a list of FAQs borrowed from the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) that included our own students’ questions and concerns surrounding the next version of the CPA Exam. Take a look below to make sure that you have all your questions covered and are knowledgeable and prepared! 

When will the 2017 CPA Exam launch? 

During Q2 of next year. April 1, 2017 to be exact. 

How many sections will the next Exam include?

It will still be comprised of the following 4 sections:

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
  • Regulation (REG)

How many hours is the next Exam?

Each section of the Exam will be 4 hours long. Total testing time will be 16 hours. 

Will there be any breaks during the Exam?

Yes. A standardized 15 minute break approximately midway through each section will now be automatically offered in each part of the CPA Exam. Candidates can choose to accept or decline the break, and it will not count against their test taking time. Optional breaks between testlets will also be offered; however, these will count against candidates’ test taking time. 

What does it mean when they say higher order skills will be assessed to a greater extent?

Testing higher order skills will be accomplished by including additional Task-Based Simulations (TBSs) on the Exam as well as increasing the background material and data in a TBS that requires candidates to determine what information is or is not relevant to the question. Additionally, the Exam will use a framework based on Bloom’s Taxonomy that is supported by Exam blueprints which contains the content, skills, and representative tasks all CPA Exam candidates are expected to know. 

What types of questions will appear on the 2017 Exam?

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), Task-Based Simulations (TBSs), and a new type of TBS known as Document Review Simulation (DRS) will be used to assess a variety of content on all sections of the CPA Exam. The BEC section will also include 3 written responses. 

How many testlets will be on the Exam?

Each Exam section will have 5 testlets. 

Will I still get credit for passing sections of the current Exam after the next Exam launches?

Yes. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), boards of accountancy, and the AICPA have agreed that any combination of passed current Exam sections and passed next Exam sections will count toward licensure as long as it is completed within the 18 month window. 

How much will it cost to take the next Exam?

Information on Exam fees are available from NASBA and boards of accountancy. There will be a cost increase to accommodate the extra hour to take the Exam in the BEC and REG sections. 

How soon will I get my scores with the next Exam?

Candidates can expect a delay in the release of scores following the close of the first testing window–approximately 10 weeks. This is to ensure that sufficient time is given to statistically validate candidate performance on the next Exam. Scores will be released 10 days after the close of each testing window for Q3 and Q4 of 2017. In the first quarter of 2018, it is expected that the existing average 20-day rolling score release timeline will resume. 

Have any other questions not answered here? Let us know in the comment box below! 

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