CPACPA Exam Changes

FAR Exam Changes For 2017


The 2017 CPA Exam is fast approaching. Beginning April 1, 2017, candidates will be tested on higher order skills and will see the exam administered differently. 

At Roger CPA Review, we are dedicated to helping our students succeed no matter what the CPA Exam may throw their way. Last time we talked about what changes were occurring on the Regulation (REG) section for 2017. This time, we’ll show you how the Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) section will be changing next year in comparison to how it is tested now. 

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FAR Content and Structure
How I Study for FAR on the CPA Exam

Content for FAR 

As we’ve mentioned for AUD, BEC, and REG, the new version of the CPA Exam will see less specified areas of testing as the AICPA gets rid of outdated practices and grouping other concepts within larger categories. In the chart below, you’ll notice that the content allocation for FAR is changing from 5 areas to 4, and many topics have been combined under larger umbrellas. For example, Non-profit accounting is now part of areas 1, 2, and 3, and Government Accounting continues over to State and Local Governments. While candidates will still be applying knowledge to topics like journal entries, accounts payable, stockholders, etc., they will now also need to analyze these items as well. 


Types of Questions on FAR 

In the chart below, you’ll see that FAR currently consists of:

  • 90 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • 7 Task-Based Simulations (TBSs)

On the 2017 Exam, notice that FAR will consist of: 

  • 66 MCQs
  • 8-9 TBSs 

The amount of MCQs will decrease while the amount of TBSs will increase on the new exam. Because of this balance, FAR will remain a 4 hour exam. 

Skills Tested on FAR 

On the current exam, the 2 skills that are tested are remembering and understanding and application, which are split 50/50. On the 2017 exam, the higher order skill that will be added and tested is analysis, which will comprise 25-35% of the exam whereas application will be 50-60% and remembering and understanding will be 10-20%. Notice that a larger amount of the exam will focus on application and analysis and less on remembering and understanding. 

Weighted Score for FAR 

On the current exam, MCQs account for 60% of a candidate’s total FAR score while TBSs account for 40%. In order to balance out the score scale more in 2017, you’ll see that MCQs will account for 50% of a candidate’s total FAR score while TBSs will also account for 50%. Dividing the scoring scale equally among both question types ensures that equal emphasis is given to both higher order skills (analysis through TBSs) and basic remembering & understanding and application skills (MCQs). 

We hope you found this breakdown of how each section will change in 2017 helpful! We wish everyone the best of luck on preparing for the CPA Exam now and in 2017! 

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