Video transcript:

Rich Gallagher, CPA, CPA Exam Director of Content

As we move forward, I think the candidates who pass the exam may be different than who they are today. And that’s part of what we heard from the profession. That’s part of the practice analysis, that the practice analysis is requiring that the newly licensed CPA be able to function with higher-order critical thinking skills, and that really is the focus of what the exam will be trying to assess as we go forward.

So, in the past maybe somebody who could memorize an entire book would do really well on the exam and not do so well when they showed up on their first day at work. This is looking to screen candidates to make sure that the candidates who are going into the profession are able to think, and solve problems, and deal with the issues that are presently having to be dealt with by the firms. 

Mike Decker, AICPA VP—Examinations

One of the fears that we’ve heard in the exposure draft feedback was, there’s constraints on the pipeline right now, and the pipeline is flat. “Will the new exam be too difficult?” “Are you further constricting the pipeline with an updated exam?” And with the next version of the exam, we have to update it because the exam always has to remain relevant with the profession.

The good news is we listen to the profession. The exposure draft feedback that we’ve already received is quite positive. Everyone is supportive of the increase in task-based simulations and the assessment of higher-order skills. And we don’t think it’s going to be a harder test. We just think it’s going to be a different test.

Some candidates do better in the remember and understanding, and in those sort of multiple-choice kinds of questions. Other candidates do better being able to apply information. I remember my taking of microeconomics. It was something I could think through and something I could apply those concepts, if I would just think the language through and be able to apply, sort of, what I heard and what I learned.

So we think there’s going to be a different kind of candidate that will succeed and the good news is that’s what the profession is demanding. They’re demanding that higher-level thinking newly licensed CPA and this exam we think will meet those requirements.

Josh Stopek, CPA, AICPA Technical Manager for Research

As somebody who’s taking—or studying for—the CPA exam, I think one of the most important things you can do to prepare is to really understand what’s expected of you as a CPA in your role in the field.

You really need to understand the CPA’s perspective in analyzing the context, in knowing the appropriate rules and the appropriate definitions.  But also, “What’s the big picture?”, and looking at that in the right areas, and really understanding, “Where do I need to be the most proficient?” “Where do I need to really hone-in on the different types of content and the different types of rules?”


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