Having experienced both versions of the exam, I can tell you the CBT format is much more rigorous. Time pressures have increased, content has expanded and simulations have been added. You see an increase in passing rates because people now have time to focus on one part at a time. However, the trick is having the endurance and focus to pass the entire exam during an 18-month window. Not many people have the stamina required to study for the test that way. The result is that candidates with less capability are weeded out. The bottom line is that if the exam was easier you would not see the drop in candidates that followed its implementation.
The new CPA exam, as all previous versions, is challenging and serves well to protect the public and the profession.
Jose M. Jimenez, CPA