CPA Exam software gets upgrade

Real-world testing informed the design.

The AICPA is introducing new software at Prometric test centers to create a better CPA Exam testing experience for candidates. The upgraded platform will debut on April 1, 2018, one year after the launch of an exam with refreshed content.

The AICPA Examinations team contracted with an outside user-experience firm, which designed the exam's technology to modern standards, based on testing with actual candidates for the exam.

The new software will enable a 16-to-9 screen aspect ratio that will allow candidates full use of the 23-inch HD monitors in the test centers.

In addition, the software will:

  • Provide a modern and intuitive user interface.
  • Allow candidates to work with two documents at once, mimicking the experience of using two monitors, as many CPAs do.
  • Allow users to highlight areas of text.
  • Provide seamless cut-and-paste functionality.
  • Add Microsoft Excel as a tool.

As a result of the changes, the release of scores will be delayed in the second, third, and fourth quarters of 2018 as AICPA psychometric experts analyze results to see whether the new software affects candidates' ability to record a passing score.

Score release dates for the second quarter will be June 27 for the Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG) sections of the exam and June 29 for the Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) section. Scores will be released Sept. 19 for all four sections in the third quarter and Dec. 19 for all four sections in the fourth quarter.

A new tutorial developed by the Examinations team will help candidates prepare for the new software. It is available at

A new platform also is available for visually impaired CPA candidates. The JAWS (Job Access With Speech) technology reads the material on the screen for visually impaired candidates. Candidates who need this type of accommodation are required to contact the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy before taking the exam.


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