CPA Exam moves to 'continuous testing' model

By Ken Tysiac

A new “continuous testing” model for CPA Exam candidates is scheduled to make its debut on July 1, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) announced Tuesday.

Under the continuous testing model, candidates will have the ability to take the exam year-round, without restriction, other than waiting to receive scores from previous attempts of the same section or when there is a major change to the exam.

Continuous testing will replace the existing CPA Exam testing window model, which limits candidates to testing during designated time frames in each quarter during the year.

The 55 U.S. boards of accountancy support the move to continuous testing, according to NASBA, as it positions candidates to re-take sections of the exam while information is top-of-mind and may shorten the time needed to complete the four-section exam.

NASBA is continuing to serve as a resource to the boards of accountancy as they advocate for the legislative changes needed to enable the transition. Of the 55 U.S. accountancy jurisdictions, just one (South Carolina) is expected to be unable to offer continuous testing before 2021.

Forty jurisdictions already have completed the transition that will enable continuous testing. Fourteen others are in the process of completing the steps necessary to enable continuous testing by July 1. Those 14 jurisdictions are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

NASBA, the AICPA, and testing services provider Prometric previously announced that they are closing testing centers in the United States and Canada for 30 days to protect test takers and workers during the coronavirus pandemic. April 16 was announced as the scheduled reopening date, but NASBA said that date is subject to change.

Leading up to the July 1 date, NASBA, the AICPA, and Prometric have invoked an emergency testing period. As part of this procedure, the 2020 second-quarter testing window will be extended from June 10 to June 30.

Ken Tysiac (Kenneth.Tysiac@aicpa-cima.com) is the JofA’s editorial director.

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