2017 CPA Exam: What to Expect (AICPA/NASBA Webinar)
The AICPA and NASBA recently held a webinar about the 2017 CPA Exam changes and what CPA Candidates can expect when April 1, 2017 rolls around. The webinar was transcribed and posted with permission from the AICPA Examinations Team.
Thomas Kenny: Good afternoon and welcome to the next version of the CPA exam, brought to you by NASBA and the AICPA. My name is Tom Kenny. I’m Director of Communications for NASBA. First of all, I’d like to welcome the thousands of candidates watching online. We have a great program for you today and we’ve got some great presenters. We have Henrietta Eve and Joe Maslott from the AICPA and Patricia Hartman from NASBA.
Henrietta is lead manager for product development for the AICPA’s examination team content group. Prior to joining the AICPA in 2013, she worked in public accounting for nine years as an audit manager. Henrietta is both a US CPA and a chartered accountant in England and Wales.
Joe Maslott is both a CPA and CGMA. He’s the Senior Manager for Content Management with the AICPA examination team. Joe has over 15 years of accounting experience with PWC, AT&T, and E-Trade Finance. In his role at the AICPA, Joe lead the CPA Exam’s most recent practice analysis research project, which is designed to document the scope of entry level practice, as well as serve as the foundation for the exam’s validity and legal defensibility.
Patricia Hartman is the Director of Examination Services for NASBA. In her role, she oversees the administration and operations for the CPA Examination Services Division, the National Candidate Database, CPA [Licensing Services 01:45], NASBA CPA Examination Administration Committee, State Board Executive Directors Committee, and the International Qualifications Appraisal Board.
Before we begin, there are a few housekeeping items to go over. First of all, we love all the questions we’re getting. Many of you are using the chat feature, and we want you to continue to use the chat feature. We will do everything we can to make sure that we answer your questions either over the chat feature or we will pose those questions to our presenters. We also will have questions from our live audience. To let you know, all of the presentation and the webinar will be available 24 to 48 hours after this webinar is over.
Lastly, we’re asking for your help. We’re going to send you a short survey. We need your help in answering some of the questions, so that we can do a better job in the future to give you the content you need to pass the CPA exam.
Once again, welcome. I’m going to hand it over to Pat Hartman to start the webinar. Pat?
Patricia Hartman: Thank you, Tom. Welcome everyone. I’m very excited to be here for the first US webinar. We’re going to do a brief overview with the … As Tom mentioned, we represent AICPA and NASBA. We’re going to talk to you about why you should become a CPA. We’re going to talk about the next version of the CPA exam. We’ll talk about the actual exam administration, experience required for licensing, and then we’ll offer you some resources as an exam candidate.
A little bit about the AICPA, it is the world’s largest membership association representing the accounting profession, with over 412,000 members in 144 countries, 125 years serving the public interest. They create and score the Uniform CPA Exam and offer special credentials for CPAs.
NASBA is the world’s largest accounting regulatory organization. We represent the 55 boards of accountancy, which include all 50 states and five territories, which license and regulate 665,000 CPAs. Our mission is to enhance the effectiveness and advance the common interests of the boards of accountancy. The boards of accountancy issue a license to CPAs and regulate the practice of public accountancy in their jurisdiction.
Now I’m going to hand off to Henrietta, who will talk to you about why you should become a CPA.
Henrietta Eve: Hi everyone. The CPA license really is a premier accounting license. It’s backed by a rigorous exam and it has strict licensing requirements and a Code of Ethics. Having the CPA license really gives employers the knowledge that you have acquired, the skills and knowledge required to do your job. It really does set candidates a part.
It’s widely recognized worldwide as a leading license. It gives people that hold the CPA license the ability to work in many different industries and internationally; thus, significant expanded opportunity for careers, job security is high, and the highest salaries as a result of having a CPA license.
I’m going to hand it over to Joe, who’s going to talk about the demand for CPAs.
Joe Maslott: Thanks, Henrietta. The CPA license continues to be a very high value add to your accounting degree. It’s something that really, of course, public accounting firms look for, but not only public accounting firms; companies are also interested in that background of a CPA, where there’s a strong technical requirements to pass the CPA, but there’s also that base of ethical and procedural excellence. It’s something that folks in the tax and audit space in public accounting look for.
Someone who has about one to three years’ experience can expect to make, at a small firm, about $60,000 to $70,000. If you’re at a large firm and you have one to three years’ experience, it’s even more. You’re talking some $70,000 to $80,000. It continues. Robert Half projects that accounting will outpace other careers as far as growth and earning potential.
Turning it back to Tom. We have a poll question for those online.
Thomas Kenny: That’s right. We have a quick poll question for everybody. Do your best to answer. Pretty easy to do. Which describes you? a) I’ve taken one or more sections of the exam; b) I’m an accounting student, I plan to take the exam; c) I’m an accounting student, but I’ve not yet decided to take the exam; or d) I’m a business major considering accounting as a career.
Go ahead and answer those as best as you can that describes you. Then we’ll pop them up and see where our audiences are from, where they are within the exam. Go ahead and click the button forward, see if I can push these out to you. Let’s see if we can have those poll answers come up.
Okay, we see that the majority of folks, 73%, have taken one or more sections of the exam. That’s great. 22% are accounting majors that plan to take the exam. That’s great. A few of you are accounting students, but you haven’t decided, so we’re here to help you decide that. Also, I’m a business major considering accounting as a career, which is a great thing, too, 2.8%. That’s great. Back to you, Joe. I appreciate it.
Joe Maslott: Thanks, Tom. I’m going to give a little background to those online on why are we changing the exam. There is obviously nothing wrong with the current exam, but based on our boards policy, we relook at the content and skills required of newly licensed CPAs at least every seven years. We want to make sure that the exam is both relevant to the profession, to the job that a newly licensed CPA does, and to fulfill their duty to protect the public interest. That, as business change, as technology changes, needs to be refreshed.
The last big update to the exam was done in 2011, where we introduced task-based simulations. Henrietta will talk more about the allocation of task-based simulations in each section. For the first time, the BEC section will have simulations. Henrietta will get into exactly how many you can expect. We’ll also get into the organization of questions within each section, so you know what to expect when you click through the exam.
We at the AICPA lead a research project. That research project is to refresh and take a relook at those knowledge and skills that we need to test for someone who’s newly licensed, someone who has generally about one to two years’ experience. It’s that point of entry into the profession. It’s when you’re conferred upon the license, what knowledge and skills do you need to have.
This was a rigorous process, where we went to the profession. We went to big firms, we went to business and industry, we went to small firms. We met with newly licensed CPAs and those who supervise newly licensed CPAs to really drill down into what are those knowledge and skills that are required. We went through a multiple-step process. This research project can generally take from three to four years.
In the future, we’d like to have changes to the exam be less big bang or less impactful or less disruptive to the profession, but have more smaller, reoccurring type of changes to the exam. That’s something we’re looking forward to because big changes to the exam are hard for everyone, but changes are necessary.
As everyone here knows, if you’ve taken a section of the exam, the exam is scheduled to launch, the next version, April 1 of 2017. For us, we’re really excited to launch this version of the exam. It has some really key enhancements that we think tie better to what are expected of newly licensed CPAs. How will the exam change?
Henrietta Eve: Video.
Joe Maslott: Oh, yeah, the video. Thanks, Henrietta.
Henrietta Eve: Now we’re going to show a video about how the exam is going to change. We can queue video.
Speaker 5: Okay. You’ve made the decision to take the Uniform CPA Examination in 2017. You may already know that the next version of the exam launches on April 1st, 2017. You may be wondering what’s changed, what stayed the same, and how to best prepare.
The next exam has been designed to focus more on testing your critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical ability, also known as higher order skills that are in demand by employers who hire newly licensed CPAs. While the new exam will keep the same sections, all four sections will now include more task-based simulations, in addition to multiple choice questions. Written responses will still be required in BEC.
To help you better prepare for the exam, the current content and skill specification outlines will be replaced with informative blueprints, which will provide greater clarity in the presentation of content, skills, and related representative tasks that may be tested on the exam. To allow you sufficient time to complete the additional simulations, each section of the exam will be four hours in length, with a total testing time of 16 hours.
The next CPA exam will also offer a standardized 15-minute break that will not count against testing time. You’ll be able to relax, stretch your legs, or have a quick snack during each exam section. Now that you know some of the key changes coming to the exam on 2017, you’re ready to take one of the final steps towards earning your CPA license.
Joe Maslott: Thank you for that quick video. I’ll get into exactly how the exam will change. Henrietta will give more specifics, again, on how questions are allocated throughout each section.
Why were changes needed for the exam? Again, per our board policy, we do that at least every seven years. Doing our research, talking to those who are newly licensed, those who supervise nearly licensed, increases in technology and outsourcing have really fundamentally shifted what a newly licensed CPA is doing on the job right now, even as compared to 10 years ago. There’s less of the manual footing of ledgers, if you’re auditing, less manual work, more reliant on technology; outsourcing, where tax returns or certain audit work would be sent overseas to be done. That used to be done by those newly licensed professionals.
Someone who newly licensed is asked to exhibit higher order skills. That’s something you’ll hear a few times today, higher order skills. That was really the big takeaway from our research. Those higher order skills, which you can relate to critical thinking, analytical ability, problem solving. Of course, if you’re talking about the profession, you have to be skeptical. You’re talking about sufficiency of evidence and how does that get communicated either to clients or in your work product.
The exam will really change two-fold. Currently, the exam is really split up by skill level that are at a basics level. We’re talking about the application skill level, we’re talking about remembering and understanding.
What we did during the practice analysis, our research project, was to take the current exam and tie it to skills that a CPA would be expected to exhibit in the field. Currently, we test those out about 50-50, that basic remembering and understanding, to application, which is to be, “Show me how to do something.”
Application, if you’ve currently taken the exam, in the far section, it would be recorded journal entry. Select from an account list, select an account, enter the corresponding debit or credit. That’s an example of an application item, straightforward. The next version of the exam has a shift toward more higher order skills, which are analysis and evaluation.
What does that mean exactly? The analysis tasks are really asking a candidate to go a step further than that application task. That application task would be just a recorded journal entry. The next step would really be why is that journal entry needed. Tell me why you’re doing that; not just that you can do it, but why do you need that journal entry.
Then the next step up, which would be evaluation, is really how we draw the line as you’re making a conclusion, you’re making a recommendation either to your employer or to a client. As you can see right now, evaluation is only in the audit section. It’s 5% to 15% of the skill weight of the audit section.
If you looked at our current content specification outline for the exam, it would give a similar type of skill allocation, but it wouldn’t as closely tie to the content as it does for the next version of the exam. I’ll go into some examples on the audit section blueprint coming up.
As you can see, audit is the only section with the evaluation task. That might seem odd, but if you think about the purpose of the CPA license, it is really that audit function. You’re expressing an opinion on a company’s books and issuing that opinion. That is really the highest level of skill possible.
A lot of the tasks that a newly licensed CPA performs in the audit, like a physical inventory observation, that newly licensed CPA could be the only CPA there; therefore they will have to really go through all the steps. They have to understand what’s going on. They have to be able to apply what they know, analyze the situation, and come to a conclusion on what’s going on. As we all know, a physical inventory is a one-shot deal. You get it right at the closest time to a period end. It’s really key.
A lot of what we test on the exam in the audit section is really pertinent to that evaluation skills. A lot of the accounts that a newly licensed CPA would see: cash, property, plant, and equipment, inventory. You could expect to see that potentially at the evaluation level. In the few slides, Henrietta will go through exactly how that translates into questions on the exam.
Henrietta Eve: This slide really shows the makeup of the exam as it currently is versus the next exam. As you can see right now with the current exam, Audit, FAR, and Regulation are all 60% multiple choice questions and 40% task-based simulations. The Business Environment and Concepts section is 85% multiple choice questions and 15% written response.
For the Audit, Financial Accounting, and Regulation sections, the big change there is that they will become 50% multiple choice questions and 50% task-based simulations. Now in order to do that, we have decreased the number of multiple choice questions and increased the number of task-based simulations.
I would say the difference also, in order to get to those higher order skills testing, is the task-based simulations now, for the next exam, we will be providing candidates with realistic resources perhaps, especially at those higher order skills, the analysis, the evaluation. Maybe you would be given some invoices, a memorandum, some emails. Candidates would be expected to … Sorry. Can you go back?
Female: I’m sorry.
Henrietta Eve: Candidates would be expected to work out what information they need to use versus what’s maybe relevant information, but distracting. In the Business and Environments Concept, we are introducing task-based simulations into that. That will be 35% of the exam. The multiple choice questions will be 50% and the written responses will remain 15% of the exam. Sorry. Now you can go …
Henrietta Eve: Thank you. This slide shows the exam structure for the new exam. Each of the exams will be comprised of five testlets of which two will be multiple choice questions. For the Audit, Financial Accounting, and Regulations sections, the remaining three testlets will all be task-based simulations. In the Business Environments and Concepts section, the last testlet will be written communication.
Now I would note you can take a break between each of those testlets, but with the exception of the break between testlets three and four, your clock will remain counting down. You will lose time. If you need to use the restroom or get a drink, your clock will continue to count down. With the break between the third and the fourth testlet, you will get an optional 15-minute break.
Now, obviously, you don’t have to take any of these breaks, but if you do choose to take that break between the third and the fourth testlet, which we predict to be about half way through the exam, you get that 15 minute break. If you choose to take it, your clock will stop. You can get a refreshment, use the restroom.
You won’t be able to access any of your notes. You won’t be able to leave the Prometric building. It’s really just a refresher break, but if you’re not back at your computer, the Prometric Center, when the clock counts down to zero, your time will start again. It’s very important that you only take that 15 minutes if you don’t want to have your clock continue countdown. Yeah, we have a question here.
Female: [crosstalk 21:29] question.
Speaker 7: Within the testlets, are the questions computer-adaptive or no?
Henrietta Eve: That’s a great question. As the exam is structured right now, only the multiple choice questions are computer-adaptive; the task-based simulations are not. That will stay the same for the next version of the exam. We can continue. I’m passing it over to Joe now to speak. Oh, we have some questions, hopefully.
Thomas Kenny: We are fortunate enough to have many questions. Thank you, everyone, for sending in all these questions. Along the lines of what we just spoke about, there are a few candidates that are worried about hearing that the scoring is going to be different on the next exam versus the current exam. Can you guys elaborate on the scoring process, and is it going to change?
Henrietta Eve: [Do you want to do that 22:21]?
Joe Maslott: Yeah, absolutely. The next exam will be scored exactly the same as the current exam. The main charge of our board of examiners is to set a passing score, which will remain 75. They’ll go through the process of actually looking at the exam themselves and also looking at the results of candidates in determining what that score will be and then translate it to 75. 75 will still be the passing score. Just like some college courses that you might have had, there are certain weighting two questions that happens. Some questions are more difficult and, thus, weighted appropriately; others are easier and weighted correspondingly to that.
Henrietta Eve: I would to that. I think, obviously, our charge is protecting the public interest. Our goal is to make sure that that 75 maps to this is the person that can protect the public interest. Now the research project that Joe spoke about, our practice analysis, potentially has changed what that means, protecting the public interest, because the role of someone with one to two years of experience has changed, but ultimately that’s where we’re setting that 75, that person that we can say, “You can go out and do your job effectively and efficiently.”
Thomas Kenny: Great. Along those lines, someone just asked, “What does computer-adaptive mean? Not everybody may know that. Could you explain what that means as far as you talked about with the MCQs?”
Joe Maslott: Yeah. Really what it means when you land on your first testlet in any section, you get a medium difficulty testlet. Depending how you do on that first testlet or those series of questions, your next testlet will either be hard or medium.
Because they’re weighted differently, theoretically, if you’re routed to a hard testlet, you could get less questions right overall and still pass, but no matter how you do on that first testlet, whether if you do well and you’re routed to a harder testlet or if you don’t do so well and you’re routed to another medium testlet, either path you can still pass the exam. It’s just the harder testlet allows us to get really that more precise score on what you’re doing and how you’re answering our content questions.
Thomas Kenny: Thank you very much. Great answer. I have another question. Can you give an example of a task-based simulation?
Henrietta Eve: Yeah, so-
Thomas Kenny: Specifically … I’m sorry. The candidate asked in BEC, but …
Henrietta Eve: BEC? Okay.
Thomas Kenny: What would be an example of a task-based simulation?
Henrietta Eve: I guess BEC has particular content topics that relate to, say, ratios. Maybe we would give a candidate a balance sheet and an income statement and ask candidates to calculate certain ratios. Maybe you would be asked to work out why ratios have changed during the years, maybe why has your current ratio gone up this year. With that, we might provide some emails that talk about a transaction that’s happened during the year, [an account 25:43] that has to work out. That transaction must have had an effect on the current ratio, something along those lines.
Joe Maslott: Yeah. I think you gave a great example. Henrietta really did give a good example on the difference between application and analysis. Task-based simulations are really going to be testing either application or analysis in the BEC section or application, analysis, and evaluation in Audit.
As we know here, FAR and regulation has application and analysis, but, as Henrietta pointed out, calculating the ratio is probably an application task. You have a base of knowledge, you’re applying it and coming up with your current ratio. Knowing how to use that current ratio based on business events, as Henrietta described, is really that analysis level. Do you know how to go through the mental calculations and then analyze the results, or properly document or relay that analysis to clients or co-workers?
Henrietta Eve: Yeah, then I would add to that. Obviously, in the Audit section, we do have evaluation to get that task-based simulation to the evaluation level. We would be asking the candidate to come to a conclusion or something like that. If it was auditing a particular balance sheet account, it would be is that balance materially misstated based on the different facts you’ve been given and the answers you’ve maybe given previously in the simulation?
Joe Maslott: One more thing on BEC, it’s a topic near and dear to me, BEC has a few different areas. We have IT, we have financial management, which Henrietta gave the example of, we also have-
Henrietta Eve: Governance.
Joe Maslott: I’m sorry?
Henrietta Eve: The governance, corporate governance.
Joe Maslott: Corporate governance. It has a lot of different areas. You’ll see task-based simulations and financial management, you’ll see cost accounting type of problems, you’ll see COSO, internal control type of questions.
It’s really that BEC section is a game-changer, where there’s a lot of basic principles, but really core to the services that a CPA provides in an audit, performing financial accounting and reporting work if you’re working for a company, base business knowledge if you’re in the taxation world.
It’s really a foundational type of section. We think having those task-based simulations in that section is a big key to really that robust testing.
Speaker 8: I just have a question.
Joe Maslott: We have a question in the room.
Thomas Kenny: We have a question from the audience.
Speaker 8: For the BEC section, you said IT is incorporated in it. Can you give an example of how IT is actually incorporated into the simulation part?
Joe Maslott: The IT section, right now it’s currently at the remembering and understanding an application level. Primarily, we test those with multiple choice questions, but you can expect to see IT, internal control type of questions, where how does the IT environment or culture or controls really relate to services that a CPA would provide, whether that’d be an audit or a test or in a financial accounting space. Thank you.
Thomas Kenny: Another candidate just asked the question of GAAP versus IFRS on the exam. Can you expand upon will that ratio change, or will there be more IFRS on the exam?
Henrietta Eve: There will not be more IFRS on the exam. We will still be testing it, but I don’t think it’s going to be as … Obviously, these are differences between IFRS and US GAAP where it was previously. You can expect there will be some testing of it, no more than previously.
Joe Maslott: There’s really probably a de-emphasis on testing IFRS. You could have seen simulations in the past just on IFRS. Right now we’re focused on testing differences between IFRS and US GAAP.
Henrietta Eve: To that end, I think that it’s likely only going to be in multiple choice questions.
Joe Maslott: Probably.
Thomas Kenny: We have a number questions, but we have a lot of content to cover. I’m going to hand it back over to the presenters. Folks, I’m not sure who’s up, but …
Joe Maslott: Thanks, Tom. I’m up.
Thomas Kenny: Joe is up.
Joe Maslott: All the research that we did and the changes that we’re making to the exam, the single biggest improvement is the blueprint. Really, it’s one of the biggest changes to happen to the exam in a long time. If you went to our current content specification outline, it is useful, but not as useful as the blueprint.
The blueprint ties the content, the skill being tested, and provides a representative task of what is expected of a newly licensed candidate at that content and skill intersection. That really doesn’t exist in a great format currently. They’re in separate spots of our current content specification outline, where we list out all the content and, at the back of the document, we list out all the skills. It’s really not as useful.
One of the biggest changes again is that blueprint. What we have on the screen now is the example of the Auditing and Attestation section. You can see that the content areas still follow that flow of an engagement, where you have ethics and professional responsibilities and then the corresponding weight. You have assessing risk and planning, then you move into performing procedures and obtaining evidence, and then you have the reporting piece. You can see that there’s a corresponding score weight with those. You can see in the middle that a lot of that is weighted toward risk assessment and performing procedures, but what really is new is that skill allocation.
When you flip to the next, you can see … This is just an example of one of the pages of the Audit section. It’s tough for folks in the audience here, but, hopefully, online, you can see, or this is a public document; we’ll give you the website at the end of this presentation where you can go and look. Each section has all of its content tied to skill and representative task. Across all four sections, it’s 600 task statements.
Really, we think this is really a new benefit for candidates, for educators. We think it helps demystify what’s on the exam, and really can help, if you’re taking a review course or not taking a review course, to help understand what you’re being asked on the exam. I think there’s a few clicks in here, Pat.
Patricia Hartman: No, I think we removed them.
Joe Maslott: Oh, good.
Patricia Hartman: Sorry.
Joe Maslott: No problem. No problem. My favorite example here is the analytical procedures. This is analytical procedures for obtaining evidence. If you went to the current audit contents specification outline, all you would see are analytical procedures are tested. That gives you some background, but not as much background as what’s on the next version of the exam where we tie it to both skill level and give some six representative tasks on how a candidate would be expected to exhibit those knowledge and skills on the exam.
It’s really, we hope, a very useful product. Not only will it help candidates study, but it helps us in the creation of items for the exam. Tom, I think we have another poll question.
Thomas Kenny: Next poll, for those of you who plan to take the next version of the exam, what is your biggest concern? Not enough study time, not enough preparatory resources, material will be too difficult, or is there another reason? Go ahead and answer that. We’ll give you a few seconds. Folks who are online, please answer that through your Q&A.
Let me see if we have some answers. I’ll push out the poll. Now we push out the results of the poll. While we’re waiting on that, we’re going to start with some questions. We’re going to ask some of our audience members. I’m going to hand them a microphone. If they have a question, ask away. If not, pass it to your fellow colleague.
Speaker 7: Hi. I was just wondering, after you created the new blueprint, how did you test the questions? Did you put them in previous exams, like we do with the GMAT, or how did you know the students would be able to answer them and that your pass rate would be similar or congruent to what’s been done in the past? Thank you.
Joe Maslott: That’s a great question. Really it’s a multi-phased approach. I’m going to answer this both on what we do for pre-testing questions and what we did with the actual blueprint. All of the representative task statements in the blueprint were part of a formalized survey that were sent to CPAs across the nation who supervise newly licensed CPAs. They were asked to rate these representative tasks on both criticality and frequency.
We actually have hard data on are these the type of things we should be asking? Then we asked our volunteer base at the AICPA who volunteers and reviews and approves all of the questions that are scored for a candidate to really weigh in on these, to provide that professional judgment on, “Hey, we heard that this important or this isn’t important. What do the experts in the room think?” That’s really how we came up with the blueprint.
For the pre-testing of items, we do pre-test items, multiple choice questions and simulations. We want to make sure that they perform adequately and that they’re not confusing, that they really target both the content and the skill level.
Henrietta Eve: I would add to that as well. When we introduced new item types … For example, in ’16 Q2, this year, we actually introduced a whole new item type called the document review simulation, but also the testing evaluation, which was new to us in audit, we did do field test.
What that means is we go out to universities, firms and we make sure that what we think we want to test is what we’re actually testing, because it’s very important, obviously, if we are saying to firms, to the public, “This is what we’re testing,” that we actually are testing that; otherwise, we’re really not doing a great job of protecting the public interest. Those field tests we do two or three times a year really give us a good basis for developing new items that are going to go on the exam.
Speaker 10: I have another question. What is the best strategy to review the new version of regulation exam? Thank you.
Henrietta Eve: I would think use all the resources that you can out there. At the end, Joe is actually going to tell us some of the resources that will be available to you when you’re prepping for the exam. Make sure you review the NASBA website.
The AICPA website has a whole significant section on the next CPA exam. With that, we have this whole blueprint that you would be able to review. We have sample tests where you can learn not only the software, but see some example item types. We also have the tutorial where you can learn the exam software. With those sample tests, we do have a current version and the next version of the exam available so that you can get yourself familiar with the types of items that you will be seeing.
Thomas Kenny: I’m going to ask some questions from our audience online. Everyone’s concerned about passing the exam, of course, but the pass rates … A few questions asked, “Do you think the pass rates will change for the candidates under the next version of the exam?”
Joe Maslott: I think it’s going to be different. Our testing professionals, they’re called psychometricians, which is mental measurement, they ran some studies to see if you change the weight and corresponding amount of questions on the exam, what would that do to pass rates?
Actually, the past rates remained very consistent, but it changes who passes. Folks who are better at reasoning their way through items really have more of an advantage, so less advantage to those who are memorizing facts, those who understand and can apply and analyze. I think we’ll see a shift in those who pass the exam.
Thomas Kenny: Just to let you know, we do not have all the poll results, but I’m scrolling through all the responses in the Q&A because we had a little bit of a technical difficulty. It seems like a lot of students don’t feel that they have enough study time. Our audience members just laughed because they think they feel the same way how, which is a problem.
It’s a difficult exam. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. I praise you folks for moving this way. Maybe if you have some tips on what we can do to help with that study time. Does anybody have any tips for our candidates out there?
Joe Maslott: I would ask the group here, is it a work-life balance because you’re starting your careers, or is it the amount of content being tested? I’d like to know your thoughts.
Thomas Kenny: Anyone? Anyone like to … Just raise your hand, I’ll bring the mic over to you.
Speaker 8: I think there is a lot of content, obviously. That’s what mostly concerns me because when I’m going through all the topics, some topics, I want to be able to know … That I focus on it more. If you could let us know what topics is going to be more tested on, that way I would have an idea. I’m going to focus on this and I’m going to be able to … During the exam, if there was [analysis 41:11] parts then I would be able to better off knowing what is more important to me for the content.
Henrietta Eve: I guess part of the blueprint on that summary page is it does give the weighting of each of the areas. It very hard for us to say exactly what you should focus on, especially within each given area, but if you look and see that one particular area is 30% and another one is maybe 10%, personally, if I was sitting at the exam, I would assume from that that the one that’s 30% weighted, I’m probably going to see more questions on that. Maybe I would then …
Speaker 8: Just follow the percentage that’s broken down.
Joe Maslott: Yeah. That’s a really good advice. I would also look at it from a content perspective. When I was in school, I didn’t have a Governmental Accounting class. I knew it would be tested at a certain level, I had to brush up on that. Really what classes you’ve had, what experiences you’ve had really play into, I think, how you target your study.
Thomas Kenny: Great question.
Patricia Hartman: I also think, Tom, I’d like to add, it’s very important for you to remember that when you get a notice to schedule, you have a certain amount of time in that. Don’t sign up for more sections of the exam than you’re actually prepared to take during that length of that notice to schedule. I have a lot of candidates who sign up for all four thinking they can get it done in six months. If they can, that’s great, but, for most people, they’re unable to do that.
I’d say remember that in part of your planning. Just plan ahead. We’ll get into some of that when we talk about exam administration, but that’s going to be a key element for you: know what your plan is, if you’re going to start with BEC first and that’s the first one you sign up for, and don’t sign up until you’re ready.
Thomas Kenny: That’s some great information. Now let’s move on. We have some more questions, and we’ll answer them later. If we can move on to examine administration.
Patricia Hartman: All right, my favorite topic. I’m actually going to let Henrietta start out on this one.
Henrietta Eve: Our standard score release is generally 10 days after the exam window closes. For the ’17 Q2 window, which will be April 1st through May 31, we are going to be having an extended score reporting timeline of 10 weeks. Really that’s so that we can do that standard setting that Joe spoke of earlier.
That’s something to just be cognizant of when you’re working out when you want to do the exams. We don’t, by any means, encourage delaying taking exams or anything like that, but it is worth just remembering that your score, if you sit during that window, is going to take a lot longer to come back to you.
Now if you do have any issues where you might be affected by the 18-month window, it’s best to speak to your state board and see how that will play out. Each state look at these things on a case-by-case basis, but I’m sure they’d be willing to have a conversation with you, if you think that waiting for that 10 weeks is going to turn out to be a problem for you.
From a testing time and breaks perspective, we are adding an hour to the BEC section and the Regulations section. The total testing time will become 16 hours. The reason for that really is in the BEC section, we’re adding the task-based simulations.
In the Regulations section, we found through studies that were done by our psychometrics department, our testing specialists, that the Reg section really was taking the full three hours that people had to complete it. As a result of that, by increasing the number of task-based simulations we’re including, we felt that it would be wise to add an hour to that section.
As I also mentioned before, we’re having that 15-minute standardized break that will be added in that does not count against your time. It is optional. If you do not want to take that break, you don’t have to. Then we still have the optional time breaks between each other testlet, where your clock will continue to countdown.
Patricia Hartman: All right. I’ll talk to you about the testing windows. With the Q2 2016, we actually increased the testing time available to candidates, just because we knew we’d have a high volume, which is typical before you make a change to an exam. It’s extended up until … Instead of January to the end of February, now it’s up until March 10th. That will continue through the end of 2017 at this time.
The only window that will not be extended by those 10 days will be the one Q2 at the launch of the next exam. Again, we have to do the standard setting. We wanted to make sure of that. When you’re planning, remember that you can actually … When you go into Prometric, [maybe it’s 45:54] 10 days into typically what we call the blackout period. Those dates are available on our website also.
A lot of candidates are concerned. They started testing now. They have conditional credit, want to know will they have to retake BEC when the next exam launches, or will we have to take Reg? As long as you’re within the 18-month period, there’s no reason for you to have to retake any of those sections. If you passed BEC before April and you’re in the 18 months, you’re just going to keep testing the way you normally would.
Exam fees will be going up. We do have to collect them in advance of you actually sitting for the exam. The ones for Reg and BEC, we’re going to collect for the extra hour. The boards and NASBA collect at different times. You can check with your state board, or call NASBA and find out when your boards will be actually doing that. It’s anticipated that we’ll have completed that increase by the end of this year. Do we have any questions thus far about the …
Thomas Kenny: We have been flooded with questions.
Patricia Hartman: Thank you.
Thomas Kenny: We’ve got some great topics.
Patricia Hartman: Great.
Thomas Kenny: Many candidates are concerned about the 18-month window. Will that be extended? I know it was discussed, but could you elaborate on it-
Patricia Hartman: Sure.
Thomas Kenny: Changing it because the next version of the exam may be more difficult and it’s new? Are there any plans for that?
Patricia Hartman: No, the State Board of Accountants is the only entity with the authority to extend the 18-month window. They do look at exceptional cases. For example, if you’re deployed with the military, if you had a serious family illness, a death in your family, a personal illness. In this case, what we’re looking at is we know that some candidates may negatively be impacted by the delay.
As an example, if you just start testing in April, you shouldn’t have any issue. You can take Q2, you can take the next section, Q3, and then Q4. If you have, as an example, two or three credits existing when you go into April, or it’s your last credit, and you’re sitting there, you’ve just got to take FAR, that’s the last one, and it’s due to expire in July, it’s not going to expire until we actually receive the scores.
The way the National Candidate Database is setup is to do that automatically. If we have an attendance on you then we’re waiting for that score. The credit expiration program will not run until we have that score. The credit expiration is based on when you actually attended the exams. That’s what we’re going to be looking for.
During the 10-week period that scores are going to be delayed, NASBA will be running an analysis for all of your state boards that shows everyone who tested that window, what their status is, what credit they actually have, how it would be impacted, and what the recommendation to the boards as to how long they should extend. The goal is to make sure that candidates have ample opportunity to test. We have a question?
Speaker 10: Yeah, thank you. I have a question. I’m just starting preparing the CPA exam. After we launched a new CPA exam, which strategy would be best? Should I go for the most difficult one first or should I go for the relatively easy one? Thank you.
Henrietta Eve: I think that’s a really good question. When I sat the exam, my personal choice was to do my hardest one first because I felt like, with the 18-month window, I wanted to get the hardest ones out of the way, get the credit for them before that 18-month window started, so that I thought the easier ones, hopefully, I would get through quicker. Everyone doesn’t do it that way. Everyone has their own personal preference. Joe, I don’t know how you went about doing it.
Joe Maslott: I had the pleasure to take the paper and pencil version of the exam, so my strategy was a little different. It was more about surviving the two days of testing back-to-back. I like to look at it from a content decision. You could start strong with the section that you think you can knock out and then move forward and really concentrate on knocking out sections that maybe you don’t feel strong on.
Thomas Kenny: We have another question from one of our audience members.
Speaker 9: I have a question. Because some students, when they graduate, they don’t have 150 credits, but let’s say if they pass the four parts of exam, NASBA give how long time periods to fulfill other requirement, like work experience and fulfill the 150? How long that time?
Patricia Hartman: That would actually vary by jurisdiction because some states allow you to sit with 120 and you must obtain the additional 30 hours before you apply for licensing, but some of them will allow you test at 120, but you have 60 days to complete your education, or 90 days or 180. It varies across multiple boards. Some boards will not allow you to sit until you have 150 hours.
When you look at the requirements on our website or on the state board that you go to, if you go to NASBA.org, we can connect you with all the state boards, you’ll see the differences. Just make sure you understand that. There’s no time frame to get your experience done either. I think very few states actually expire exam scores. There’s a couple that do, but it’s usually four or eight years out, just a handful of them. You can get your experience while you’re taking the exam. There’s nothing that says you can’t be working and taking the exam. That’s a little ambitious, I think, but if you feel that you’re that kind of person who can work and study for this exam and take it, you can gain your experience while you’re taking the exam.
Thomas Kenny: Great [credential 51:29]. Great question. We have another question from our audience member.
Speaker 7: My question is for states that require the 120 requirement, plus courses in audit, tax. There is a little bit of confusion, where do we need all 33 credits in accounting or do we need only the one course in the specific section that we need tax, audit, managerial?
Patricia Hartman: Out of the 30 hours of accounting that are required, again, this would vary by state. Some of them will tell you specifically it must include audit, tax. A lot of them will specify exactly how many hours, but most of them would just want to make sure that you took an auditing course, a tax course, an accounting course. Remember a lot of these have to be above introductory level. You want to make graduate level [or something 52:12] because that’s what they’re going to be looking at.
I think you told me earlier you’re planning on licensing in New York. I don’t recall the exact details to New York, but there is some specificity in the number of hours that you would need. We can look at that on our website.
Speaker 7: Thank you.
Thomas Kenny: Great question. Another question from our audience online. I have a few of them here, so give me one second. Many of them are asking about … Sorry, I just lost the question. Oh, about which review course provider they should use? I know we’ve had this question before. Could you answer that? Because I think it’s really important for candidates to know their options about studying for the exam.
Patricia Hartman: Sure. NASBA won’t recommend any review course provider. We’re the regulators, so we’re definitely not going to recommend a review course provider. I would tell you there’s a lot of information out there.
One of the things I always tell candidates who ask me this question is to go to This Way to CPA. There are some candidate profiles out there. They’ll tell you who the review course was, they’ll tell you how they performed. Reach out to candidates like yourself and find out who’s doing what.
I know Henrietta and Joe could speak to this. I didn’t take the CPA exam, I’m not that dedicated, but these two did. They can actually tell you … I don’t think any of us would recommend, would go and say, “Hey, this is the one you need to take,” but definitely ask around and see what the performances on those. Henrietta? Joe?
Henrietta Eve: Yeah, I would add to that. If you have a job or if you are about to start with a firm, they’ve already given you an offer, speak to them. Oftentimes they have discounts with certain review course providers. Maybe then they would recommend one to you, so you can get it at a cheaper cost. That’s, honestly, I think a great way to go about it. If not, speak to friends, colleagues, This Way to CPA, to do your research to see which one you think would be the best fit for you.
Joe Maslott: Yeah, I think there’s no one right answer. It depends how you best prepare, if you best learn in a classroom-type environment or working by yourself. I think it’s just a personal choice. It can be done either way, studying by yourself or taking a review course.
Thomas Kenny: A number of candidates are asking about the length of the exam under next exam and how long it takes for that one quarter of exams to get their grades back. Can you elaborate on that and review that again?
Henrietta Eve: Yeah. The exam window, the ’17 Q2 window, will be April 1st through May 31st. The scores will come back August 14th. That’s for everyone that sits in that window. They will get their scores August 14th to make sure that we’ve done our standard setting correctly and that we’re passing that person that can protect the public interest.
Patricia Hartman: Then for the remaining two windows, it’ll be 10 days after the windows close.
Thomas Kenny: Do we have any other questions from our audience?
Speaker 7: Hi, one of the questions was for a lot of the test prep companies, will they have updated their material in time for us to be prepared for the next change in April 1st?
Henrietta Eve: Yes. We meet with the review course providers twice a year. The blueprints and all the information about the new exam has actually been on our website since April 1st of last year. All that information has been out there. They will have great test prepping material, I’m sure, that covers the new exam. They’ll also have representative questions that show the changes to the questions that are going to be on the exam.
Thomas Kenny: Another candidate asked, “How much time should I dedicate to studying for the exam? I know that may vary by candidate, but if you had to give a round number on how much you two studied for the exam?” How many hours do you think you studied?
Henrietta Eve: I was in a very different situation when I took the exam because I am a chartered accountant in England. I was actually already an audit manager when I took it. I think I’m probably not a fair representation to answer that question.
Joe Maslott: Fair to say, fair to say.
Henrietta Eve: Joe, I’m sure, has a great answer.
Joe Maslott: I did take it at a different time, where my employer knew exactly when I was taking it. It was November. I actually took two weeks off prior to the exam to study because I wanted to knock it out before busy season. Again, it’s personal preference. It’s what you’ve taken in college. Beyond that, I think I wouldn’t have any further recommendation.
Thomas Kenny: Your answer is a lot. Thank you, Joe.
Joe Maslott: Yeah, a lot. A lot.
Henrietta Eve: I think it-
Patricia Hartman: [I think 57:03] you need to. I’m sorry. Again, I would encourage you to reach out to other candidates who are doing this, or look at the CPA Exam Diaries that are out there, and find out what time they’re spending on it. Joe’s old school, so he sat back. He had to walk uphill both in this [way 57:20].
Joe Maslott: Both ways.
Patricia Hartman: Both ways, yeah. It’s a much different environment. Like Henrietta said, she was an experienced CA already, so it’s different. I would think you’d reach out to people who are currently taking the exam or have recently passed it. There’s a lot of resources that Joe is going to cover a little bit later, that you can see what’s happening out there among students.
Henrietta Eve: I think each exam is different. As Joe has already alluded to, everyone that’s taken the exam is different. Some people might find that there are certain sections they have to study a lot harder for based on their experience. If you’re already working in audit, maybe you need to study more for the Reg section and less for the audit section. It really comes down to how comfortable you are with the content and how much you feel like you need to study to get that passing score.
Thomas Kenny: Everyone’s worried about this 18 months, according to this. Pat, do you have something else to comment?
Patricia Hartman: We have another question.
Thomas Kenny: We have another question from our audience.
Patricia Hartman: If you could go ahead while you’re doing that, ask me that [crosstalk 58:15].
Thomas Kenny: 18 months, one candidate asked, “When does it start? It starts not when you take or fail a part, correct? It’s when you pass a section.”
Patricia Hartman: Yes, it starts one you pass a section. There are some variants on the actual credit basis. Most states start counting the 18 months based on the attendance date of the first section that you passed. Some of them will push it further back to the end of the month in which you sat or the end of the window in which you sat. There’s a few variances there, but they’re all based on that date, not when you receive your score.
Thomas Kenny: Great. That 18-month-
Patricia Hartman: It’s a rolling 18 months, Tom. If they turned around and, say, you were trying to finish it, you’ve raised through BEC, Audit, and FAR, and you’ve just got Reg left and you missed that 18-month, you just lose that one credit. It starts based on the next one. It is rolling, if you end up having a situation where you can’t make it in the 18 months.
Thomas Kenny: One more question: “Since the exam section is going to take a little longer to grade in the first window, other any plans to extend that 18 months at all as far as the rolling 18 months?”
Patricia Hartman: No, there are currently not any plans by any state boards to extend that. If you’re starting out, it’s your first exam, just keep testing whatever sections you have out there. Don’t wait. There’s still a third quarter you could be testing while you’re waiting on a score from another section. Just keep testing.
Again, board will be looking at candidates who test in April and May, what your status actually is, if you had conditional credit. We’ll be looking at them on a case-by-case basis, and to ensure that you have ample opportunity. If you’re disadvantaged by this, a board will definitely consider that.
Thomas Kenny: Now a question from one of our audience members.
Speaker 11: Hi. My question is since the CPA exam is changing, do you think colleges should also change what they teach in school to adapt to the changes?
Joe Maslott: I think that’s a great question. I think our shift to testing more higher order skills is probably more in line than which actually goes on in the classroom. It’s more case-based, it’s more analysis. It’s not just multiple choice questions, point to the right answer. I think it’s probably more reflective of the modern classroom than anything. I do think working with a lot of our volunteers who are educators, that folks in … If you’re currently in university and studying, you’re probably in a good place to answer our questions at the analysis and evaluation skill levels.
Henrietta Eve: Yeah, I would agree with that. To that end, we do a lot of presenting to academics, and oftentimes they do ask that question. When we respond saying the kinds of questions we’re testing, they’re like, “Oh, we already do that.” I think that really reiterates what Joe was saying.
Thomas Kenny: If we haven’t answered your questions during this event, we will. Please email any additional questions to email@example.com.
Patricia Hartman: We still have more.
Thomas Kenny: Oh, do we? I apologize.
Patricia Hartman: That’s okay.
Thomas Kenny: We have more sections.
Joe Maslott: Oh, yes. We have a lot more.
Patricia Hartman: We have more sections. We’re going to talk about-
Thomas Kenny: Please, any of those questions, if they’re not answered, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be as detailed as possible.
Patricia Hartman: We’ve talked briefly, too, about how to become a licensed US CPA. As you may or may not know, there are basically three components, usually three components among the 55 jurisdictions: education, experience, and examination. Several states also require additional ethics exams. 55 jurisdictions, 55 different rules. You need to check with the board or its designee. You can start out on our website at nasba.org, and we can talk to you about that.
Basically, the education requirements, while they vary, there are some commonality. It’s 150 semester hours with a bachelor’s or graduate degree. You have to have a concentration in accounting, which is 30 hours of accounting. Then you will need to have typically 24 semesters in business administration subjects. I mentioned earlier there’s a minimum of 15 semester hours in accounting that must be at upper division or graduate level. You want to keep aware of that. Again, just find out what’s happening on the state board’s website.
I usually encourage candidates, before you apply for the exam, make sure you’re going to be able to meet the licensing requirements in those states, because even though they allow you to sit with 120, your goal is to obtain the license in order to hold that designation.
Then the experience requirement. Again, it’s typically a minimum of one year, about 2,000 hours. It’s got to be verified usually by a licensed CPA. There are a couple jurisdictions that allow chartered accountants to sign off on it, but it’s usually chartered accountants who have entered a mutual recognition agreement through IQAB, the International Qualification Appraisal Board, which is a joint committee between the AICPA and Prometric. Your experience should include accounting, attest, audit, or tax. Do we have any questions so far about that?
Thomas Kenny: Specifically, there is a question regarding the experience requirements, “Does it have to be under a licensed CPA? Can it be in the financial services area or other areas?”
Patricia Hartman: You would have to check with the state boards. There are some state boards that are very explicit that you must be supervised or maybe having someone of your knowledge, but that’s going to lead right into my next section of what I’m going to talk about, is experience verification.
Again, depending on what your state board requirement is, you may have to work directly for a US CPA to have it signed off. In some cases, they just want a CPA who has knowledge of your work. Those are the things that you want to look at. I’m going to talk about the examination process now, just what to expect when you start the process.
We have to determine your eligibility. The state board or its designee will review all your information. What you’re going to do is complete the application and submit the required documentation. That’s just going to be your transcripts, in most cases. There’s a couple of them that may have a residency requirement, that may have a social security number requirement, and they may ask for additional documentation. You can submit that and then your application would be reviewed and your eligibility determined.
If you’re academically deficient, you would be notified of which you’re lacking, but once you’re qualified, they’ll let you know that they’re sending their authorization to test to the National Candidate Database. What happens there is we just compare that ATT, the authorization to test, against everyone who’s in the pipeline to ensure that you’re not trying to sit in New Jersey and New York at the same time that you are who you say you are.
We’ll issue the notice to schedule. It’s commonly referred to as NTS. Then you would schedule with Prometric on your own. Again, it’s very easy. We’ll show some websites out there. You can test in any US site, regardless of the jurisdiction. If you’re going to your grandma’s for Thanksgiving and want to spend Thanksgiving taking the exam, you can take it in another state. That’s not an issue. If you decide that you want to take an international occasion, if you get lucky enough to get a job that takes you outside the US, there are international testing centers there.
Typically, the notice to schedule is good for six months. There are some variations in states. In this case, New York for this audience here in the studio, it’s six months. We have a couple of … Three states that are a year, three states that are nine months, and then Texas is only 90 days. Yes, we have a question?
Speaker 7: My question was how long is the window for determining eligibility? When would we anticipate getting a notice to schedule or a notice saying that we lack the academic credits?
Patricia Hartman: That’s a great question. Typically, you should be notified once we have all your information in. It typically takes us two to four weeks. We’re currently running a little bit longer than that because of the increased volume in anticipation of the exams. We’re currently taking four to six weeks. In a normal processing time, two weeks, definitely no more than four weeks. You would get a letter or notification from the board, saying we haven’t received your information.
For New York, NASBA actually does the exam administration for them. You would go in and create an account online with us. You would have access to the status of your application 24/7. We would tell you that we’ve received the transcripts, that your application is complete, that it’s being evaluated, that it’s under coordinator review. It has to go under board review. You would have all that information at your fingertips.
Typically, I wouldn’t anticipate … If it’s taking more than four weeks, as a first time applicant, then you probably want to touch base with us and say, “Why are you taking so long with my application?” Once you get through that process there for a re-exam, you typically have your notice to schedule within 72 hours. That’s one of the things you want to plan for once you get through the initial part.
When we say “first time”, we mean the first time you’ve applied for the exam. You can apply for BEC and not sit for it. When you come back in, even though you haven’t taken any section of the exam, you’re still a re-exam for us, a re-exam application. You go back into that account and apply for whatever section you wanted to take next.
We sit for the exam. As we talked about, you need to study. You’re going to arrive 30 minutes prior to your appointment. Please, please bring your notice to schedule and appropriate identification. We have candidates who have been turned away from test centers for not bringing their notice to schedule. That does have your launch code on it. You can’t launch the exam without the appropriate code on it.
Then, hopefully, you’ll do well, go back and wait, and you will receive your scores. We do send scores electronically to several … Again, we basically send you your notice to schedule or your scores by whatever means you want. The majority of our candidates take it electronically through email. We also publish it on our website, as do several boards. Then all you will need to do at that point, once you’ve passed all four sections, is meet the other requirements for licensing and apply to obtain your CPA license.
As I said, we have 55 jurisdictions with unique requirements. NASBA does have an advisory evaluation service. In most cases, if you’re sitting in the state or you’re going to school, your advisors will tell you what you’re lacking.
If you know that you’re missing something, you’re just not sure if you need an extra three hours in audit or whatever, we do have a service where you can come in and apply just to have us look at your education and identify what courses you’re missing. We’re also usually happy to look at courses that you may be wanting to take and ensure that it does meet the requirements for the state for which you’re applying.
We’ve also recently launched an experience verification service. Part of what we talked about was you have to have a licensed CPA. This service is a concierge service. We know that several candidates sometimes struggle, going around to different areas, on finding someone to sign off. Now depending on the state, again, it may be requiring immediate supervision versus someone who has knowledge. If, for some reason, you’re applying to a state that will accept this experience verification, once you pass the exam and meet the requirements for licensure and accrue your accounting experience, you can come to us.
When you apply, you’d be assigned a case manager who would reach out to you and make sure that this is the right service for you. They would sit there and say, “Okay. Let’s look at your education, let’s look at your experience and help you identify what, if anything else, you need.”
Then they’ll send it out to a CPA. They’ll arrange for a Skype interview with that CPA to talk to you and interview. I think we’re using firms in Hong Kong, in the Middle East, and here in the States. You would have to do a Skype interview with the CPA who’s going to sign off on your verification. There is a cost to this service, and I apologize, I don’t know the cost off the top of my head.
It is accepted currently in Guam, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington, Washington DC, and Wisconsin. I believe we have more jurisdictions that are looking at accepting the experience verification from NASBA. Yes ma’am?
Speaker 7: I had a quick question. For Guam, is it an inactive license still, even with the experience verification?
Patricia Hartman: No, you can obtain an active license in Guam. They have two paths that you can go. You can actually sign up and get an inactive license there. I’m not sure why you would want … I would go for the active [just myself 01:10:49], but, yes, they have to paths in Guam. You would need to make sure which one you want to go down.
With the expense verification, they are taking that. That would enable you to get the active license. Then I’m going to turn it back over to Joe to talk about exam resources available to you.
Joe Maslott: Thanks, Pat. aicpa.org, The Next CPA Exam, is really your one-stop shop for all things content next exam. We have the blueprints, we have the sample test, we have frequently asked questions, we have the video that you saw at the beginning of this presentation, which is that short clip, it was about two or three minutes, that highlights all of the changes for the exam.
If you really want to go deep into our world, we have background on the research that we did for the next exam. We also have a white paper on how the exam is scored. There’s more on that. It’s a pretty interesting read. All that goes into the weighting of questions and the work that our psychometricians do in New Jersey.
Nasba.org, of course, is all things exam administration. All the services that Pat was mentioning, you go to nasba.org. This Way to CPA ,as we’ve mentioned throughout here, the presentation today, are great candidate perspectives and bios on their experience of taking the exam. It also has help for every stage of the examination process and has links to reviews, facts on review course providers, state licensure requirements. It’s really from the perspective of a candidate. It can be a great resource.
Of course, prometric.com. It’s your resource for finding a test center for scheduling and what to expect on test day and what to bring. There are a lot of resources for candidates. That concludes our slides.
Henrietta Eve: One thing I would add, sorry, related to the resources, on the CPA website, The Next CPA Exam, we have our sample test and our tutorials. I would recommend everyone go and check them out.
The sample test is there for the current version of the exam and the next version. Make sure you take the right one, dependent on when you’re planning on testing, and the tutorials there, which will really help you become comfortable with the exam software, because we really don’t want people to be coming into this exam and having their performance hindered by just not knowing how to use the software in the exam. I would say that’s a really important thing to do before you go into the Prometric Test Center.
Thomas Kenny: We were number of questions from our folks online. Everyone wants to know about the NTS. “How long is it good for? If I lose my NTS, what happens if my NTS expires? How long is it good for? If I don’t take the exam, what happens to the NTS? How do I get back into the … ” I have about 17,432 questions just for you.
Patricia Hartman: I will address that. The notice-
Thomas Kenny: I’m sorry.
Patricia Hartman: No problem.
Thomas Kenny: The NTS, [is also asked 01:14:14], is the notice to schedule, which is part of the process. If you can go down to that level there.
Patricia Hartman: The notice to schedule, which is issued by the National Candidate Database, is what you’re going to have to have in hand in order to schedule your exam with Prometric. You will also need to have it in hand to take to the exam center with you and launch your code that’s going to be on there.
In most states, it’s valid for six months. In Virginia, North Dakota, and South Dakota, it’s valid for one year. In California, Louisiana, and Utah, it’s valid for nine months. In Texas, it’s valid for 90 days. Again, it’s based on when it’s generated. Again, unless it’s the board in Texas, they actually give us a start date and a stop date. In other states, they let the system generate that date.
If you lost your NTS, actually you can go online and reprint your NTS anytime you want, provided that you know the correct information you’re looking for, your jurisdiction ID possibly, which will be assigned to you by your state board or its designee. It’s very easy to get one.
If you show up at a test center without your notice to schedule, you can have it, in most cases, electronically. If you can get to it on your phone, it was sent to you by email, you can show them from that. They should accept the electronic version. If you run to the Kinko’s next door of a test center, as long as you have it in hand, which is one of the reasons we tell you to arrive 30 minutes. Make sure that you’re 30 minutes early if you have any problems, so that you have that notice to schedule. Did that cover everyone’s question as far as notice to schedule, or did I miss something? Tom?
Thomas Kenny: I think that answered many of their questions. I’m not sure if it answered all of them, but, like I said before, if you have any additional questions and your questions were not answered during this webinar, please email us at email@example.com and we’ll do everything we can to answer your questions.
Patricia Hartman: I would also say if you are a candidate who’s getting ready to test and you have something that happens where it’s that day, you have no access, you’re sitting there panicking, 1-800-CPAEXAM is answered from 7:00 a.m., Central Time, until 2:00 in the morning, because we switch over to our Guam call center. We have 16 or 17 hours where customer service reps are available to answer your questions. Again, the email is there. Tom, we have another question from the audience.
Thomas Kenny: Sure.
Speaker 11: My question is do I have to get a new NTS for each section of the exam?
Patricia Hartman: No, you don’t have to get a new for each section of the exam. Remember the NTS is valid, in most cases, for six months. I [do 01:16:57] urge you to only sign up for the number of sections that you want to take. You can do them all separately, you can do two, you can do up to four on the notice to schedule.
If that notice to schedule expires, you will forfeit your fees and you’ll have to reapply. If you come in and say, “I’m going to knock all four out in the next six month, you’re really going to have to do that and then you can come back in. Again, most people I see come in, sign up for two parts over a six-month period, that way they have two test windows to take those two sections and then going forward. If you allow it to expire, or if you’re a no-show at a test center, you will forfeit your fees.
Thomas Kenny: I believe some of the candidates see that we’re wrapping up soon. Many of them have asked me about, “Sample test, sample test. Where do I get the sample test?” Can you go over to where we can get the information for these candidates and where they run to get the answers on the different sections, the next version, the current version, all those things? Thank you.
Patricia Hartman: Put that back on the screen.
Joe Maslott: Sample tests, all things sample tests, aicpa.org/nextcpaexam. I believe there are certain computer requirements for the sample test that you have to make sure that you line up with, so that you can download and launch.
Henrietta Eve: Yes, but if you do have any issues with that, there is a help on the website that you can contact to get assistance with launching them.
Joe Maslott: Yeah, one more thing on the sample test. We did invest a lot more into the next exam sample test than previous versions. There are full-blown examples of simulations in each section. You can get a look at not only the functionality, but the content, and a good example on where we test certain skill levels. Remember they’ll either be at application or analysis for FAR, Reg, and BEC, or the analysis, evaluation level for Audit.
Henrietta Eve: Yeah, I’m sure that, having had that question at the beginning about what a BEC simulation is going to look like, the sample test is a great place to go and check that out.
Thomas Kenny: A question about an NTS. “Is there an opportunity to extend an NTS and what type of situations would that be in?”
Patricia Hartman: It is actually rare to extend a notice to schedule; however, depending on certain situations, if you had personal illness, that would be documented, a death in your family, something that’s beyond your control. A lot of times we have extended notice to schedules due to inclement weather. When the superstorm Sandy came through, we had to extend a lot a notice to schedules because that was something beyond the candidate’s control.
We don’t extend because of lack of study time or your work schedule or your balance of family life. Again, they have to be extenuating circumstances. That information is on our website. There’s a form that you can fill out and supply with documentation.
Thomas Kenny: I want to thank our presenters. You did a great job today. Folks, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have any other questions. Thank you and wish you all the best with your endeavors to become a CPA. Have a great day.
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