In reality, probably not. As someone who took the exam before/after the changes and had to deal with the dreaded 4-6 month wait for scores, last format was much easier. Less emphasizes on sims and more on MCQ. BEC didn't even have sims and it use to be a 3 hr exam.
My two worst scores were the old format. But then again, you could also argue that I became slightly better at studying as I took tests 3 & 4.
It is worth mentioning that the test format didn't change to make it harder or easier. It changed to produce a candidate who is (in theory) better prepared to advance as a CPA after passing the exam…The idea was that the heavier emphasis on MCQs on the old format didn't reflect closely enough with what CPAs actually do in real life…and that's probably a fair criticism.
60% multiple choice and 40% SIM created a scenario where good accountants who could actually “do” accounting work only had 40% of the test score to prove it. Conversely, lousy accountants who were better at “theory” had 60% of the test to “scam the system”.
But really, things have been evolving for a long time. I spoke with a VERY TALENTED CPA recently who told me that when he took and passed the exams in 1992 (on paper back then), that 60-70% of the review materials were VERBATIM on the actual exam…imagine having that advantage today…and yet, the pass rates back then were even LOWER than under any recent format used. So ultimately, who knows?