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Improved CPA exam in 1994.

Candidates planning to take the Uniform CPA Examination in 1994 can look forward to something new. The exam will take just two days rather than the current two and one-half (from 19 1/2 hours to 15 1/2 hours). The restructuring involves a more efficient organization of the current four sections.

The new sections and time frames are Business Law & Professional Responsibilities (3 hours Wednesday A.M.), Auditing (4 1/2 hours Wednesday P.M.), Accounting & Reporting--Taxation, Managerial, and Governmental and Not-for-Profit Organizations (3 1/2 hours Thursday A.M.) and Financial Accounting & Reporting--Business Enterprises (4 1/2 hours Thursday P.M.).

The shorter exam, which should be no easier or harder than the current one, combines some sections with others. The current Accounting Practice and Accounting Theory sections will be redistributed into the two new Accounting & Reporting sections. Also, some of the content on professional responsibilities will be shifted from the Auditing to the Business Law & Professional Responsibilities section.

In addition, there will be a greater emphasis on the auditing, government and not-for-profit and tax areas, which reflects some of the findings of the 1991 practice analysis. The AICPA board of examiners is overhauling the exam in response to the extensive practice analysis of the CPA profession, a study of past exam characteristics and the introduction of new exam objective answer formats other than multiple choice. After consulting with CPAs, educators and testing specialists, the board of examiners found it could produce a more efficient exam that tested as much or more knowledge in less time.

An important new feature of the 1994 exam will be the grading of candidates' writing skills on three of the new sections--Business Law & Professional Responsibilities, Auditing, and Financial Accounting & Reporting--Business Enterprises. (Accounting & Reporting will be an all-objective section.) About 20% to 30% of the three sections will be devoted to "free response" questions--essays or problems; at least two responses on each section will be graded for writing skills.

As mentioned in the sidebar, new types of objective questions will be introduced on the May 1992 exam.

Another significant change is that, beginning in May 1994, candidates will be able to use calculators on the Accounting & Reporting and Financial Accounting & Reporting sections. Calculators will be distributed at the exam sites as part of the exam materials.

JAMES BLUM, CPA, PhD, is director of the AICPA examinations division.
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Title Annotation:Accounting Education
Author:Blum, James
Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Previous Article:AICPA study of public practice.
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