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10th Anniversary of Computerized CPA Exam


Computerization of the CPA Exam has led to momentous benefits for candidates, the boards of accountancy and the CPA profession. Here are some interesting facts in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the first computerized CPA Exam delivery on April 5, 2004.

The candidate test-taking experience has improved with computerization, resulting in more available days to sit for the CPA Exam and faster score reporting. During the pencil-and-paper days, candidates could take the CPA Exam twice a year – either in May or November. The CPA Exam is now available 243 days a year (and 244 during a leap year). Before computerization, candidates waited 90 days to receive their scores. Score reporting now ranges from seven to 45 days, depending on when a candidate sits for the CPA Exam.

As the licensing examination for prospective CPAs, computerization led to greater flexibility in question formats and enhanced skills assessment with the introduction of task-based simulations that test higher-order skills. It also enhanced existing content and multiple-choice questions to better reflect the evolving skills that newly licensed CPAs need to perform their everyday work. Computerization also implemented another very important change – candidates no longer had to take all four sections at once when sitting for the CPA Exam and are now able to focus their study.

Here are some more interesting facts about the computerized CPA Exam:

  • Between 2004 and 2014, 412,388 unique candidates sat for the computerized Exam
  • Over the last 10 years, there has been a 31% increase in the number of testing center seats available for CPA candidates
  • 3,700 testing workstations at almost 300 testing centers are available for the CPA Examination

Did you know that computerization also enabled the CPA Exam to expand internationally? In August 2011, the CPA Exam was offered in Bahrain, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. The Exam was also made available in Brazil in February 2012. As a result, international candidates no longer have to travel long distances to take the Exam.

As one of the three Es – education, examination, and experience – required to become a CPA, the Examination is a critical piece of the path to licensure. As the accounting profession has evolved, computerization has made it possible for the Exam to maintain its currency.

For background information and more details on the Uniform CPA Examination, please visit the CPA Exam’s website.


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