Continuous Testing Coming to the CPA Exam

August 9, 2019

Once You Get the Grade, You Can Go Again

Beginning June 30, 2020, NASBA plans to begin using continuous testing of the CPA exam, which means, among other changes, “a Candidate can retake a Test Section once their grade for any previous attempt of the same Test Section has been released.” This change in test scheduling has gone from consideration to approval very quickly.

Allowing for More Frequent CPA Exam Testing

The July 2018 NASBA State Board Report described plans to consider continuous testing or other options to reduce the time frame in which candidates must wait to retake the CPA exam. The goal was to allow candidates to test more often within the 18-month testing time frame. Learn more about scheduling here. Because this would require a rule change, NASBA requested input from the State BOAs.

Less than a year later, NASBA announced in the May 2019 State Board Report the approval of Uniform Accountancy Act Model Rule 5-7(a)(2), also known as “continuous testing.” Many State BOAs have already begun to make changes in line with this rule.

Improved IT for CPA Exam

Improvements to IT Processes

NASBA outsourced its IT operations to CGI in February of 2019 with a goal “to have an enhanced IT capability and flexibility in IT capacity that we have never been able to achieve with a fixed internal shop,” according to CGI President and CEO Ken L. Bishop. The increased IT capabilities will aid in making the transition to continuous testing.

What Kind of Effect Will the Changes Have?

As reported in the popular accounting blog, Going Concern, this change to the testing process is one of the fastest and most significant changes made to the CPA exam in many years. Author Adrienne Gonzalez cautions, though, not to get “expectations too high ahead of the actual implementation.”

At this point, expectations are:

  • Continuous testing opportunities (easy scheduling),
  • Retesting as soon as test scores are released, 
  • Opportunities to test more often within the same 18-month window, and
  • Improved IT service and equipment.

With an implementation date of June 30, 2020, other changes may be coming.

Student Retaking the CPA Exam

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