Next CPA Exam

The next version of the CPA Exam will launch April 1, 2017. Read more about the next Exam, what went in to developing it and why the Exam continues to evolve.

Get answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about the next Exam.

New section blueprints will replace the current Content Specification Outline and Skill Specification Outline (CSO/SSO), and will provide greater clarity in the presentation of content, skills and related representative tasks that may be tested on the Exam.

Next Exam Focuses on Higher Order Skills 

On April 1, 2017, the AICPA will launch the next version of the Uniform CPA Examination (“Exam”), a four-section (AUD, BEC, FAR and REG), 16-hour assessment (four hours per section) that places a greater emphasis on testing a candidate’s higher-order cognitive skills such as critical thinking and analytical ability. Through multiple-choice questions and an increased use of task-based simulations (TBSs) in all sections of the Exam, as well as written responses in BEC, candidates will be presented with questions that test the knowledge and skills that a newly licensed CPA must possess.

To guide candidates along in their preparation, Exam blueprints will replace the current Content Specification Outline (CSO) and Skill Specification Outline (SSO). A blueprint for each Exam section will provide greater clarity in the presentation of content, skills and related representative tasks that may be tested on the Exam.

Developed through comprehensive research and the input of countless stakeholders committed to strengthening and preserving the profession, the next Exam remains current, relevant, reliable and legally defensible, and fulfills the needs of the boards of accountancy in carrying out their licensing responsibility.

Learn more about the next Exam on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page or read the Practice Analysis Final Report.

You can also watch our November 2016 webcast, featuring presenters from AICPA and NASBA, which gives a thorough overview of the next Exam, how the content is changing, and how you can best prepare. Access it here. Note you will be prompted to register in order to view the presentation.

Next Exam: At a Glance 

Explore some of the major changes coming to the next Exam.

More on AICPA TV

What Went Into Developing the Next Version Exam? 


The AICPA engaged in a comprehensive research project, a Practice Analysis, to determine the knowledge and skills required of today’s newly licensed CPAs. The results of the research informed the AICPA’s September 2015 proposal for the next version for the CPA Exam, and ultimately the final content, design and structure of the CPA Exam that will launch in April 2017.
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