The first group of accountants to take the CPA exam under the new continuous testing policy will begin to get scores Friday. Those who passed, will be celebrating. Those who didn’t will, for the first time, be eligible to retake the test almost immediately.
As of July 1, the rigorous 4-part, 4-hour exam for accountants who want to earn the coveted Certified Public Accountant designation is offered throughout the year. The new “Continuous Testing” approach replaces the previous schedule where candidates could take one or more parts of the exam only once during each of the four annual testing windows.
Now, as soon as a candidate gets their results, they can retake the failed part within a matter of days.
Continuous testing has been under discussion by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and the American Institute of CPAs for a few years. Supported by college accounting departments, state accounting boards and other organizations, candidates have long asked for a more frequent testing process. The COVID-19 pandemic shutdown spurred the accounting organizations to act.
“Continuous testing has been a goal for some time, and it comes in direct response to feedback from CPA exam candidates and their desire to test more frequently throughout the year,” said NASBA Executive Vice President & COO Colleen Conrad, CPA.
“NASBA is proud to work in collaboration with the AICPA, Prometric (the testing administrator) and the 55 U.S. Boards of Accountancy to continue to ensure the security of the exam and to implement a successful transition,” she said in a statement issued the day the continuous testing program began.
The CPA exam is administered nationwide, however CPA licensing is the function of each state and territory. While most states have approved the continuous testing change, each had to implement the transition. According to NASBA’s testing status map, three states had not yet completed the process, but were expected to by the July 1 start. It is not clear they made that deadline. South Carolina will not offer continuous testing until next year.