The changes coming to the CPA Exam on April 1 affect several aspects of the exam, one of which is the duration. While we learned months ago that each section of the exam would now last for four hours, the AICPA recently announced another modification to exam timing that can affect a candidate’s experience as much as total testing time.
Changes to CPA Exam Introductory Screens
When you sit for the CPA Exam, you begin the examination process by viewing a series of introductory screens. Among other things, these introductory screens ask you to accept the AICPA’s confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement. An accompanying clock counts down the time candidates have to move through the screens. If candidates fail to complete the introductory screens and begin the exam within the time limit, the exam will shut down and cannot be restarted.
During the previous version of the exam, the clock allotted ten minutes for candidates to finish the screens. However, in the new version of the CPA Exam, the completion time for these screens will be reduced to five minutes.
Advice for CPA Exam Introductory Screens
The consequences of moving through the introductory screens too slowly are pretty severe. Again, if time runs out before you have finished all of the screens and advanced to the actual exam, your exam section will terminate, your testing appointment will end, and you will forfeit all fees for that section.
To avoid this truly undesirable situation, simply apply good time management to this portion of the exam as you would to the rest of it. When the introductory screens appear, complete them as quickly as possible and initiate the actual exam. Do not use this time to fill your scratch paper with all the formulas, mnemonics, and definitions you can remember. If you do this, you could very easily lose track of time and thereby lose your opportunity to test.
In the past, performing this sort of “brain dump” may have been feasible, but that is no longer the case. The decreased time for the introductory screens helps compensate for the increased total testing time, so try to appreciate the fact that you don’t have to be in the testing center all day and use your time well so you pass the exam.
Additional CPA Exam Introductory Screen Info
Along with practicing prudent time management, another great strategy for successfully navigating the introductory screens is to know what the confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements state ahead of time. You can read recreations of these statements from the AICPA in the Gleim CPA Exam Guide. You can also get even more great information about the CPA Exam, including details about the exam structure, requirements, questions, and more. Everything you need to know is there, so access your free CPA Exam Guide today!