CPA Hot Topics 03/13/12 – AICPA Review Course Providers Meeting 2012

Garrett Gleim sends CPA candidates bimonthly emails concerning different aspects of the CPA exam. Candidates can see the most recent email and all the archives here on the CPA Candidate Forum.

When Dr. Gleim and I attended the AICPA Review Course Providers meeting on Friday, March 9, 2012, we learned of several issues that were significant enough to warrant the serious consideration of CPA candidates.

While much of the meeting covered upcoming events that could change the exam in the future, such as new pronouncements being proposed by the PCAOB and other professional regulatory bodies, other tidbits of information are important for candidates to know now.

First, candidates (and procrastinating accountants who have not yet taken the plunge to sit for the exam) should ensure that they get the Auditing section behind them before the new clarity standards become testable in the third quarter of 2013.

Second, candidates should answer their Business section written communication simulation questions carefully and not write an off-topic response. The AICPA informed us that very few written communication responses are graded by humans; however, the essay-reviewing program is sophisticated enough to identify responses that are written off topic. Simply having a few key words is just not good enough and will result in a poor score on the written communication response.

I also learned that the essay-reviewing program is continually audited by humans to ensure it is grading correctly. I was surprised to learn that technology has advanced enough to make a grading program very likely to catch anyone writing off topic. Candidates who fail to write on topic, therefore, will suffer a poor score on their written communication response.

While a human auditor may read your written communication response at random and grade it as a quality control measure, there is another instance when a human will read your written response: when the grade for this element can determine whether you pass. The AICPA reaffirmed that any candidates who are at the “cut line” automatically have their responses graded by a human. This ensures that candidates are given every opportunity to pass.

Finally, candidates should not be concerned if they see two research tabs in a simulation. It means that one of the research questions is the pretest tab in the simulation and will not count toward your grade. Since the exam will not indicate which of the two research tabs is the pretest question, candidates should answer both as if they are each the graded one.

Though more information was covered at the AICPA meeting, please be assured that the topics discussed above are the only pertinent issues affecting you, the CPA candidate, at this time. Gleim review products remain up-to-date as always and continue to be everything you need to pass your exams.

Good luck studying and don’t let the rest of March slip away without continuing your hard work. The second testing window will be here before you know it!

Good luck on your studies!

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