The exam, which will be launched on April 1, reflects, "increased assessment of higher-order cognitive skills that include, but are not limited to, critical thinking, problem solving and analytical ability," according to a press release from the Institute.
The AICPA says the exam includes additional task-based simulations that "are an effective way to assess higher order skills." There are also new exam blueprints containing approximately 600 representative tasks across all four exam sections, which will replace the Content Specification Outline and Skill Specification Outline.
Exam testing time will rise from 14 hours to 16 hours in four sections of four hours each. The Exam will remain composed of four current sections: Auditing and Attestation, Business Environment and Concepts; Financial Accounting and Reporting; and Regulation.
"The next version of the CPA Exam, will continue to help protect the public interest by ensuring that newly licensed CPAs have the skills and knowledge they need to meet the needs of a business environment that is like to thank all of increasingly complex," said Michael Decker, AICPA VP of examinations, said in a prepared statement.
There will be a 10-day testing window each quarter in March, June, September and December. The 10-day extension of the will not be available during June 2017, as additional time will be required to analyze exam results and set new passing scores.
Also, administration of the new exam will include a 15-minute standardized break during each section that will not count against a candidate's testing time. Any combination of passing current Exam sections and passing next Exam sections (within the 18-month window following passing one section) will count toward licensure.