At first glance “continuous testing” sounds like some horrible plan to further torture America’s future CPAs by requiring a grueling, never-ending cycle of testing and retesting throughout their career. As fun as I’m sure that might be for the sadists who oversee the exam, I assure you, that’s not what this is.
They’ve been talking about it for years, but if I’m being honest, I thought it was one of those “hey, this would be cool, we’re looking into it” sort of things that sound promising but rarely come to fruition. Sort of like flying cars and me sticking to deadlines when I promise Jason I’ll write an article at 8 a.m. instead of staying up all night playing video games. But nah, they actually did it. Color me impressed.
Here’s the deal. Hopefully beginning June 2020, NASBA will roll out continuous testing which means not only more convenient CPA exam scheduling but wait for this next part.
According to the revised Rule, when system changes have eliminated the need for test window limitations “a Candidate can retake a Test Section once their grade for any previous attempt of the same Test Section has been released.”
The change was announced in NASBA’s May 2019 State Board Report, which you can check out here if you nerd out on that kind of stuff.
Although it may not seem like that big of a deal on the surface, this is probably one of the biggest changes in testing I’ve seen since I started working in CPA review a whopping 12 years ago. In fact, it’s the only significant change in testing and scoring I can say I’ve ever seen, as any significant changes that have occurred on my watch involved test structure and content (moving written communication out of REG, AUD, and FAR, for example). So yeah.
As far as I can tell, NASBA began seriously considering (read: working toward) continuous testing just a year ago, so to see them go from “hey, maybe we should do this” to “we’re getting ready to do this” in just two years is impressive for sure. Let’s be real, this is the accounting profession we’re talking about, change happens in tiny increments when at all, certainly not rocketing forward at the speed of new iPhones.
We’re excited to see how this all turns out but caution y’all getting your expectations too high ahead of the actual implementation. As my mother always said, keep your expectations low so you’re pleasantly surprised when things work out rather than be wildly disappointed when they don’t. Or something.