Washington (April 28, 2003) - Work is on schedule to move the CPA examination to a computer-based format in April 2004, and the tutorial for that electronic test will be available on Wednesday April 30, members of the group responsible for the new exam reported at the American Institute of CPAs’ Council meeting here.

“We are confident that April 5(2004) is the day,” said Lorraine Sachs, chief operating officer of the National State Boards of Accountancy. Arleen Thomas, the AICPA’s vice president of professional standards, reported that the tutorial, designed to help candidates “get familiar and comfortable with” the electronic exam, will be online this week at www.cpa-exam.org.

Also represented in the presentation was Prometric, the national test administrator that will administer the electronic CPA exam and provide offices around the country where candidates can take it. Prometric client services director David Ginsburg stressed that his company, a Thomson business, will not grade the test, and that it has built encryption technology to ensure that all completed tests are securely passed on to the accounting profession groups that do the grading

In the coming months, Prometric will evaluate where to locate test centers, NASBA will be help individual state boards of accountancy prepare, and Thomas’s office will reach out to educators and other charged with preparing candidates. “One of the biggest challenges is making sure the universities are with us, she said.

The three organizations have been working together for several years on the effort to bring the test to a computer-based format. The new test will differ from paper-based exams in several significant ways, including the use of case studies or simulations in addition to standard questions, and allowing candidates to go online to access third-party information to research some responses.

-- John M. Covaleski

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