This past spring, 84 Montana State University -Bozeman accounting students took a pre-test CPA computerized exam to expose them to the new method the test will be issued. The Uniform CPA Exam is currently a "paper and pencil" format and is offered twice a year. Beginning April 2004, all CPA-exams will be given in this new computer format.

Our students will have a strong advantage by having first-hand experience with the new exam format, said Steve Crowley, assistant professor of accounting. This experience will improve their performance when they sit the actual exam. The students will be prepared for the new format and have a greater understanding of what to expect.

Traditionally, MSU-Bozeman accounting students have excelled in the test. The faculty of the College of Business pride themselves in teaching materials that prepare the students for the test and ensure the confidence it takes to achieve passing scores.

The results of the May 2002 CPA exam had 78.1 percent of MSU-Bozeman College of Business accounting students passing the entire test on the first try. This is significantly higher than the national average of approximately 15 percent. Furthermore, of the 32 students taking the exam, 25 passed the test completely while the other seven passed two or three parts, which means they will only need to take a portion of the test again.

The new computerized exam will be offered on demand at Sylvan Testing Service sites in Bozeman, Helena, Missoula, and Billings via computer. The candidate will view questions, problems and cases on a computer monitor and responses will be captured by computer software. The American Association of Certified Public Accountants has been pre-testing the new format as part of its development process. Professor Crowley is currently working with AICPA personnel to arrange a second pre-test event in November. This will allow students to get another look at the new format before it debuts in April.