Changes to the BEC CPA Exam in 2016

Can you believe it? Kobe Bryant, AKA the Black Mamba, finally hung up his purple and gold uniform. After 20 years, yes 20 years, in the NBA, Kobe is leaving the NBA as a legend with five championships under his belt. To avoid any controversy, I won’t state my top five NBA players of all time; however, Kobe is hands down one of the best players of all time. To give you a taste of Kobe’s greatness, check out the clip below.

So what does Kobe’s farewell tour have to with the announced changes to the BEC CPA Exam in 2016 for 2017? The NBA will still be competitive with the likes of Steph Curry and LeBron James, but we can fully appreciate all that Kobe has done for the league and how the league has changed. Likewise, even though there will be some changes to BEC, this section of CPA Exam will take on elements of the current version in addition to having its own unique flavor. You will still be accountable for topics related to Business Environment and Concepts. The changes to BEC are documented in the Practice Analysis Final Report and the Exposure Draft: Maintaining the Relevance of the Uniform CPA Examination.

Who wants to read all of that? If you want to, be my guest. Otherwise, keep on reading to find out about the major changes to the BEC section. Let’s start out with some of the basics. First and foremost, the new and improved BEC Exam will not be released until April 1, 2017. If you want to take to the current version of BEC, make sure to get it in before April 1, 2017. Second, in order to pass the CPA Exam, you can have any combination of the four sections from the current version or the new version. This means that you can pass the CPA Exam with the current version of FAR and REG and the new and improved version of AUD and BEC. However, be aware that you still most complete all four parts within an 18 month window. Third, you will be dishing out more moolah to take the new version of BEC. The new version of BEC and REG will cost an extra $20.

Announced Changes: Focus on Higher Order Skills

Higher order skills are the key to success on the new CPA Exam. Specifically, BEC will focus on remembering and understanding, application, and analysis. To get an idea of the different skills tested and their associated weights, check out the table below.

BEC Skill Levels

Skill Level


Evaluation N/A
Analysis 20-30%
Application 50-60%
Remembering and Understanding 15-25%


Announced Changes: Updated Content Specification Outline and Skill Specification Outline

In addition to understanding the higher order skills, it is important to be knowledgeable about the updated Content Specification Outline and Skill Specification Outline. After all, these outlines outline 🙂 what will be on the CPA Exam. Below you can find what content areas will be tested on BEC and their associated weights.

BEC Content Area Allocation

Content Area


I. Corporate Governance 17–27%
II. Economic Concepts and Analysis 17–27%
III. Financial Management 11–21%
IV. Information Technology 15–25%
V. Operations Management 15–25%


For information about the current Content Specification Outline and Skill Specification Outline, check out Most Tested Topics on CPA BEC Exam.

Announced Changes: Structure

Lastly, what you are probably most interested in learning about are the structural changes to BEC. I hope you are sitting down for this one because BEC is changing fairly drastically. To get an idea of what the new version of BEC will look like and how it compares to the current version of BEC, check out the table below.

BEC Structure Changes

Current Version

Multiple Choice Questions 72 questions
Multiple Choice Questions Weight 85 percent
Task Based Simulations N/A
Task Based Simulations Weight N/A
Written Communication Tasks 3 tasks
Written Communication Tasks Weight 15 percent
Time 3 hours

New Version

Multiple Choice Questions 62 questions
Multiple Choice Questions Weight 50 percent
Task Based Simulations 4-5 simulations
Task Based Simulations Weight 35 percent
Written Communication Tasks 3 tasks
Written Communication Tasks Weight 15 percent
Time 4 hours


For information about the current structure of the CPA Exam, check out What is the Uniform CPA Exam and BEC CPA exam duration – How long is the test.

Wow! Talk about a big change. I want you to know and to be fully aware that you can do this! You learned how to ride a bike and now you can do anything you set your mind to.

Do you feel motivated? I sure do! If you believe in yourself, you can do anything. You can get the hang of it. I know it 🙂 As always, remember to breathe.

By the way, sign up for our 1 Week Free Trial to try out Magoosh GMAT Prep!

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