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(NAR) VOL. 10 NO. 2 / APRIL - JUNE 1999

[ PRC BOARD OF ACCOUNTANCY RESOLUTION NO. 03, S. 1999, January 25, 1999 ]


Section 11 of the Revised Accountancy Law (Presidential Decree No. 692) provides that:
"The (CPA) examinations shall be in writing and shall cover the following subjects with the corresponding weight in units unless otherwise modified by the Board upon approval of the Professional Regulation Commission:

Weight in Units
Minimum Hours
Theory of Accounts
Business Law and Taxation
Management Advisory Services
Auditing Theory
Auditing Problems
Practical Accounting Problems I
Practical Accounting Problems II

The contents and coverage of these subjects shall be in accordance with the outline or syllabus prepared by the Board of Accountancy. . . ."
The CPA licensure examination syllabi are issued by the Board of Accountancy (BOA) pursuant to the above provision of the Revised Accountancy Law. They become effective as of the May 1999 CPA Licensure Examinations, unless otherwise indicated:


Purpose of the Examination. The purpose of the CPA Licensure Examination is to test the professional competence of candidates who seek to obtain the CPA license. Such competence includes:
> Adequate technical knowledge in the accounting discipline

> The ability to apply that knowledge skillfully and with good judgment to problems and situations likely to be encountered in practice; and

> An appreciation of the CPA's ethical responsibilities and professional attitude.
The level of professional competence tested in the examination is that of a CPA at the start of his/her professional career.

Content of Syllabi. The syllabi contain the body of technical knowledge which a new CPA is expected to possess and list the topics to be tested in each subject.

Uses of the Syllabi. The syllabi are intended to be used for the following purposes:
  1. To assure a consistent subject matter coverage from one examination to the next;

  2. To assist candidates in preparing for the examination by indicating the topics which may be covered;

  3. To guide in the preparation of the test questions and problems that would ensure a fair comprehensive, and balanced examination; and

  4. To conform accounting educators about the subject matter considered necessary to prepare for the examination.

E.O. No. 200 dated September 20, 1994 mandates the institutionalization of the full computerization of the licensure examinations administered by the various regulatory boards under the supervision of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), and Resolution No. 338, Series of 1994 of the PRC sets the guidelines on the implementation of EO No. 200. For the guidance of all concerned, following are pertinent excerpts from the said guidelines:

Article I
Examination Objectives, Standards and Nature

Sec. 3. Nature of Questions. The examination should emphasize technical knowledge that is currently relevant to the profession concerned, and adequately discussed in textbooks and other professional literatures. Trivial, outdated, unsettled, and controversial questions should be avoided.

Sec. 4. Level of Difficulty. The examination should measure technical competence at the level of new entrants to the profession. Questions should neither be too easy nor too difficult. Between these two extremes, a "difficult" scale should be adopted so that there is a suitable mixture of "easy", "moderate", and "difficult" questions.

Sec. 5. Test of Cognitive Abilities. The examination should have sufficient "depth" to provide meaningful measure of technical competence. Questions should not be limited to merely recalling memorized information but should include adequate test of higher cognitive abilities such as comprehension, interpretation, application, analysis, problem-solving and other higher-order thinking skills.

Article II
Establishment and Operation of a Computerized Test Bank

Sec. 7. Establishment of Test Bank. Test Banks for . all licensure examinations shall be set up by each of the Professional Regulatory Boards using the computer facilities and specially authorized computer expert personnel of the Professional Regulation Commission.

Sec. 8. Nature and Standard, Type and Classification of Questions for Deposit in the Test Bank. The questions which are deposited in the Test Bank shall meet the examination objective, standards, and nature in Article I of this Implementing Guidelines. They shall be classified or categorized according to

(1) topic or concept in the approved syllabus for the subject; (2) level of difficulty: "easy", "moderate", and "difficult"; (3) cognitive level: memory, comprehension, interpretation, computation, application, analysis, problem solving, and other high- order thinking skills' or abilities; (4) knowledge and proficiency level; and (5) question types - objective, essay, problem-solving or design/drawing - shall have four (4) items for the choice of one (1) correct answer. The questions for each category must be representative of the mass....

Sec. 9 . . . . .

Sec. 10. Drawing or Extraction of Questions. Based on a program, questions extracted or drawn from the Test Bank to be used in each examination subject shall be representative in each topic in the syllabus to ensure a comprehensive and balanced coverage and categorized according to the level of difficulty -easy, moderate and difficult. No single topic or topics shall receive undue weight in the examination. Two (2) sets of differently arranged questions shall be drawn and assembled in an encrypted disk before printing.

Further to Memorandum Circular No. 93-04 of the PRC which requires the use of multiple-choice format for all licensure examinations, the following guidelines shall also be observed:

1. Yes or No, True or False, matching type, or any similar objective-type questions shall not be formulated or allowed; and 2. With at least four (4) items from which only one correct answer will be chosen, the choices shall not include any of these phrases: "none of the above", "all of the above", or any similar phrases.

The CPA Licensure Examination should provide reasonable assurance that only candidates possessing the required professional competence are granted the CPA license. Accordingly, extreme care should be exercised in selecting and constructing test questions and problems so that the examinations may be fair, valid and reliable.

To achieve the purpose of the CPA examination, the following guidelines should be considered in preparing test questions and problems:

1. Examination Scope - The examination should be comprehensive and well-balanced in scope to provide broad coverage of the topics and ensure that no single topic receives undue weight in the examination. Test items will be limited to the topics enumerated in the syllabi and allocated to the different subject areas. All subject areas will be covered in each examination.

2. Level of Difficulty - Test items should be constructed at an appropriate level of difficulty.

3. Clarity and Accuracy - Test items should be expressed in clear, understandable language. They will be carefully reviewed to eliminate errors, inconsistencies, incomplete data, and ambiguities. Instructions and requirements will be clearly indicated to the extent possible.

4. Definitive Answers - There will be a definite answer to each test item, supported by adequate authoritative evidence or reasoning.

5. Originality - Questions and problems shall not be copied verbatim from questionnaires, quizzers, or other similar materials used in the undergraduate and review courses. Samples of old questions or problems may be referred to for guidance only.

6. Relevance to Philippine Conditions - Questions and problems should be relevant to accounting practice in the Philippines. Whenever applicable, they will be based on statements issued by the:
  1. Board of Accountancy (BOA);
  2. Accounting Standards Council {ASC);
  3. Auditing Standards and Practices Council (ASPC);
  4. Commission on Audit (COA) in relation to government accounting and auditing;
  5. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and
  6. Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA).
In areas not covered by Philippine sources, references may also be made to the official pronouncements of authoritative standard-setting bodies in the United States, the International Accounting Standards Committee, and the International Federation of Accountants; provided these are relevant to Philippine conditions.

7. Current Developments - Questions and problems should be developed in terms of the most recent developments, pronouncements, and standards in the accounting profession. However, new terms, concepts, principles, or techniques which have not been widely discussed in common textbooks, shall be avoided.

8. Revision of Syllabi - By policy, the syllabi shall be subject to automatic revisions as their particular coverages are affected by any of the following: pronouncements, standards, and updates from the BOA, ASC, ASPC, COA, SEC and such other standard setting bodies recognized in the Philippines as well as new laws, executive orders, and circulars from concerned government agencies. Adoption, of such changes by the Professional Regulatory Board for inclusion in the licensure examinations shall not be earlier than six (6) months from the date of effectively of such changes.

9. Use of Calculators - Electronic calculators may be used in the examination. However, programmable calculators are prohibited.

Adopted: 25 Jan. 1999





Secretary, Professional Regulatory Boards


Commission Chairman

Associate Commissioners
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