The SOA historically used a pre-test/post-test approach to assess continuous improvement in student learning. Beginning in 2011, the SOA shifted to a more substantive approach, whereby students were uniformly required to pass an entrance exam as a precondition of enrollment in Intermediate Accounting. This shift in method was supported by observations suggesting that success in upper division courses is heavily dependent upon knowledge possessed from prerequisite courses.
The Entrance Exam data set also provides an opportunity to systematically monitor trends in student learning and teaching effectiveness. Further, the SOA is able to regulate the quality and expectations for students entering the upper division accounting classes.
The accounting entrance exam is intended to explore the student's knowledge of basic elements of financial accounting. The topical coverage of the exam relates to a published set of content specifications. A sample exam shows how this content is to be tested. See frequently asked questions for further information about the exam.