Why do Prometric testing computers make grindingNoises when moving thru exam?

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  • #162165

    Generally, every time I’ve taken a CPA section at a Prometric Center, I’ve noticed my computer makes weird grinding noises (like it’s working very hard) whenever I’m:

    A) moving in between multiple choice questions OR

    B) submitting my testlet to get to the next testlet (especially).

    Now this may not be the case at all Prometric locations, but I’m wondering if Prometric could seriously consider upgrading their computers at these locations to something with more memory/processing speed (instead of having us take our CPA exam on what seem like computers from the 1990s). These old machines Prometric has for us (again, may only be at locations where I took my exams) may be fine for the tests others are taking (such as GED/Real Estate/etc), but I have to say that they seemed (from my testing experiences) unable to handle the workload of the 2011 CBT-e Uniform CPA examination.

    When I took FAR a few months ago (2011), I often had to keep my fingers crossed that my computer terminal wouldn’t freeze every time I clicked a bit too quickly between the multiple choice questions. The only real problem I had though (minor compared to others I hear about) was that my Prometric computer froze when I was in the TBS(simulations) for at least a good 1min or so when I tried to do in my TBS/sims what was probably too many things at once for my computer’s memory:

    1) double-click one of the blank boxes to bring up a pop-up showing clickable answer choices AND 2) simultaneously pop up the AICPA-provided computer calculator.

    So during the 1min or so it froze, I was trying to raise my hand to get the Prometric proctor to tell her what happened, but before I got her attention, it suddenly unfroze and everything was fine.

    So I could be wrong but I think there’s an issue with old machines being used at certain Prometric locations that don’t have the memory and processing speed to handle the CPA exam.

    The computers we all study on (PC or MAC if we use Becker, Wiley, Roger, Yaeger, etc) seem to all have tons more memory and processing speed than a Prometric testing terminal. So when I go through a Becker practice final, I’m not getting all these random grinding noises like my computer is exhausted. Why do we have to put up with this at Prometric? Perhaps Becker needs to add grinding noises to its prep program for added realism?

    Now, maybe I’m missing something because the actual CPA is adaptive so maybe the computer needs extra time to analyze the “statistical chacteristics”(weighting of questions -> https://www.nccpaboard.gov/clients/ncboa/public/static/How_the_CPA_Exam_is_Scored.pdf) whenever you submit a testlet and move on to the next one (so it can decide the difficulty of the next testlet). Or maybe it’s working hard sending our testlet #1 results to another machine before we can move on. But there’s always lots of grinding noises before the next testlet comes. Why is this? And of course there are some weird noises and general sluggishness maneuvering within each testlet. Why is this?

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