I think long term it will be fine. But there are two issues that make it a pain right now:
- You can't bring your own references. You're only allowed to use the single provided electronic reference. It's very important to be intimately familiar with your references. Now you have to learn a book that you're not already familiar with, as opposed to using the industry standard references that you're already using at work. You also can't tab your references for quick jumping around. Search works, but search isn't as fast as tabs that you know.
- New question types including multiple select, drag and drop, identification/matching, etc. In the long term study methods and courses will adjust to the new question formats. But in the immediate future test takers don't know how to prepare for these questions, and course creators are just making it up until we see what the real questions look like.
Right now the PE exam is a well known quantity. Everyone knows what to expect and (generally speaking) how to prepare. These changes are making it very much an unknown. I think the new questions types will be fine. Especially once people see them, and practice tests come out. The changes in reference policy is a HUGE and permanent shift to the core of the exam, but it will be fine. One advantage of the new CBT format is that this is how kids in school are tested now. My 13-year old son is very familiar with all these various question types. So there will already be a familiarity with the format.
I do think the exam prep companies are using this as an excuse to drive business before the test changes (take it now before the sky falls) and they will also use it to drive business after the change (take our course because you don't know how to prepare for this new format). Personally I don't want to be one of the first test takers. I wanted to either take it before the change or wait a couple years after the change.