How to Schedule the CPA Exam: A No-Nonsense Guide

A huge part of your journey to becoming a Certified Public Accountant is to schedule and take the CPA exam. 

You will use the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants websites for most of your exam registration process. 

Once NASBA deems you to be eligible, and to meet all of the necessary CPA exam requirements in your state, you will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS). After you receive your NTS, you can use the steps in this article to learn how to schedule your CPA exam. 

Read on to get the inside scoop and all of the essential steps for setting up CPA exam dates.

How to schedule your CPA exam online

how to schedule your cpa exam online

Here are the steps you need to follow to schedule your CPA exam online:

  1. Go to the Prometric test center website at Prometric.com.
  2. Follow the prompts to locate a test center near you.
  3. You can select the exam type. Pick “CPA exam.”
  4. Follow the prompts and again choose to find, or locate, a test center.
  5. Fill in the country and state (if relevant) where you want to take the CPA exam.
  6. You will then pick the section of the CPA exam you are scheduling.
  7. Use the navigation to enter a zip code or narrow down the list of nearby Prometric test centers.
  8. Once you find the Prometric test center near you, pick that location to see if there is an available seat for the exam.

Once you confirm Prometric seat availability, you will pick your date and reserve your spot. Keep in mind that the CPA exam is scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. 

If you have firm dates and times in mind, you should schedule well in advance. You have to schedule your exam at least six days before the test date and no walk-ins are allowed.

How to schedule your CPA exam over the phone

how to schedule your cpa exam over the phone

If you don’t want to schedule your CPA exam online, you can use the Prometric Call Center. 

To do this, you will call 1-800-580-9648

It’s important that you have your NTS handy. You’ll provide the relevant info and get to select your test location, date, and time.

How to find the most convenient Prometric test center for you

how to find the most convenient test center

There are Prometric test centers in most major cities. There is a handy test locator on their website. 

Once you’ve selected the CPA exam, you will be able to locate the center nearest you that proctors the test. Keep in mind that there may not be a center in your city. 

If you have to travel to take the CPA exam, you will want to include the cost and logistics of that in your plans.

How to reschedule your CPA exam

how to reschedule your cpa exam

If your plans change, you may need to reschedule the CPA exam. 

The rescheduling process is similar to scheduling the first time. You can do it online or over the phone, on the same website or call line where you registered with Prometric. 

If you cancel or reschedule 30 days before your test, there will be no fee. However, if you cancel or reschedule between five and 30 days before your test date, you will have to pay a fee to Prometric. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that you must take all four sections of the CPA exam within 18 months, so even if you are forced to reschedule, you have to adhere to that guideline if you want to retain your score.

What should you bring to Prometric on exam day?

what to bring with to your exam

Prometric test centers are secure facilities. On the day of your CPA exam, you will have to bring:

  • A current government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license
  • A second, photo form of ID

OR

  • A valid, non-expired passport

You will be given a locker that you can access during the one scheduled and other optional, timed breaks. You may want to keep the following items in your locker:

  • Medication
  • Food
  • Beverages
  • A sweater or coat
  • Your phone
  • Keys

There are several prohibited items you should be aware of. For example, the following objects may be inspected or confiscated:

  • Jewelry
  • Hair accessories
  • Eyeglasses will be inspected
  • Any camera device

You cannot have any accessories, purses, handbags, or items with you during the test. So leave your purse and phone in your car, and just carry your wallet with your ID in with you.

The CPA exam is the first step to a great career in accounting. As you qualify for and schedule your test, you will commit to a rigorous course of study, after figuring out how to study for the CPA exam in a way that works for you.

Be sure to choose the right study plan. There are many options. 

You can buy a CPA review course online that includes comprehensive materials that prepare you for the exam. Learn more about the pros and cons of popular courses by going here.

FAQs

cpa exam scheduling FAQs

You may have additional questions about how to schedule your CPA exam. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

When to schedule your exam

You want to schedule the CPA exam on a date that aligns with your study plans. In other words, don’t schedule the date too soon or too late. 

If you follow a CPA review course, you should have access to test readiness information. Once you know the timeline of when you plan to be ready, you can schedule the CPA exam.

What if I need testing accommodations for the CPA exam?

If you have special needs, you will need to apply for testing accommodations. The CPA exam services (CPAES) provides services in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

This paperwork must be submitted four weeks before your test date. Go here to access the form you will need to fill out.

What section of the CPA exam should I schedule first?

There is no required order in which to take the four parts of the CPA exam. 

Some students prefer to take the easiest part first, while others prefer to take the hardest part first. “Easy” and “hard” are relative terms, because each student will handle the material differently based on their background and experiences. 

The most important, global piece of advice is to not schedule the exam until you know you will be ready to succeed. If you take the CPA exam without sufficient study, you could fail and have to retake it.

When can you take the CPA exam?

Starting on July 1, 2020, the CPA exam will be available continuously, year-round. Before that July 1st date, students will be able to take the exam in the 1st or 2nd quarter windows, which are extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Go here to learn more about testing dates and get news and information.

How easy is it to reschedule the CPA exam?

You can reschedule the CPA exam either online or over the phone. If you reschedule more than 30 days before your test date, there will be no fee. If you reschedule less than thirty days before your test date, you will pay a rescheduling fee directly to Prometric.

After receiving my Notice to Schedule (NTS), do I have to schedule my CPA exam within a certain period of time?

The AICPA recommends scheduling your exam as soon as you have received your NTS. Individual state boards of accountancy set the timeline for how long an NTS is valid. The average length of time you will have is six months. If you don’t schedule in time, your NTS will expire.

How many times is each CPA exam section offered within a testing window?

There are numerous opportunities to take the CPA exam at a Prometric test site within each testing window. When you contact Prometric, you will schedule your exam. 

You can take the CPA exam one time within each testing window. You can take more than one section of an exam within the same window. However, if you fail, you will have to wait until the next testing window to retake.

Does my Authorization to Test (ATT) expire?

If you are approved as eligible to take the CPA exam, you will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) from your state board. This is used to get your Notice to Schedule (NTS) from NASBA. 

As long as the information on your ATT is current, you should be able to use it at any time to receive the NTS. The NTS, however, will expire, so you should use it as soon as you know when you want to take the exam.

Can you take the CPA exam online?

The CPA exam cannot be taken online. It is only available to be taken at official, Prometric testing locations.

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