How to Schedule and Reschedule Your CPA Exam

CPA Exam Schedule
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How to Schedule and Reschedule Your CPA Exam

With four separate CPA exam sections totaling 16 hours, it’s important to know how to schedule and reschedule a CPA exam as you’ll have 18 months from your registration to pass every test area.

That may sound like quite a long time, but it can be challenging to commit to a learning schedule, and sometimes ‘life’ just gets in the way. So, knowing how to schedule a CPA exam and change your test date is more than just useful information – it’s essential.

In this blog, we walk you through all the basics so that you understand what to expect from a CPA testing center, and how to book an appointment and reschedule a CPA exam if you need to.

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What is a CPA Testing Center?

Before we look at how to schedule a CPA exam, you need to know what to expect from a CPA testing center; how it is structured, the role it plays in the CPA exam process, and how to find your nearest one.

Each CPA testing center is run by a company called Prometric. Just like the hundreds of other standardized professional tests administered by Prometric, the Uniform CPA Exam is taken under timed conditions at a physical CPA testing center. Prometric has no input into the CPA exam content; it simply oversees exam administration.

With CPA testing centers in more than 160 countries, you can choose where you wish to take the CPA exam. Crucially, you do not have to take the CPA exam in the state where you plan on practicing.

So, let’s give a hypothetical example. You could be an undergraduate living in Nashville, Tennessee, who plans to move to New York for work. Theoretically, you could take all four CPA exams in Tennessee, or you may choose to split your exams between the two locations.

That’s why, when it comes to knowing how to schedule a CPA exam, it’s often best to book one or two exams at a time so that if your plans do change, you won’t need to reschedule a CPA exam.

Find the Nearest CPA Testing Center

As we’ve already mentioned, Prometric gives you the flexibility to take the CPA exam when and where works best for you.

Using the ‘Search Availability’ feature on the Prometric website, you select the appropriate program (Universal CPA Exam), followed by the test type, location (city or postcode) and your preferred test date. Once you have pressed the ‘submit’ arrow, you will be presented with the nearest CPA testing centers displayed on a map. The first CPA testing center (no.1 on the map) will always be the nearest location.

At this point, once you have decided which CPA testing center you would like to use, you must re-enter your preferred test dates to see if the CPA exam is being administered on that date.

If there is availability, you’ll be presented with the available timeslots, which you will need to note. This is important to remember with how to schedule a CPA exam, as the booking function is located separately on the website.

Remember, although you can reschedule a CPA exam, if you’re not quite sure where you’re going to be at that time, it’s best just to make a shortlist of CPA testing centers until you’ve firmed up your travel and accommodation plans.

Do I need Permission to Schedule a CPA Exam?

Once you’ve found the best CPA testing center and the available exam times, you will need to know how to schedule a CPA exam. But before you do, you must apply to the appropriate state board, who will review your CPA exam application to decide if you’re eligible to take the exam.

Most boards will work to similar criteria, requiring you to have already gained a minimum of 120 or 150 credit hours (depending on the state). In simple terms, 150 credits are equivalent to a master’s degree, while 120 are tantamount to a bachelor’s degree. You’ll also find that most boards will expect that a large part of your degree relates to the CPA license (e.g., business, accounting, or finance).

If you’re successful in your application, you’ll receive what’s called a Notice to Schedule (NTS) permitting you to take the CPA exam. The NTS takes the form of an Exam Section ID number that you will need when scheduling each CPA exam at a CPA testing center.

You’ll notice that your NTS has an expiration date. You have six months in which to schedule your first CPA exam and 18 months in which to pass the entire CPA exam. If you fail to schedule the CPA exam inside the six-month window, there’s a high chance that you’ll have to repay your exam fees.

It’s worth checking the exact timeframes with the state board you are applying to, though, as the expiration date can vary.

How to Schedule a CPA Exam

It’s quite simple to book a CPA exam using Prometric’s ‘scheduling appointment’ function.

The first thing you’ll be asked to do is read the testing rules, including how to schedule a CPA exam and reschedule a CPA exam, before agreeing to Prometric’s Privacy Policy.

Next, you’ll be asked for the Exam Section ID (your NTS ID number) and the first 4 characters of your last name. Once you’ve entered this, you’ll be taken through to further pages asking you to enter the CPA testing center location and time.

Once you’ve selected when and where you will be taking the CPA exam, you simply tap the ‘schedule’ button.

Don’t worry if you enter an online Prometric Scheduling Queue. This is quite common, especially at peak booking times. You’ll see the page constantly refresh, informing you of how many people are in front of you.

When to Schedule a CPA Exam

Most states offer what is called continuous CPA testing, meaning that you can sit the exam year-round. There are some basic rules that each CPA testing center follows, though, and these are:

As we discussed in a previous blog, the best order in which to sit the CPA exam is as follows (starting with the most difficult exam first):

It is best to sit FAR first because it helps set a good foundation for other sections of the CPA exam, especially AUD and REG. So, it’s worth keeping this in mind.

When planning how to schedule a CPA exam, you’ll also want to consider the best appointment time. For example, is your mind sharper in the morning? Do you prefer a Monday morning, fresh after a weekend’s cramming? Or perhaps you like Fridays as you’ll be able to practice a little each evening?

There’s no set rule – it all depends on how you feel and what other commitments you may have in the week.

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What if you Need to Reschedule a CPA Exam?

Sometimes, even our best-made plans can be thrown off, and the CPA exam is no exception. That’s why it’s important to know how to reschedule a CPA exam from the outset.

If you know your Exam Section ID, you can reschedule a CPA exam up to 24 hours before you are due to sit it. However, there are cancellation fees to consider.

You can reschedule a CPA exam at no cost so long as you give at least 30 days’ notice. Beyond this, you can expect to pay a penalty.

You will be charged $35 between five and thirty days, and the entire exam fee is due between one and four days. If you fail to give less than 24 hours’ notice, you’ll either need to take the test or reapply to your state board to take the CPA exam. In this case, provided you’re well enough, it’s best to sit the CPA exam even if you’re not quite ready.

To reschedule a CPA exam, you simply visit the Prometric website and click on the ‘Reschedule/Cancel’ tab located on the left-hand panel. Next, you’ll be asked for your exam confirmation number and the first 4 characters of your last name. Once entered, you’ll be taken to a page to review your exam appointment and reschedule it for another time.

You can reschedule your CPA exam as often as you like, but our advice is to do so as a last resort. It’s much better to keep to a realistic learning schedule rather than rescheduling.

How will you Know when to Schedule your CPA Exam?

If you have a focused study program, you’ll know exactly when to schedule a CPA exam. If you’re using our Universal CPA Review online visual preparation resource, you’ll know when the time’s right. Typically, this is when you’ve watched our step-by-step explanation videos (120+ viewable hours), viewed tasked based simulations, and successfully answered a series of multiple-choice questions (randomly selected from 3,200+).

If you’re unsure how ready you are or have only just started your CPA exam preparation journey, we recommend signing up for a free trial of Universal CPA Review. You’ll soon find that the visual learning tools on offer will help fast-track you through the CPA exam process.

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