Taking the CPA Exam - Class Bench | Class Bench

Taking the CPA Exam

What should I do on exam day?

Arrive at the exam site at least 30 minutes prior to the appointment time, or risk denial of permission to sit. If you are denied permission, you will not be eligible for a refund of fees paid. Bring your NTS form. The name on the NTS must match the identification you present (verify this as soon as you receive the NTS). Without your NTS, you will not be admitted into the test center, and you will forfeit all examination fees for that exam section.

How much time should I allocate for each testlet?

The exam does not suggest a time period for testlets. The testing computer screen countdown clock shows the overall time remaining for each section (for example, 4.0 hours for Auditing and Attestation). You can allocate and track your time as you see fit. It has been suggested, however, that on average a taskbased simulation would take about 15 to 30 minutes depending on the section, topic, and analysis required. For MCQs, the recommendation is that you allow about 1 ½ minutes to 2 minutes per question.

May I use a calculator during the exam?

Hand-held calculators are not allowed in the testing room. The testing software includes a computer calculator that has basic functionalities for your use. To familiarize candidates with this feature as well as the format and functionality of the examination, a tutorial and sample tests are provided by the AICPA at cpa-exam.org.

What are “pretest” questions?

Pretest questions are used to develop future examinations; they are NOT used in computing examination scores. Each testlet, whether composed of multiple-choice, task-based simulations or written communications, may include pretest questions. You will not know which are pretest questions and which are actual test questions for which you’ll be graded. Don’t be discouraged if you see something that is unfamiliar to you. The number of pretest questions is expected to stay the same with the 2017 Exam Changes: 10-15 MCQs and 1 TBS/Written Communication per section

How is the computer-based exam graded? What is a passing score?

Grades on the exam range from 0 to 99 with a scaled 75 as the passing score. States can issue scores in any form they choose. Some, New York for example, have issued only pass/fail results. Exam questions, other than the written communication tasks, are formatted to allow responses to be scored electronically. A combination of human graders and electronic scoring will be used to score written communication responses.

When and how will I be notified of my scores?

Scores will be released after the first month of testing in a window, with subsequent score releases every two weeks for the remainder of the window. The AICPA expects a 10-week delay in the release of scores following the close of the initial testing window for the new exam (second quarter of 2017). For the third and fourth quarters of 2017, scores will be released approximately 10 days after the close of the testing window. In 2018, the AICPA expects to move back to the original timeline. Some candidates who take the BEC section might receive their scores approximately one week following the target release date.

Does the AICPA offer additional guidance for candidates preparing for the exam?

The AICPA currently offers a tutorial on its website that allows candidates to become familiar with the functionalities of the computer-based exam. The AICPA and NASBA have indicated that candidates should be familiar with the functionality before going to the test center. This tutorial will not be available at the Prometric sites. The AICPA website offers a sample test with a few multiple-choice questions and a simulation for each section.

Will there be any changes to exam administration — dark months, 18-month rolling window, etc., still the same?

Testing windows will be extended by 10 days into the third month of each quarter to provide additional testing time. This 10-day extension will continue through the end of 2017, with the exception of the second quarter of 2017 when the new CPA Exam launches. The AICPA is considering making the following changes to exam administration: extending the 18-month rolling window to 24 months; allowing students to retest for a failed section of the exam in the same testing window. The AICPA would like to make these changes but have not set a timeline for the changes, because of the complexity of implementation and the required approval process.

What to bring on exam day

  • NTS Form
  • Two Forms of ID Primary ID (must include photo and signature): Unexpired driver’s license, state ID, passport, or military card. Secondary ID (must include a signature): Any of the abovementioned items or a signed credit, ATM, or debit card.
  • Limited Personal Items All personal items must be placed in a locker prior to entering the test room.

Prohibited items

  • Mobile phones
  • Personal digital assistants
  • Papers and books
  • See Candidate Bulletin (cpa-exam.org) for a complete list of prohibited items.

Get In Touch

Send us your details & our education specialists will get in touch with you

No Spam. No Sharing. 100% Confidentiality

It's a fact: Twice as many of our students pass

Students who prepare with Becker pass at double the rate of non-Becker candidates. How do we know? Because every year we engage an independent, third-party research firm to analyze the data and validate our pass rates. We do it to show potential candidates like you that Becker excels at helping students pass the CPA Exam.

Get In Touch