The CPA Exam: Steps To Apply To Sit

Questions about Applying to Sit

CPA Exam Preparations: There are two separate categories of CPA Exam Preparations:

* Study Materials: See “CPA Exam Preparations: Study Materials.”

* Steps to complete the administrative application process: While the concept of study materials is relatively easy to comprehend (buy or borrow a study kit and actually delve into it), the application process is a road loaded with administrative landmines. One blogger stated that it took him seven months just to go through this process of getting approved to sit for the exam. Heads up and be careful that you do everything completely.

This is the first in a series of articles about the application process, covering what you need to do prior to walking through the door of the testing center.

First, select the jurisdiction in which you would like to sit for the exam.

Do you have questions about: * the documents needed during submission, * the application process itself * the timeline of expected actions during application * the fees to be paid and to whom, or * eligibility requirements for that jurisdiction?

Then you should contact that state Board of Accountancy (or the agency representing that Board) in which wish to apply to sit for the CPA Exam. The state Board of Accountancy website will tell you to whom you need to address your questions.

Completing the Application to Sit

While there are two separate actions within the concept of CPA Exam Preparations, Study Materials (see “CPA Exam Preparations: Study Materials”) and Steps to complete the administrative application process, it is applying which takes more planning.

After you get your application questions answered, send in your * completed application, * supporting documents and * the two application fees for applying to sit in that jurisdiction and for sitting for that specific section (e.g., BEC or REG).

Pay attention to these specifics:

* Who is applying? As silly as it may seem, people have been turned away from a testing center because they used a nickname on the application-and this didn’t match their driver’s license. Suggestion: Look at the two pieces of ID you will present on exam day and use that name on your application.

* Where do I send the application? Yes, you want to sit for the exam in Connecticut but did you know that you will send your application to Nashville? Sending your application to the wrong location wastes your valuable time. Read the state Board of Accountancy website. If you are not sure, call and ask.

* What do I send? Read the fee schedule carefully. In California, there is a first time sitting fee of $145.00 and there is a fee of $180.95 to sit for BEC and $230.55 for AUD (as of 4/15/2010). Therefore, send in the right fee for the right section.

* Why do they want to see my college transcripts? To prove you graduated and took the classes required by that state. For example, if you don’t have 24 semester units of accounting and 24 semester units of business-related subjects, you can’t sit for the exam in California. If you were educated outside the U.S., the state board will probably ask that you have your transcript evaluated for academic rigor and equivalency.

* How do I request Special Accommodations? You need to request any Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) special accommodations for mental or physical challenge at the time you apply to sit for the exam. Certain test centers are equipped to make accommodations while others are not. The state board must approve all accommodations at specific testing locations.

What do I do with the Notice to Schedule?

OK! You have submitted your application to sit for the CPA Exam to your State Board of Accountancy handling the paperwork and your application has been approved! Way to go! Now what?

The State Board will send the Authorization to Test to NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy). NASBA will send you a Notice to Schedule (NTS). The NTS tells you that you are eligible to sit for a specific exam parts, and presumably, it is the one you applied for recently.

With the NTS in hand, you will: * Contact Prometric (800-696-2722 or www. to schedule your day, time, and location where you want to sit for the exam. Apply at least 45 days before your test date.

* Present the NTS on test day at the Prometric test center as part of the identification verification process. Your name on the NTS must match the identification presented exactly or you risk not being admitted on test day. (If your NTS says “Suzy” and your driver’s license says “Suzanne,” contact the Board of Accountancy to correct this before test day.

BE ALERT: The NTS has an expiration date. If it expires and you have not sat for the exam, you must reapply and potentially pay additional fees. Oh goody…Be aware of this expiration date and schedule the test ahead of that date.

Who Administers the CPA Exam?

There are three professional organizations which work together to create, present, and score the CPA Exam. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) writes and scores the exam. NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) maintains the National Candidate Database and the database of state requirements to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam. Prometric provides the testing facilities for administering the CPA Exam.

Once you have your Notice to Schedule from NASBA, you need to know some basic facts before you contact Prometric:

1. When is the exam offered? The CPA Exam is given during testing windows which are the first two months of every quarter on the Gregorian calendar. That would be: January, February, April, May, July, August, October, and November.

2. Where the exam is offered? While Prometric has thousands of testing centers around the world, it only offers the CPA Exam at just over 300 testing centers in the U.S. and its territories. Check out your state Board of Accountancy website for testing locations.

3. What is the CPA Exam? As the name implies, the Uniform CPA Examination is indeed uniform from Virginia to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington state to Washington, D.C. Since the same CPA Exam is given at every Prometric CPA Exam testing center, you do not have to physically sit in a testing center in the state which approved you to sit for the exam. For instance, you can sit for the test when you are visiting relatives in Santa Rosa, California even though South Dakota approved your application to sit.

4. Who administers the CPA Exam? Prometric administers the giving of the CPA Exam in all 54 jurisdictions. (See “Jurisdictions.”) Contact the Prometric Candidate Services Call Center at 800-696-2722 or www. to schedule the exam.

5. For Guam, refer to the NASBA testing center. If you applying to the Guam test center, read the directions in the Candidate Bulletin.

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