Special Consideration policy

Content Summary


This policy applies to all candidates undertaking the CPA Program exams, regardless of their membership status.


Special Consideration is a process to ensure that CPA Program candidates are not disadvantaged in their exam preparation or exam performance by circumstances beyond their control.

Grounds for a Special Consideration application

Candidates may apply for Special Consideration only if they sit the exam.

Candidates may apply for Special Consideration on the grounds that their exam preparation and/or performance was adversely affected by circumstances beyond their control for the following reasons:

  • medical condition*
  • personal hardship*
  • exam incident

* Supporting documentation is required for applications on the grounds of medical conditions or personal hardship.

Medical condition

This refers to any medical condition which the candidate feels significantly impacted their ability to prepare for their exam or perform to their best ability in the exam.

If you have been granted a Reasonable Adjustment, you are not automatically granted Special Consideration for your exam result. You should apply for Special Consideration each semester if your disability or medical condition has impacted your studies leading up to the exam, or if any of the other grounds for Special Consideration have impacted your exam performance or studies during the semester in a manner which is not addressed by any Reasonable Adjustments made for you.

Personal hardship

This may include family issues, personal issues or financial issues. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • divorce
  • death in the family
  • ill relative requiring the candidate's care
  • unpredicted or sudden home moves
  • redundancy
  • attending court cases during the exam period.

Workload is not considered a reason for personal hardship and applications for workload-related reasons, such as increased working hours or unpredicted work demands, will not be considered.

Exam incidents

If a disruptive incident occurs during an exam, you must supply documentation such as a statement describing the incident, detailing the effect it had on your exam performance. For candidates sitting an exam at a test centre, please ensure you report any exam incidents on the day of your exam immediately to your exam supervisor. Your exam supervisor may issue an incident ID that you can reference in your special consideration application. For candidates sitting an online proctored exam, please contact CPA Australia immediately after your exam to report the incident. Following receipt of an application, CPA Australia may seek verification of the exam incident.

Submitting an application for Special Consideration

Candidates must submit their application on the CPA Australia Special Consideration Application form and ensure that it is received by the advertised closing date.

All applications must meet the requirements described on the form including:

  • the grounds under which the application is made
  • a description of the situation and how it has impacted their studies and/or their performance in the exam
  • the required supporting documentation for medical conditions or personal hardship.

It is the candidate's responsibility to ensure that all criteria and requirements have been met before they lodge their application for Special Consideration by the advertised closing date. Only applications where all criteria and requirements for supporting documentation have been met will be considered by the Special Consideration Committee.

All applications will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.

Applications received by the closing date will be acknowledged in writing before the official release of results. Applications without sufficient supporting documentation will not be considered and the applicant will be notified in writing.

Applying for Special Consideration does not change how your exam will be marked: you will still be marked on the entire exam form (including the questions you may not have answered). Your final scaled score will reflect your performance across the entire exam, and it will not be adjusted based on the questions you may not have completed. If your scaled score falls within the narrow band below the passing scaled score, only then will your application be reviewed by the Special Consideration Committee for a decision.

Special Consideration Committee

The Special Consideration Committee will review all eligible applications after the Special Consideration application closing date and before the exam results are confirmed for release.

Eligible applications are those where all required documentation is provided by the closing date and the candidate's exam result has fallen within a limited range below the passing scaled score (540).

The Special Consideration Committee does not consider applications where the candidate has passed their exam.

Following this review process, the Committee will make a decision to either retain the Fail grade or upgrade the candidate from a Fail grade to a Pass grade.

Applying for Special Consideration does not guarantee that a Fail result will be upgraded to a Pass.

The findings of the Special Consideration Committee are confidential and final.

Notification of decision

No notifications are made as to whether a candidate's special consideration application is successful. All Special Consideration applicants' final results will be announced as part of the official release of exam results. Refer to important dates.

CPA Australia maintains the confidentiality of the Special Consideration process. No indication will be provided on candidates' transcript that they applied for or received Special Consideration.


Special Consideration application form