Online proctored exam

Content Summary

In this format, you can sit your exam from any location that meets our room requirements and be supervised by a person via your computer, known as an online proctor.

This format is not available in all locations. Please check your available appointments in My CPA Program.

On this page

ID requirements

You must bring one original form of valid and current identification to your exam. This ID must be government-issued and it must contain your full name, date of birth and your photograph.

The name on your ID must exactly match the name on your member profile with us. If these details don't match, please contact us at least five business days before your exam to update your profile. If your proctor notices any issues with your ID during the check-in process, you may be prohibited from starting your exam.

Primary ID

  • driver's licence
  • learner's permit (plastic card only, with photo and signature)
  • national / state / country identification card
  • passport
  • passport cards
  • military ID
  • military ID for spouses and dependents
  • alien registration card (green card, permanent resident visa)
  • government-issued local language ID (plastic card only, with photo and signature) – accepted only if issued from the country in which the candidate is testing.

 


 

Technology requirements

You must have an appropriate computer to sit an online proctored exam. A computer with the wrong specifications or software may impact your ability to launch or complete your exam.

Preparing your technology for an online proctored exam

If you have any questions about your technology or the requirements outlined in this video, visit our CPA Program Exam FAQs page.

Computer requirements

It's your responsibility to ensure you have a suitable computer to sit the online proctored exam. You must ensure your computer meets the requirements in our checklist before your exam appointment.

Your computer must be:

  • a desktop or laptop, either Mac or PC (tablets or touchscreen devices are prohibited)
  • a personal computer that meets the minimum technical specifications. Work computers may have restrictions that prevent you from launching or completing your exam, such as corporate firewalls, including VPNs and proxies
  • connected to the internet via a wired network. WIFI can cause you to lose connection to your exam
  • equipped with a webcam and microphone.

Before your exam, you must also:

  • enable cookies and pop-ups in your browser of choice
  • check your lock-screen settings. We recommend you turn this off completely to ensure you're not locked out of your exam
  • check your operating system. Read instructions on how to prepare your device
  • make sure your computer is connected to power to avoid running out of battery during the exam.

Please refer to the device checklist for full requirements and instructions.

Device checklist
PDF · 64.2 KB

Testing your technology

We recommend you test your computer before exam scheduling closes, to ensure you have a suitable computer for completing your exam. We recommend you:

  • check your computer against our device checklist and adjust any settings that don't match
  • conduct a system test to ensure your device is compatible. If it's not, review the checklist again and troubleshoot any issues, or switch to a test centre computer-based exam.

It's important to complete the system test on the same computer and in the same room you'll use for your appointment, to simulate your real exam. We recommend completing each test at the same time of day as your scheduled exam to check your internet speed during this time and ensure it is stable and reliable.

 


 

Room requirements

You must have an appropriate exam room in which to sit your online proctored exam. If your room doesn't align with these requirements, you may not be able to launch your exam.

Preparing your exam room for an online proctored exam


If you have any questions about your exam room or the requirements outlined in this video, visit our CPA Program Exam FAQs page.

Your exam room must be:

  • walled and have a closed door
  • a quiet space as background noise may disrupt your progress and affect your proctor's ability to supervise your exam
  • free from disruptions. You cannot be interrupted during your appointment, from when you enter the queue during check-in, to the time you finish and close your exam survey. Make sure to inform those around you that they cannot enter your room
  • well lit. Ensure there's enough light in your room for the duration of the exam, that is, three hours and fifteen minutes. Please avoid sitting in front of a window or a strong light, as you may not be visible to your proctor
  • clear within arm's reach, aside from your ID, calculator, a clear glass of water and your study guide and notes
  • closed to any other person. No one can be in or enter the room during your exam, and no one else must be able to view your computer (including through a window or glass panel).

Make sure your room will be suitable and comfortable for the duration of your exam, as you can't leave the view of the webcam once you've started the exam. You may wish to adjust the lighting or curtains before you start the exam.

We also suggest you unplug any extra monitors or other devices, such as printers, to simplify your exam check-in process.

 


 

What you can and can't bring to your exam

Open book exams

All CPA Program exams, except Singapore Taxation, are open book. This means you can have your study guide and any additional study materials with you during your exam.

It's best to place your notes directly in front of you, so that you don't accidently leave the screen or turn away from your webcam. You must remain in full view of your webcam at all times.

Calculators

You can have your own calculator with you during your exam. However, we have rules about what type of calculator you can and cannot bring in with you.

Your calculator can be:

  • scientific
  • standard
  • financial
  • able to store and recall the last performed calculation only.

Your calculator can't be:

  • programmable, it mustn't be able to store and replay a sequence of operations or capable of external programming
  • capable of text storage
  • equipped with an alphanumeric keyboard (all letters from A to Z)
  • graphing calculator
  • wired or include wireless communication capabilities
  • equipped with a camera or video recording functionality
  • powered by anything other than internal batteries and/or solar power
  • able to produce a sound which cannot be turned off.

An online calculator will also be available if you don't have access to a suitable one.

Note taking

To ensure exam questions and answers aren't recorded or shared, pens and paper are prohibited during online proctored exams. Instead, you'll have access to a virtual scratch pad and online whiteboard for note taking. Please visit My Online Learning for more information about your scratch pad and online whiteboard tools.

Personal Items

What you can have with you:

  • one form of ID
  • your study guide and any additional notes
  • your calculator (please refer to the guidelines above)
  • a clear glass of water.

Each of these items must be clearly displayed and photographed as part of your exam check-in.

Throughout your exam, your study guide and any additional notes must be placed on the desk directly in front of you, or as near to you as possible. When you refer to your notes, you must always remain in view of the webcam, with your body facing your computer, to avoid receiving a warning from the proctor. You won't be able to turn to the side to access your study materials.

What you can't have with you:

  • any electronic devices, including hand-held computers or pagers, except from your computer and calculator
  • wallets or purses
  • bags, coats, jackets, glasses cases, jewellery, large hair clips or bands or other headwear (unless worn for religious purposes)
  • a watch of any kind
  • pen, pencils or paper
  • food or drink, other than your clear glass of water.

Your mobile phone

While you can't have your phone with you during your exam, we suggest you do keep it in your exam room, out of reach. You may place it in a drawer or on a piece of furniture at the other side of your room. This will simplify your check-in process and will also ensure it is nearby in case your proctor needs to contact you.

What to do with your mobile phone during an online proctored exam


If you have any questions about what to do with your mobile phone during your exam please visit our CPA Program Exam FAQs page.

 


 

Your exam

You will be led through a check-in process before you begin your online proctored exam. This check-in process is like the test centre exam process.

The check-in process

If you have any questions about the check-in process visit our CPA Program Exam FAQs page.

Accessing your exam

  • you can check-in 30 minutes before your exam appointment. When you are ready to check-in, log in to My CPA Program, and navigate to the subject for which you have an appointment, and select Manage Exam
  • you will be taken to the Pearson VUE website. From here, select the exam you will be sitting and click the Check-In button.

If you don't see the Check-In button, you're either too early or too late for your exam. Check your appointment confirmation and reminder emails from Pearson VUE to confirm your appointment time and time zone.

Exam check-in

The check-in process will include:

  • a final system test
  • verification of your identity. You will need to take photos of yourself and your ID using your mobile phone or webcam
  • a check of your exam room. You will need to take four photos of your exam room using your mobile phone or webcam.

We find using a mobile phone the simplest way to complete the check-in process. You'll be asked to enter your mobile number when the Pearson VUE software launches so a check-in link can be sent to you. Once you click this link on your phone, you'll be guided to take photos of yourself, your ID and your exam room.

Once you've completed the process, you'll be asked to put away your phone, preferably at the other side of your desk or room or out of reach.

You'll then be asked to close all applications on your computer before you're added to the queue to meet your proctor. Once in the queue, you will be under exam conditions, so you must not leave your desk or the view of your webcam, and you cannot use your mobile phone. During this time, your proctor will review your photos, and they either start your exam immediately, or contact you via your computer to discuss any issues.

The queue is based on exam start times which means waiting time can vary. Your position in the queue will be visible on screen and will update every minute. Your wait time may be longer than anticipated if your proctor is unsure of any items in your room, but this won't impact your exam time.

As part of your check-in process, your proctor may ask you to:

  • show your ears if you have long hair, to ensure you are not using wireless headphones
  • roll up your sleeves to verify you have no writing on your arms and that you're not wearing a watch
  • empty your pockets, to ensure you aren't carrying a prohibited item
  • complete a 360-degree room scan. Note: this may also occur during your exam if your proctor is concerned something new has been introduced to your room
  • retake a photo of your identification, if the image provided is blurry or unclear.

Exam length

All CPA Program exams are 195 minutes long (3 hours and 15 minutes).

When you begin your exam, you'll see a short tutorial. If this is your first computer-based exam with us, we recommend you take your time to work through this tutorial. This won't impact your overall exam time, as the timer won't start until you begin your exam.

Once you've finished all the exam questions and clicked 'End exam', you'll be guided through a short survey. This won't impact your exam time, however, you'll still be in view of the proctor, so you must continue to follow the exam rules. You'll need to close your exam before you can pick up your phone, leave your desk or let anyone into your exam room.

You'll have one unscheduled break, which you can take at any time during your exam. When you're ready to take your break, click the 'Pause exam' button, and then click 'Pause exam' in the pop-up window to confirm. Your exam timer will stop for five minutes, allowing you to leave the view of your proctor.

How to pause the clock during your online proctored exam

If you have any questions about using pause the clock or the process outlined in this video, visit our CPA Program exam FAQs page.

Exam rules and online proctors

Some behaviours aren't allowed during your online exam. This is to ensure your proctor can verify you're not recording any questions or answers. While these rules may seem restrictive, please keep in mind your proctor can only see the area immediately around you. Your online proctor only wants to ensure no candidate is disadvantaged by misconduct.

Online proctors and exam rules

If you have any questions about online proctors or the rules of invigilation, visit our CPA Program exam FAQs page.

From the time you are added to the queue, which happens after you've checked in, to the time you complete the survey and close your exam window, you'll be supervised by a proctor. During this time, you must not:

  • introduce new materials into your exam area
  • use a pen or pencil
  • speak, mumble or read your exam questions out loud (similar to an in-person exam)
  • cover your mouth or attempt to hide your face
  • wear headphones, AirPods or any type of earpiece or headset
  • leave your exam desk, the view of your webcam, or move your computer screen or webcam
  • access or use a mobile phone or messaging device, unless you lose complete contact with your proctor via your computer
  • consume food and drinks (aside from your clear glass of water), chew gum or smoke
  • communicate with others, including any third parties or others in your home, or have another person enter the room
  • copy, paste or attempt to remember questions from the exam
  • share or discuss any of your exam questions with others.

Any disruptive or fraudulent behaviour, or any breach of the CPA Program exam policies, may cause your proctor to end your exam.

If you momentarily lose internet connection during your exam, your proctor may ask to rescan your room, this is to ensure your room hasn't changed while you were disconnected. If you lose connection completely, your proctor will call your phone to understand the issue, so always make sure it's nearby.

If you require assistance at any stage, you can use the chat function to speak to your proctor.

 


 

Video guides

Watch these videos to understand the online proctored exam experience and your responsibilities as a CPA Program candidate.

How to prepare for your online proctored exam

Exam day preparation

Exam preparation quick links

Device checklist
PDF · 64.2 KB

 

Preparing for your exam

Once you have scheduled an online proctored exam, the best way to prepare is to read your study guide and use your Guided Learning resources. In addition, we recommend you work through the following checkpoints before your exam appointment.

6 weeks before exam period

  • Watch the preparation videos above
  • Complete a system test
  • Check your room against the room requirements.

If your device doesn't pass or you can't access a suitable room, please contact us.

5 weeks before exam period

Read through the CPA Program exam policies to ensure you understand your rights and responsibilities in undertaking a CPA Program exam.

4 weeks before exam period

Check that your ID matches your profile with CPA Australia, if it doesn't, contact us to make sure your profile is updated in time for your exam.

3 weeks before exam period

  • Practice using the online scratch pad and whiteboard (available in Guided Learning, accessed via My Online Learning)
  • Check your calculator against the guidelines above.

1 week before exam period

  • Read your exam confirmation email from Pearson VUE. It was sent to you when you scheduled your exam, check your junk if you can't find it. You will also receive a reminder email seven days before your appointment
  • Double-check your appointment date and time, including the time zone
  • Warn anyone you live with that you'll be taking an exam and will need stable internet and minimal noise
  • Review how to access your exam
  • Keep your eyes peeled for our Exam checklist email.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

Visit our CPA Program Exam Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.