Foundation exam rules and regulations

Content Summary

Overview of the rules

When you undertake a foundation exam there are rules that apply to you. Make sure that you read and understand these rules and check My Online Learning for any updates that may affect your foundation exams.

Enrolments into foundation exams are valid for 12 months from the date of enrolment. You must sit your exam within 12 months of your enrolment. For example, if you enrolled on 4 August 2019, you must schedule and sit your exam before the expiry of 3 August 2020.

You must complete all your required foundation exams and advance to Associate status within 10 years of your first foundation exam enrolment.

You must schedule your exam appointments via My CPA Program. Failure to do so may result in you having to extend your enrolment period to ensure availability at your preferred location.

It is your responsibility when booking an online exam that you ensure you meet the technology, system and room requirements. Failure to meet the requirements may result in the inability to attempt and complete the exam.

If you fail to schedule your exam appointment or there is inconsistency with the information you provide at enrolment and at the time of admission at the test centre or online exam environment, you will:

  • not be permitted to sit your exam
  • forfeit the entire enrolment payment
  • be required to re-enrol for the exam
  • receive a “Did Not Sit” on your record.

You will have a maximum of four exam attempts at any one subject and you are required to wait a minimum of 30 days between attempts. If you fail, do not sit, or cancel your subject enrolments you will not be entitled to any refund of your enrolment fee. If you wish to retake your exam, you will need to re-enrol and pay the full enrolment fee.

Results will not be re-examined or re-marked after the final exam results have been published.

Test centre entry requirements

Before attending a test-centre exam, please review the health and safety requirements on the Pearson VUE website to understand your personal responsibilities when entering a test centre. These requirements will be based on local health guidelines and are subject to change at any time. Best efforts will be made to communicate any changes prior to your exam appointment. 

Entry requirements for test centres may vary. It is your responsibility to ensure you meet the entry requirements to sit your exam. In most circumstances, your confirmation and reminder letters from Pearson VUE will identify any entry requirements for the test centre, noting this may change in the lead up to the exam date. If this occurs, you will be notified by CPA Australia or Pearson VUE via email or text message. Entry requirements may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • providing proof of full vaccination status on arrival and entry into the test centre in the format as requested (official immunisation record). Candidates with a medical exemption should contact CPA Australia prior to scheduling an exam.
  • receiving full vaccination status at least 14 days prior to your exam.
  • providing proof (in the format requested) of a negative COVID-19 result within 24-72 hours prior to the exam appointment.
  • mandatory mask wearing throughout the duration of the exam and/or attendance at the test centre. Candidates with a mask exemption should contact CPA Australia prior to scheduling an exam.
  • completion of a medical declaration on entry into the test centre.

You may be denied entry into the exam if you:

  • do not meet the requirements
  • are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • are close contacts of someone with COVID-19
  • are under home quarantine status, and/or have travelled to a restricted area. 

Reasonable adjustments

CPA Australia is committed to providing access to exams for students who require alternative exam arrangements due to a disability or learning impairment.

If you require a reasonable adjustment for a foundation exam, this must be arranged prior to scheduling your exam. For enquiries about special arrangements for materials and exams, contact [email protected]

You should contact us to advise of your circumstances as soon as is reasonably possible following enrolment.

Rescheduling exams

If you need to reschedule your exam, you can do so:

  • up to 72 hours before your exam, no fee applies
  • between 72 to 24 hours before your exam, a fee applies.

You cannot reschedule or cancel your exam appointment within 24 hours of your exam appointment. No refunds will be issued for the cancellation of a subject enrolment or for failure to sit an exam.
If you cancel an exam appointment in order to change to another exam delivery mode, you will be giving up that appointment time and you are not guaranteed the same appointment in an alternative format.

If you fail to sit a scheduled exam, you will receive a “Did Not Sit” on your record.

To avoid a “Did Not Sit” result, you can:

  • cancel your subject enrolment. You must do so at least five (5) days before your scheduled exam appointment
  • reschedule your exam to a date within your 12-month (or otherwise extended) enrolment period, at least 24 hours before your scheduled exam appointment.

You are not permitted to sit a foundation exam and subsequently apply for a foundation subject cancellation.


Deferrals are not available for foundation exam subjects.

Extension of enrolment expiry date

You can extend your enrolment expiry date via My CPA Program for a non-refundable fee. You may purchase a minimum of one month and a maximum of six months' additional time to take your exam. An extension does not cancel your current exam appointment. You must reschedule your exam appointment accordingly. Failure to do so will result in a "Did Not Sit" result.

Expired enrolments cannot be extended.

If you wish to extend your enrolment expiry beyond your program end date you must contact CPA Australia for any additional extension of time, which will be assessed on a case by case basis. If you do not contact us and proceed to purchase an extension for your enrolment, the maximum amount of time your enrolment expiry is extended by, will be up to your program end date. This may be less than the full extension period purchased.


Your enrolment fee covers:

  • access to your study guide
  • resources within My Online Learning
  • sitting your exam
  • covers the cost of exam marking and administration.

Local currency options are available for some locations. Find out which fees are applicable for your exams.

Personal information

The foundation exam is a distance learning education program. You must have a valid email address and you must check your email regularly. Email is the official way we will communicate with you and no waivers or consideration will be given if you miss important information because you did not check your email.

You must have access to the internet for the purposes of receiving updated information throughout your enrolment and to access study materials.

It is your responsibility to provide current personal information to CPA Australia, including:

  • the correct spelling of your name
  • residential address for exam scheduling
  • email address for program and exam information
  • contact numbers.

You must ensure this information exactly matches the identification requirements for admission into exam centres and/or online exam.

If there is inconsistency with the information you provide, you may not receive critical information relating to your enrolment.

Non-disclosure agreement

Non-compliance with the non-disclosure agreement will result in:

  • not being permitted to sit the foundation exam
  • forfeiting the entire enrolment payment
  • receiving a “Did Not Sit” result
  • being required to enrol and pay the required fee for the exam again.

CPA Australia either owns or has a right of use by way of licence to the intellectual property, copyright and trademarks used in providing the foundation exams.

Foundation exams non-disclosure agreement

Your exam is confidential. CPA Australia owns the rights in the intellectual property, copyright and trademarks used in providing the exam and are protected by law. The exam is made available to you as a student, solely for the purpose of your assessment. You are expressly prohibited from disclosing, publishing, reproducing, or transmitting the exam, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means including visual, aural, verbal, written, electronic or mechanical, for any purpose, without the prior express written permission of CPA Australia. The exam questions and answers are not released or available for viewing due to the secure nature of the exams and the process adopted by CPA Australia in establishing passing standards.

The personal data which you provided at enrolment will be used to transmit your score to CPA Australia and for monitoring purposes. Your personal data and exam data will be stored in the Pearson VUE database. CPA Australia reminds you that you have the right to access, delete and modify your personal data. To exercise this right, contact CPA Australia.

Integrity is a fundamental principle underpinning the profession. Actions by foundation exam students, whether members of CPA Australia or not, such as but not limited to plagiarism, cheating, collusion and any other conduct whereby the student has sought to obtain an unfair academic advantage are not permitted. These actions may be treated by CPA Australia as academic misconduct. Allegations of academic misconduct will be reviewed by CPA Australia's Certification Unit and the exam results may be withheld pending the outcome of a referral to CPA Australia’s Professional Conduct Unit for investigation. Penalties include but are not limited to the following: exclusion from admission as a member; fine; results withheld; failure of a subject.

You must accept the terms of the non-disclosure agreement at the commencement of your exam to proceed with your exam.

Privacy statement

CPA Australia Ltd (CPA Australia) is committed to protecting the privacy and security of your personal information. By enrolling in foundation exams, you agree to accept the terms and conditions of CPA Australia’s privacy policy.

CPA Australia processes assessment, membership and other payments using EFTPOS and online technologies.

All transactions processed by CPA Australia meet industry security standards to ensure member details and payments are protected. For more information about our security procedures and payment processes, contact us.

All students are bound by the terms and conditions and these foundation exams program rules and regulations, including the non-disclosure agreement and privacy statement, as updated from time to time.