This policy sets out the eligibility for Special Consideration and the process of applying for Special Consideration.


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.

Note: Some medical conditions may meet the eligibility requirements for a Reasonable Adjustment to the candidate’s exam conditions. If a candidate has been granted a Reasonable Adjustment the candidate will not be eligible to apply for special consideration on the same grounds. Refer to the Reasonable Adjustment Policy

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

It is strongly recommended that candidates report any exam incidents immediately to the exam supervisor on the day of the exam. Following receipt of an application for Special Consideration, CPA Australia will seek verification of the exam incident from the exam supervisor who is required to record all reported incidents. The application is unlikely to be considered without verification of the exam incident by the exam supervisor.

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.

Special Consideration Committee 

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