As we offer more choice for your CPA Program exams, we want to ensure you feel comfortable, confident and equipped to succeed. We have therefore developed an evolving list of Frequently Asked Questions to support your exam preparation and allow you to focus on your study ahead of the exam period.

If you are unable to find an answer to your query below, please contact us for support.

GENERAL EXAM INFORMATION

Why can't I schedule my exam after the advertised closing date?

To allow us to manage our resources and ensure a smooth exam day experience – both within test centres and online - we need to confirm the number of attendees at each session prior to the exam period.

When is the exam period?

The Semester 1 2021 exam period will run from Wednesday 7 April – Sunday 25 April. The Singapore Taxation exam is held on a single day however, candidates enrolled in all other subjects can sit their exam at any stage throughout the exam period.

What is the difference between an Online-Proctored exam and a Test-Centre exam?

The content, length, structure and software are the same for both exam options – the main difference will be where you sit your exam. For Test-Centre exams, you are required to travel to the test-centre location, while Online-Proctored exams can be completed in any location which meets the environment requirements. Candidates will be supervised in-person at a test centre, while an online proctor will supervise online exam candidates via their webcam. The only other difference is note-taking – while candidates sitting a Test-Centre exam will have access to an erasable whiteboard, candidates sitting an Online-Proctored exam will be required to use an online whiteboard.

In addition, due to varying health regulations across the globe, candidates opting for a Test-Centre exam may need to abide by local safety requirements throughout their exam. Please view the location-specific information at the bottom of this page to understand your local requirements.

New restrictions have been enforced in my region and I am unable to attend my test-centre exam appointment. What do I do now?

Please be reassured that multiple options will be available to you should you no longer be able to attend your test-centre exam – including a guaranteed online-proctored exam appointment if available. We are monitoring all locations closely and will provide timely updates to any candidates impacted by changing restrictions.

What types of exam questions are there?

  • Multiple choice (standard) - choice of four options with one correct answer.
  • Extended response – requiring an extended, typed response. For SMA and FR, your extended response section will include ‘worksheet items’, that will require you to add numerical values into a worksheet.
  • Multiple choice (based on a short case study) - choice of four options with one correct answer. Please note, this question type only applies to GSL.
  • Multiple choice (multiple options) - choice of more than four options, requiring you to select all of the correct options that apply. Please note, this new question type applies to SMA, GSL, AAA, CBI, AT, ATA. It does not apply to FRM, FR, E&G or Singapore Taxation. Instructional text within the exam will make is clear when you are presented with this new question type. This new question type will also be in a section of the exam separate to standard multiple-choice questions.

What is a Multiple Choice – Multiple Option question? Why have you introduced these?

This question type requires you to select all of the multiple-choice options that apply to that question, and is work one mark. You will be presented with only one Multiple Choice (Multiple Options) question, which will sit in a separate section of your exam and will be clearly signposted – these will not sit alongside your standard multiple-choice questions, to avoid any confusion. This question has been introduced to test your higher order thinking – it is another way for us to test your understanding of the subject content.

How long are CPA Program exams?

Exams are 195 minutes long (3 hours 15 minutes) plus your additional 5-minute unscheduled break (only applicable to online-proctored and test-centre computer-based exams). All computer-based exams (in both test-centres and online) will include a tutorial at the beginning and survey at the end, meaning your total time at the computer will be 220 minutes – the tutorial and survey do not impact your actual exam time.

Am I able to take a break? What is ‘pause the clock'?

We have introduced a ‘Pause Exam’ function to both online-proctored and test-centre computer-based exams which allows you to take one 5-minute unscheduled break with your exam clock paused. For test-centre exams, you are able to raise your hand and request additional bathroom breaks, however your exam clock will not be paused. For Online-Proctored exams, you are only able to leave your exam room/desk/screen during your 5-minute ‘pause the clock’ break.

What if I accidentally take a break longer than 5 minutes?

The exam timer will recommence and will continue to count down once the 5 minutes have passed. Please ensure you have reviewed your computer lock settings to allow for a 5-minute break or longer - if your computer locks, your exam will be terminated.

TEST-CENTRE EXAMS

I am anxious about visiting a test centre – what is in place to protect me?

Rigorous measures are being taken within test centres across the globe to ensure the health and safety of members who choose to sit in a test-centre environment. Please visit the Pearson VUE website for up-to-date safety precautions in your region, as these will vary between countries in compliance with the local health authority.

Can I bring my own equipment (such as a mouse or keyboard) to my test-centre exam to avoid shared equipment?

No, you must use the equipment provided at the test centre. However, please be reassured that extensive health and safety measures are in place to ensure your safety and security at all test centres. Please refer to the Pearson VUE website for up-to-date information regarding your local measures.

What do I do if I feel unwell on the day of my test-centre exam?

If you do happen to feel unwell on the day, it is important that you do not attend your appointment – please contact us, and we will work through the options available to you.

What happens if I am running late on the day of my exam?

You are not able to enter the exam room more than 30 minutes after the commencement of the exam - this is to ensure minimal disruption to other candidates. We recommend you aim to arrive at your test centre at least 30 minutes prior to your exam appointment start time.

What can I bring to my test-centre exam?

  • All CPA Program exams are open book (except for Singapore Taxation). This means you are able to have your study guide and any printed materials you would like to refer to throughout your exam.
  • You are unable to have a pen and paper for note-taking in either exam format. A physical, erasable whiteboard is available at test centres for note-taking.
  • You may have a calculator with you, so long as it aligns with the requirements outlined on this page.
  • You must have two original forms of valid and current identification documentation (ID): 

    i. your primary ID must be government issued and it must contain your photograph and signature

    ii. your secondary ID must contain either your photograph or signature

iii. Full details about your ID requirements can be found on this page

  • For a full list of what you can and can’t bring with you to your exam, please review your confirmation email from Pearson VUE.

What can’t I bring to my test-centre exam?

  • For a full list of what you can and can’t bring with you to your exam, please review your confirmation email from Pearson VUE.
  • You cannot bring any electronic devices; including mobile telephones, smart phones, pagers, USBs, electronic tablets, laptop computers, electronic dictionaries, personal communication devices such as, and similar to, a Palm® device, electronic scanners or headphones.
  • You cannot bring a wristwatch or handheld watch. Advances in watch technologies, such as the introduction of smart watches, have led to new exam rules - no wrist or handheld watches are allowed into the exam room. Clocks will be available in the exam room or the supervisor will note elapsed time on a white board.
  • You cannot bring a coat, scarf, headwear or other clothing accessory, unless worn for religious purposes, to your examination desk. Coats that are pocket-free and are not bulky may be permitted to be worn. It is at the supervisor's discretion to decide whether an item is acceptable to wear at an examination desk and pockets may be checked.
  • Personal tissues are not permitted into the exam room. There will be tissues available at the venue if required.
  • Food and drink are not permitted into the exam room.

Can I bring a calculator to a test centre?

Yes, you are able to bring a personal calculator to your Test-Centre exam, however it must align to the requirements outlined on this page.

ONLINE-PROCTORED EXAMS

Why are online exams not available in my region?

Due to a variety of factors, Pearson VUE is unable to offer online exams in all locations globally – meaning candidates in Mainland China, Japan, South Korea and Slovenia must sit a Test-Centre exam.

What is a proctor and why do CPA Program online exams have them?

  • A ‘proctor’ is an individual who supervises the completion of an exam via webcam. This has been introduced to ensure a similar experience across both exam formats – as test-centre exams are supervised by an individual at the centre.
  • You will not be able to see your proctor; however, you will be able to communicate with them via a chat function.
  • Your proctor may interrupt you, if warranted. It may be to offer a reminder (no talking) or to investigate an incident (please show me your room, your desk, etc.).

After I check-in, how long will I need to wait before I can start my exam?

  • After checking-in, you will be added to a queue of candidates waiting to begin an exam. This time will be used to review your details and assign you a proctor. Proctors will be assigned by proximity to appointment start time, not the time you have been waiting.
  • During this time, you will see a page that says, "You are almost done with the check-in process". Please be patient: most exams will be launched within 15 minutes, however, during peak times, the wait may be longer. During this time, you must not: leave the view of your webcam, access your mobile phone or other device, eat, smoke or chew gum or have another individual enter your exam space.
  • We recommend you use this wait time to review your study guide and notes and gather your thoughts.

After I check-in and I am waiting to start my exam, can I leave my desk/room or use my phone?

  • No, you cannot leave your desk or room, or use your mobile phone (even to call CPA Australia) while you are waiting for your exam to begin. You are being recorded and must comply with all exam rules, meaning you must not leave the view of your webcam, access your mobile phone or other device, eat, smoke or chew gum or have another individual enter your exam space.
  • If you do not comply with these rules, you risk your exam being terminated due to a breach of the exam rules.

What should I do if I am waiting longer than 15 minutes for my exam to begin?

  • Don't panic - we assure you that you will be in a queue to be assigned a proctor. We suggest using this time to review your study and notes, and gather your thoughts.
  • If you are waiting more than 15 minutes for your exam to be launched, a popup alert will display as a banner across the top of the screen with the following message: "We're sorry your exam has not launched. Click here for help or to reschedule. Do not close the OnVUE application unless instructed.
  • The "click here" link opens this webpage, which includes a chat window for instant, 24/7 support.
  • Do not use your mobile phone to call CPA Australia while you are waiting for your exam to launch, as you risk your exam being terminated due to a breach of the exam rules.

Will I continue to be viewed/filmed through my webcam during my 5-minute break?

  • Yes, you will be seen/filmed during your entire exam (unless there is a connectivity issue), including during your 5-minute break. You are able to leave the view of the camera during your break, once you have clicked the 'Pause Exam' button).

How should I prepare for my online exam?

  • Ensure you have access to a suitable environment to undertake an online exam. Your environment must:
    i. be walled, have a closed door, and be free from disruptions
    ii. be clear within arm’s reach – in that you cannot reach anything but your desk and computer
    iii. include no other plugged in monitor beyond the one used for your exam-you cannot use an additional monitor connected to your laptop, even with your laptop closed
    iv. be closed to any other individual - no one else can be in or enter the room
  • Select your exam day device – we recommend you do not use a work computer, which may be equipped with strict Firewall software which could prevent the launch of your exam.
  • Check your device is ready using the criteria within this checklist.
  • Undertake this systems test to troubleshoot any technical issues.

What computer or device should I use for my online exam?

  • We recommend you do not use a work computer, which may be equipped with strict Firewall software which could prevent the launch of your exam.
  • An Apple Mac or PC is acceptable, in either a desktop or laptop form, and you may connect an external mouse or keyboard if that is your preference (wired, wireless or Bluetooth). Tablets and touchscreen devices are not permitted, nor is a second monitor.
  • A second monitor is not permitted – ensure you unplug any additional screens or monitors before your exam
  • Please ensure you have checked your device against the criteria in this list before attempting to launch your exam.

I’m worried my exam environment won’t be acceptable for an online exam – how can I be sure?

  • During the check-in process, you will be asked to take photos of your work area, which will be checked by a ‘greeter’ prior to exam launch. Your greeter will work with you to remedy any concerns on exam day during the check-in process.
  • Before your exam, ensure that your desktop is clean and that you are not within arm’s reach of books, notepads, sticky notes, papers, pens, pencils, and other writing instruments/objects. Additional monitors and computers must be unplugged and turned off. Items on the wall with writing on them, such as whiteboards, will be inspected.
  • A studio apartment will be acceptable as long as it’s quiet and aligns with all the other criteria listed above.

What happens if I fail the room scan/environment check during the online exam check-in process?

A proctor will review your testing environment photos. If they identify any anomalies, such as an additional monitor or a camera, they will ask you to complete a live room scan and will work with to amend any issues. If the issues can’t be resolved and you do not pass the room scan, you will unfortunately not be permitted to proceed with the exam.

What can I have with me during my online exam?

  • All CPA Program exams are open book (except for Singapore Taxation). This means you are able to have your study guide and any printed materials you would like to refer to throughout your exam.
  • You are unable to have a pen and paper for note-taking in either exam format. An online whiteboard will be available throughout your exam for note-taking.
  • You may have a calculator with you, so long as it aligns with the requirements outlined on this page.
  • You must have one form of valid and current identification documentation (ID), which is government issued and contains your photograph and signature. Full details about your ID requirements can be found on this page.

What can’t I have with me during my online-proctored exam?

  • For a full list of what you can and can’t have with you during your exam, please review your confirmation email from Pearson VUE.
  • You cannot have any electronic devices with you during your exam; pagers, USBs, electronic tablets, laptop computers, electronic dictionaries, personal communication devices such as, and similar to, a Palm® device, electronic scanners, headsets or headphones. You will be able to have your mobile phone with you throughout your exam check-in process, however, once you have completed this process, you will need to move your phone out of reach.
  • Watches must be removed and placed out of sight/reach during the exam.
  • You cannot wear a coat, scarf, headwear or other clothing accessory, unless worn for religious purposes, to your examination desk.

What should I do with my mobile phone during my online exam?

  • During the check-in process:
    You may use your mobile phone during the check in process to take photos of yourself, your ID and your testing environment. After you have completed the check-in process, turn your phone on silent or vibrate to minimise disruptions and move it out of reach.
  • After the check-in process:
    If you lose connection during your exam, your proctor may need to contact you. This will only occur if you cannot be reached via the online exam chat function. Only then are you allowed to leave your desk and answer your phone. If your phone starts vibrating during your exam and you are not experiencing technical issues, you must ignore the call.

Can I eat or drink during my online exam?

Only water in a clear glass is allowed during your online exam.

Can I wear earplugs during my online exam?

No, earplugs or headphones of any kind are not permitted in an Online exam.

How do I ask for help if something goes wrong during my online exam?

If you encounter technical issues or have other concerns during your exam you can contact your proctor via the exam chat function. You may not leave the room to call CPA Australia. You may not allow another person into your exam space while you are undertaking your exam

What do I do if I lose connection during my exam or my internet drops out?

  • We strongly recommend a wired internet connection for online proctored exams, to minimise the risk of internet connectivity issues
  • Before scheduling or undertaking an online proctored exam, make sure to complete this systems test - this will advise if your internet is stable and will be acceptable for an online proctored exam.
  • If you do happen to lose connection to your exam momentarily - whether due to internet issues or a loss of power, your exam will temporarily shut down. Once you regain internet or power, you will be able to relaunch your exam from where you left off - your progress will have been saved.
  • Once you click 'Relaunch', a proctor may contact you via your computer to help you recommence your exam
  • You will have unlimited opportunities to relaunch your exam if you encounter any issues, and your exam timer will only restart once you have relaunched your exam.

 

How do I access and check-in to my online exam on the day?

  • You will be able to start checking in for your exam 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time.
  • To access your exam, go to My CPA Program, and select ‘Manage Exam’ for the subject for which you have an appointment. You will be taken to the exam delivery website.
  • The exam you are scheduled to take will appear once you log in to your account under “Open Online Exams.” Select the exam link and then select “Check In.” If the “Check In” button is not visible, you are either too early or too late for your exam. Please check your appointment details to make sure you’re trying to start at the proper time.
  • You will be asked to download OnVUE, the online proctoring software, if you haven’t before. Follow the prompts in the application to complete the required check-in steps.
  • Have your acceptable ID available so that the proctor can verify your identity.
  • Shut down any non‐essential applications such as email, chat, Facebook, and Skype.
  • The check-in process takes approximately 15 minutes for candidates who have previously completed a system test, and will include the following steps:
    i. An abbreviated systems test will be undertaken, to verify that your microphone is working, that you have a stable internet connection, and that your webcam can stream video.
    ii. The OnVUE software will then guide you to use your phone or webcam to take photos of your government-issued ID and your testing environment, as well as a headshot. This will include a photo of your desk with your personal calculator visible (if using); a photo of the area to the left of your screen; a photo of the area to the right of your screen; and a photo of the area behind you
    iii. Your photos will be reviewed, and your exam will be queued up.
    iv. If your pictures don’t pass review, you’ll be joined by a greeter as soon as possible to help you troubleshoot.
    v. If you pass the check-in process, the secure browser and exam will launch.
  • You will be placed in a queue and connected with the next available proctor to begin your exam. The proctor will monitor you remotely throughout the entire exam to ensure you abide by the exam rules, to document any security concerns, and to assist you if you encounter any technical issues. The proctor will also ‘dismiss’ you once you finish your exam.

Can I have a calculator with me during my online exam?

Yes, you are able to have a single personal calculator with you during your online exam, however it must meet the requirements outlined on this page.

How should I take notes or do workings?

An online whiteboard will be available for note-taking and workings during your online-proctored exam. To practice using the whiteboard and build confidence ahead of time, we have integrated the online whiteboard into your Guided Learning resources, including your Mid-Semester Test and Practice Exams. Log in to My Online Learning and access Guided Learning to use these resources.

How will I know my exam has been submitted in the online-proctored environment?

Each answer is recorded as it is completed, once you move on to the next (or another) question. Once you are happy with your exam and you are ready to finish, click ‘End Exam’, and your answers will be submitted for scoring. If you run out of time to complete your exam, you will receive a message indicating that time has run out. After clicking OK, you will be taken to a screen to end your exam.

If my laptop or computer has a touchscreen, can I use my hand or a stylus to operate the online whiteboard?

If you have a touchscreen laptop, you cannot use a stylus, your finger/hand or other writing apparatus to write on the whiteboard - you must use your mouse. The whiteboard also cannot be used with a connected writing tablet or pad or dual monitors.