Online proctored exams are available in most locations globally. In this format, you can sit your exam from any location that meets our environment requirements, and you will be supervised by a virtual invigilator, known as a proctor.
This format is not available in all locations – please check your available appointments in My CPA Program.
On this page:
Watch this video to gain an understanding of the online proctored exam experience, and your responsibilities as a CPA Program candidate.
Video quick links
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 CPA Australia in order to start your exam. If this does not match, please contact us at least five business days before your scheduled exam appointment to update your profile.
- Driver’s licence
- Learner’s permit (plastic card only, with photo and signature)
- National / state / country identification card
- 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
You must have an appropriate device in order to sit an online proctored exam – an ill-equipped computer may impact your ability to launch or complete your exam.
Your device must be:
- A computer or laptop – either Mac or PC (tablets or touchscreen devices are prohibited)
- A personal computer – work computers often have firewalls which will stop your exam from launching
- Connected to the internet via a wired network – WIFI can cause you to lose connection to your exam
- Equipped with a webcam and microphone
- Connected to power
Prior to your exam, you must also:
- Enable cookies and pop-ups
- Check your lock-screen settings. We recommend you turn off your lock screen setting completely, to ensure you are not locked out of your exam
- Check your operating system – view instructions on how to get your device ready (PDF).
Testing Your Technology
We recommend you test your technology before exam scheduling closes, in case you do not have a suitable device to complete your exam. Make sure you test the device you will use for your exam. To test your technology:
You must have an appropriate exam room in which to sit your online proctored exam – if your environment does not align with these requirements, you may not be able to launch your exam.
Your exam environment must be:
- Walled and have a closed door
- Free from disruptions
- 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
We also suggest you unplug any extra monitors or electronic devices, such as your printer, to simplify your exam check-in process.
What you can and can't bring
Open Book Exams
All CPA Program exams – aside from Singapore Taxation – are open book. This means that you can have your study guide and any additional study materials with you during your exam.
As you must remain in view of your webcam at all times, it is best to place your notes directly in front of you, so that you do not inadvertently leave the screen or turn away from your webcam.
You can have your own calculator with you during your exam; however, it must align with the following criteria:
Your calculator can be:
- Able to store and recall the last performed calculation only
Your calculator can't be:
- Programmable – it must not 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)
- A 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 do not have access to a suitable calculator.
To ensure exam questions and answers are not recorded or shared, pen and paper is prohibited during online proctored exams. Instead, you will have access to a virtual scratch pad and online whiteboard for note-taking, operated by your keyboard and mouse.
What you can have with you:
- Your one form of ID
- Your study guide and any additional notes
- Your calculator
- A clear glass of water
Each of these items must be clearly displayed on your desk during your exam check-in.
What you can't have with you:
- Any electronic devices, aside from your exam device and calculator
- A watch of any kind
- Pen, pencils or paper
- Food or drink – other than your clear glass of water
Your Mobile Phone
While you cannot have your phone with you during your exam, we suggest you do keep it in your exam room, out of reach – perhaps at the other end of your desk 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.
Accessing Your Exam
- Up to 30 minutes prior to your exam appointment, log in to My CPA Program, 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 do not see the Check In button, you are either too early or too late for your appointment. Make sure to check your emails for your exam reminder from Pearson VUE to confirm your appointment time (and time zone).
Before you begin your exam, you will be led through a check-in process, which will include:
- A final system test
- Verification of your identity – you will need to take photos of yourself and both sides of your ID using your mobile phone or webcam
- A check of your exam room – you will need to take 4 photos of your exam environment using your mobile phone or webcam
We find using a mobile phone the simplest way to complete the check-in process. You will be asked to enter your mobile number as the Pearson VUE software launches, so that a check-in link can be sent to you. Once you click this, you will be guided to take photos of yourself, your idea and your exam environment.
Once you have completed this process, you will be asked to put your phone away – preferably at the other side of your desk or room, out of reach.
You will then be asked to close all applications before you are added to a queue to meet your proctor. This queue is based on proximity to appointment start times – as such, wait times can vary. Your wait time may be longer than anticipated if your proctor is unsure of any items in your room, however this will not impact your exam time. During this time, you will be reminded of your exam conditions, which will also apply as you wait for your proctor, so you must not use your phone or leave your desk.
All CPA Program exams are 195 minutes long (3 hours and 15 minutes).
When you begin your exam, you will be led through a short tutorial. If this is your first computer-based exam with CPA Australia, we recommend you take your time working through the tutorial – this will not impact your overall exam time, as your timer won’t start until you begin your exam.
Once you have finished all questions in your exam and clicked ‘End Exam’, you will be guided through a short survey. This too will not impact your exam time; however, you will still be in view of the proctor during the survey, so make sure to abide by the exam rules. You will need to close your exam before you can grab your phone, leave your desk or let anyone into your exam room.
You will also 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 5 minutes, allowing you to leave the view of your proctor.
Exam Rules and Online Proctors
There are certain behaviours that are prohibited during online exams, to ensure your proctor can verify no exam questions or answers are recorded. While these rules may seem restrictive, please keep in mind your proctor can only see the area immediately around you, and only wish to ensure no candidate is disadvantaged by misconduct.
From the time you are added to the proctor queue (after you have checked-in) to the time you complete the survey and close your exam window, you will be supervised by a proctor, and must not:
- Introduce new materials into your exam area
- Use pen or paper
- Speak, read your exam questions out loud or cover your mouth (similar to an in-person exam)
- Wear headphones, AirPods or any type of earpiece or headset
- Leave your exam desk or move from the view of your 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, or have another person enter the room
If you do exhibit any of these behaviours, your proctor will contact you to notify you of the breach – if the issue cannot be resolved, your proctor may have no option but to end your exam.
If you momentarily lose connection during your exam, your proctor may ask to rescan your room – this is to ensure your environment hasn’t changed while you were disconnected. If you lose connection completely, your proctor will call you on your phone to understand the issue – so make sure it is in earshot.
If you require assistance at any stage, you can use the chat function to speak to your proctor.
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 (1 March)
Watch the preparation videos above, complete a system test and check your environment against the room requirements. If your device does not pass or you can’t access a suitable room, please contact us.
5 weeks before exam period (1 March)
Read through the CPA Program exam policies to ensure you understand your rights and responsibilities in undertaking a CPA Program exam. These include:
4 weeks before exam period (8 March)
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 (15 March)
Practice using the online scratch pad and check your calculator against the guidelines.
1 week before exam period (29 March)
Read through your exam confirmation email from Pearson VUE, sent to you when you scheduled your exam – check your junk if you can’t find it. You will also receive a reminder email 7 days prior to your appointment.
Double-check your appointment date and time (including time zone) and review how to access your exam. Warn anyone you live with that you will be taking an exam at that time and will need stable internet and minimal noise.
Keep your eyes peeled for our Exam Checklist email.
Still have questions?
Check out our CPA Program Exam Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page for more information about online proctored exams.