Test-centre computer-based exams are available globally, though availability is occasionally impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. In this format, you must travel to a test-centre to undertake your exam, where you will be supervised in-person by an exam invigilator.
On this page
Watch this video to gain an understanding of the test-centre computer-based exam experience, and your responsibilities as a CPA Program candidate.
Video quick links
Health and Safety
To ensure the health and safety of candidates and staff, test centres across the globe follow the requirements set out by local health authorities, and comply with social distancing guidelines recommended by the CDC and World Health Organisation. We recommend you visit the Pearson VUE website for up-to-date safety precautions at Pearson VUE test centres.
Prior to your exam, you must review your personal health and safety requirements. These can be found on the Pearson VUE website, and are based on the recommendations of health authorities in your region.
You must provide two original forms of valid and current identification, including:
- your primary ID – which must be government-issued and must contain your photograph and signature
- your secondary ID – which must contain either your photograph or signature.
The name on your ID must exactly match the name on your member profile with CPA Australia. 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)
- Debit (ATM) card
- Credit cards
- Social security card
- Any form of primary ID
Note: If you are sitting an exam in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore or Vietnam, you are permitted to use your national ID card, even though no signature is present.
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 bring your study guide and any additional study materials with you to your exam appointment.
Singapore Taxation is a closed book exam, with the exception of approved Tax Acts, outlined under the recommended texts section of your study guide.
You can bring your own calculator to your test-centre 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.
Before entering your exam room, you will be given an erasable whiteboard for any note-taking during your exam. To ensure exam questions and answers are not recorded or shared, this whiteboard will be collected and cleaned after you have finished your exam.
You will also have access to an online scratch pad for quick workings during your exam.
What you can bring:
- Your two forms of ID
- Your study guide and any additional notes
- Your calculator.
What you can't bring:
- Any electronic devices, aside from your calculator
- A watch of any kind
- Large, external clothing – such as a coat, scarf or hat, unless worn for religion purposes
- Any food or drink.
It is at the supervisor's discretion to decide whether an item is acceptable to take into your exam room. You will be able to store any prohibited items at your test centre before your exam begins. For a full list of what you can and can’t bring with you, please review your confirmation email from Pearson VUE prior to your appointment.
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.
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, raise your hand and advise your exam supervisor before clicking the ‘Pause Exam’ button, and then clicking ‘Pause Exam’ in the pop-up window to confirm. Your exam timer will stop for 5 minutes.
Preparing for your Exam
Once you have scheduled a test-centre computer-based 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:
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)
Check the Pearson VUE website for your personal health and safety requirements – for example, candidates in some regions will be required to bring their own face mask.
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 spam folder 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 your test-centre location. Work out how you will travel to your exam – plan to arrive 30-minutes before your appointment start time.
Check your calculator against the guidelines above and 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 test-centre computer-based exams.