What is special consideration?

We understand that sometimes exceptional circumstances occur beyond your control that may affect your ability to study and/or prepare for your exam. Special consideration is a process that ensures CPA Program candidates are not disadvantaged in their exam preparation or exam performance by circumstances beyond their control.

Who can apply for special consideration?

Special consideration is only available to CPA Program candidates who have sat (or will sit) their exam. If you have faced difficulty before or during your exam, you may be eligible to apply for special consideration. Before applying for special consideration, please ensure you read through the CPA Program Special Consideration Policy in full, to ensure you meet the requirements.

You may apply for special consideration on the grounds that your exam preparation and/or performance was adversely affected by circumstances beyond your control. Valid reasons to apply for special consideration include:

* Supporting documentation is required for applications on the grounds of medical conditions or personal hardship.

If your study has been affected and you don’t feel adequately prepared for your exam, or you’re simply no longer able to attend your exam, you may:

Special consideration is not applicable for candidates who wish to cancel or defer their exam. If you wish to cancel or defer your exam, please visit My CPA Program to manage your enrolment.

If you have a disability, medical condition or learning impairment you may also apply for a reasonable adjustment in advance of your exam and prior to the advertised closing date for applications.

When should I apply for special consideration?

Special consideration applications must be submitted prior to the advertised closing date for the relevant semester. Applications submitted after this date, or after the release of results, will not be accepted.

How do I apply for special consideration?

  1. Download the special consideration application form (pdf)
  2. Complete the form, remembering to check that the documentation is complete, current and certified where required
  3. Sign the printed form and return the form by email to Member Administration via [email protected] with all supporting documentation

Member Administration
CPA Australia
Email: [email protected]

All applications will be treated confidentially and must be received by the advertised closing date. If the application and supporting documentation is not received by CPA Australia by the closing date, the application will not be processed. All applications received by the closing date will be acknowledged in writing before the official release of results.

When applying for special consideration, you must fully explain your situation on the application form, and detail how the situation has affected your studies leading up to the exam and/or your performance in the exam.

It is your responsibility to provide sufficiently detailed information to support your application. It is expected that all documentation supplied will be in English. Where documents are translated into English, the translated documents must be certified.

A phone call to CPA Australia to request special consideration or to report an exam incident will not constitute an application. All candidates who wish to apply must complete a special consideration application form and submit this prior to the closing date for applications of that semester.

What supporting documentation do I need to submit with my application?

Applications for special consideration must be supported by current documentation and must demonstrate you were adversely affected during the semester and/or during the exam period by circumstances beyond your control.

Medical condition

Complete the special consideration application form, including "Section F: Medical Certificate to Support Special Consideration Application". Section F will need to be taken to an appointment and completed by a medical practitioner at the time of consultation. If it is not possible for a medical practitioner to complete Section F, a medical certificate in other formats from a medical practitioner will be accepted if it contains the following:

  • information detailing the condition
  • an indication of whether the condition is mild, moderate or severe
  • the dates that you have been or will be affected
  • information about how the condition has, or would, affect your studies or exam performance.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the medical certificate covers the above information in the absence of completing Section F. Please note, 'illness', 'medical condition' or 'not-fit-for-work' may not be sufficient, and may make it difficult for the Special Consideration Committee to assess.

Your medical and supporting documentation must include information on how the medical condition has impacted on your studies and/or exam performance. Applications that do not contain this information may not be assessed by the Special Consideration Committee. Candidates should seek verification as close as possible to the period of illness. 

Falsifying or forging any supporting documentation is considered academic misconduct and will be treated as such. 

Personal hardship

Personal hardship can include family issues, personal issues, or financial issues. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • divorce
  • death in the family
  • ill relative requiring your care
  • forced home moves
  • redundancy
  • attending court cases during the exam period.

A heavy workload — including working hours, work travel commitments or pressures of work — is not considered to be exceptional and applications for special consideration that are submitted on work-related grounds will not be accepted nor reviewed by the Special Consideration Committee.

You must establish in your documentation that it is a circumstance or situation that is out of your control. The currency of the documentation that you supply will also be considered.

You must supply a letter of personal hardship from someone not related to you by birth or by marriage (this includes a de facto relationship) that contains:

  • a detailed explanation of your personal hardship and the way in which it has, or would, affect your studies or exam performance
  • relevant dates of the impact of the hardship 
  • information about how the author of the letter knows you. For example, a manager, work colleague or friend, and for how long they have known you
  • where applicable, your relationship to the deceased/ill relative 
  • contact details for the author of the letter.

The letter must also be signed and dated by the author.

Your supporting documentation must include information on how the hardship has impacted on your studies and/or exam performance. Applications that do not contain this information may not be assessed by the Special Consideration Committee.

Exam incident

If a disruptive incident occurs during an exam, you must supply documentation such as a statement describing the incident, detailing the effect it had on your exam performance.

For candidates sitting an exam at a test centre, please ensure you report any exam incidents on the day of your exam immediately to your exam supervisor. Your exam supervisor may issue an incident ID that you can reference in your special consideration application.

For candidates sitting an online proctored exam, please contact CPA Australia immediately after your exam to report the incident. Following receipt of an application, CPA Australia may seek verification of the exam incident.

Late receipt of study guide

As study guides are now made available online via My Online Learning, late receipt of study guides is no longer a valid reason for special consideration, with the exception of Singapore Taxation.

What happens after I submit my application?

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.

Applying for special consideration does not change how your exam will be marked. You will still be marked on the entire exam form, including the questions you may not have answered. Your final scaled score will reflect your performance across the entire exam, and it will not be adjusted based on the questions you may not have completed.

Once your application has been received and acknowledged, the Special Consideration Committee will assess applications that meet the following criteria:

  • the applicant sat for their exam
  • the applicant received a fail grade and the applicant’s scaled score (exam marks) were within the limited range below the pass mark (540).

For your application to be reviewed by the Special Consideration Committee, your scaled score must fall within the limited range below the pass mark. If you received a fail grade and your scaled score sits outside the limited range, such as a clear fail, your application will not be reviewed by the Committee and your results will not be considered for adjustment.  

Please refer to the Special Consideration Policy for further information on the role of the Special Consideration Committee.