We understand that sometimes exceptional circumstances occur beyond your control that may affect your ability to study and/or sit your exam. If you’re facing difficulty, there are options that may apply:

Before your exam

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:

  • cancel your enrolment for your subject, up to the advertised closing date 
  • defer your enrolment to the following semester, up to the advertised closing date
  • or, if you intend to go ahead with your exam, you may be entitled to apply for special consideration, up to the advertised closing date.

To cancel or defer, go 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.

After your exam

If you have already sat your exam, but feel that extenuating circumstances affected your exam performance, you may be entitled to apply for special consideration.

Valid reasons to apply for special consideration include:

  • a medical condition
  • personal hardship, including, but not limited to, family, personal, or financial issues
  • an exam incident

Pressures of work are not considered to be exceptional and applications for special consideration that are submitted on employment-related grounds will not be accepted and will not be reviewed by the Special Consideration Committee.

How to 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 mail, email or fax to Member Administration with all supporting documentation.

Member Administration
CPA Australia
GPO Box 2820
MELBOURNE VIC 3001
Email: MA.Comms@cpaaustralia.com.au
Facsimile: 1300 78 76 73 (within Australia) or +61 3 9606 9844 (outside Australia)

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.

Applications must be supported by current documentation from an independent person such as a medical practitioner. For applications made on medical grounds, verification should be sought as close as possible to the period of illness. 

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.

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.

Supporting documentation

Applications for special consideration must be supported by current documentation.

Medical condition

Complete the special consideration application from, including Section E. Section E will need to be taken to an appointment and completed by a medical practitioner at the time of consultation. If this is not possible, a medical certificate in other formats from a medical practitioner will be accepted if it contains:

  • 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 .

'Illness', 'medical condition' or 'not-fit-for-work' may not be sufficient explanations and may make it difficult to fully assess by the Special Consideration Committee.

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. 

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 and work travel commitments, is not a reason for hardship.

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, including de facto relationship, or a letter from the doctor of the relative that you care for 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 know you. For example: manager, work colleague or friend, and how long they have known you
  • where applicable, your relationship to the deceased/ill relative 
  • contact details for the author of the letter.

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. 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. 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.