Program rules for exams

Enrolments into foundation exams are valid for 12 months from the date of enrolment. Candidates must sit the exam within 12 months of their enrolment. For example, an enrolment on 4 August 2017 must schedule and sit their exam before the expiry of 3 August 2018.

Foundation exam candidates must complete all their required foundation exams and advance to Associate status within 10 years of their first foundation exam enrolment.

All candidates will have a maximum of four exam attempts at any one exam and are required to wait a minimum of 30 days between attempts. Candidates who fail, do not sit, or cancel their subject enrolment(s) will not be entitled to any refund of their enrolment fee. If they wish to retake their exam, they will need to re-enrol and pay the full enrolment fee.

Refer to: Foundation exam information, learning resources and key contacts

Candidates’ results will not be re-examined or re-marked after the final exam results have been published.

Foundation exams are conducted by computer-based testing. Candidates will need to have a minimal working knowledge of a computer mouse and have a basic understanding of Microsoft Windows operating system prior to sitting for the exam.

Enrolment and exam scheduling

A completed enrolment, payment and agreement to the rules and regulations, non-disclosure policy and privacy statement must be received by CPA Australia. Enrolments can be made online.

Failure to complete the relevant application correctly may delay or render CPA Australia unable to process your application.

Candidates must schedule their exam appointment(s) via My CPA Program. CPA Australia strongly advises candidates to schedule their exam appointment as soon as possible to secure their preferred date, time and location. Failure to do so may result in candidates having to extend their enrolment period to ensure availability at their preferred location.

If a candidate fails to schedule their exam appointment or there is inconsistency with the information provided by the candidate at enrolment and at the time of admission at the test centre, candidates will:

  • not be permitted to sit the foundation exam
  • forfeit the entire enrolment payment
  • be required to re-enrol for the exam
  • receive a “Did not sit” on their record.

Candidates may need to travel to a suitable exam location if their preferred location is unavailable.

Candidates may reschedule their exam appointment. Rescheduling rules apply; candidates cannot reschedule an exam within 24 hours of their exam appointment. Refer to Foundation exam information, learning resources and key contacts.

Occasionally, due to unforeseen events, such as, but not limited to natural disasters, extreme weather events, power outages, site closures or connectivity issues, changes to your exams may be required after your exam has been scheduled. Your exam may need to be rescheduled to another day or time. In the unlikely event that your exam may need to be cancelled or reschedule, you will be contacted via phone or email.

Study materials

All study material is available via My Online Learning, including but not limited to a writeable PDF study guide, and audio files. Candidates must regularly visit My Online Learning for updates.

Content displayed on My Online Learning for each enrolment will no longer be available after a candidate's exam appointment.

Cancellation of enrolment

No refunds will be issued for the cancellation of a subject enrolment or for failure to sit an exam. A candidate who fails to sit a scheduled exam will receive a “Did not sit”on their record. 

To avoid a “Did not sit”on their record, candidates may: 

  • cancel their subject enrolment (and must do so at least five days before their scheduled exam appointment)
  • reschedule their exam to a date within their 12 month (or otherwise extended) enrolment period, at least 24 hours before their scheduled exam appointment.

Candidates are not permitted to sit a foundation exam(s) and subsequently apply for a foundation subject cancellation.


No deferrals will be offered to candidates enrolled in foundation exams.

Extension of enrolment expiry date

Candidates may extend their enrolment expiry date via My CPA Program for a fee. Candidates may purchase a minimum of one month and a maximum of six months' additional time to take their exam. For pricing, refer to Fees

An extension does not cancel your current exam appointment. You must reschedule your exam appointment accordingly. Failure to do so will result in a "Did not sit" result.

Expired enrolments cannot be extended. Candidates cannot extend their enrolment within 24 hours of their enrolment expiry date or exam appointment.

Candidates wishing to extend their enrolment expiry beyond their program end date must contact CPA Australia for any additional extension of time, which will be assessed on a case by case basis. If you do not contact CPA Australia and proceed to purchase an extension for your enrolment, the maximum amount of time your enrolment expiry is extended by will be up to your program end date. This may be less than the full extension period purchased.

Correct personal information

The foundation exam is a distance education learning program. You must have a valid email address and you must check your email regularly. Email is the official way we will communicate with you and no waivers or consideration will be given if you miss important information because you did not check your email. You must have access to the internet for the purposes of receiving updated information throughout your enrolment and to access study materials.

It is your responsibility to provide current personal information to CPA Australia including correct spelling of your name, residential address for exam scheduling, email address for program and exam information, and contact numbers. You must ensure this information exactly matches the two forms of current, legible identification required for scheduling and admission into the exam centres.

If there is inconsistency with the information provided by the candidate at enrolment, you may not receive critical information relating to your enrolment.

Candidates must comply with the following non-disclosure policy as non-compliance will result in:

  • not being permitted to sit the foundation exam(s)
  • forfeiting the entire enrolment payment
  • receiving a “Did not sit” result
  • being required to enrol and pay the required fee for the exam again.

CPA Australia either owns or has a right of use by way of licence to the intellectual property, copyright and trademarks used in providing the foundation exams.

Non-disclosure agreement

Your exam is confidential. CPA Australia owns the rights in the intellectual property, copyright and trademarks used in providing the exam and are protected by law. The exam is made available to you as a candidate, solely for the purpose of your assessment. You are expressly prohibited from disclosing, publishing, reproducing, or transmitting the exam, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means including visual, aural, verbal, written, electronic or mechanical, for any purpose, without the prior express written permission of CPA Australia. The exam questions and answers are not released or available for viewing due to the secure nature of the exams and the process adopted by CPA Australia in establishing passing standards. The personal data which you provided at enrolment will be used to transmit your score to CPA Australia and for monitoring purposes. Your personal data and exam data will be stored in the Pearson VUE database. CPA Australia reminds you that you have the right to access, delete and modify your personal data. To exercise such right, please contact CPA Australia.

Integrity is a fundamental principle underpinning the profession. Actions by foundation exam candidates, whether members of CPA Australia or not, such as but not limited to plagiarism, cheating, collusion and any other conduct whereby the candidate has sought to obtain an unfair academic advantage are not permitted. These actions may be treated by CPA Australia as academic misconduct. Allegations of academic misconduct will be reviewed by CPA Australia's Certification Unit and the exam results may be withheld pending the outcome of a referral to CPA Australia’s Professional Conduct Unit for investigation. Penalties include, but are not limited to the following: exclusion from admission as a member; fine; results withheld; failure of a subject.

You must accept the terms of the Non-Disclosure Agreement at the commencement of your exam to proceed with your exam.

Privacy statement

CPA Australia Ltd (CPA Australia) is committed to protecting the privacy and security of your personal information. By enrolling in foundation exams, you agree to accept the terms and conditions of CPA Australia’s privacy policy.

CPA Australia processes assessment, membership and other payments using EFTPOS and online technologies.

All transactions processed by CPA Australia meet industry security standards to ensure member details and payments are protected. For more information about our security procedures and payment processes contact +61 3 9606 9606

All candidates are bound by the terms and conditions and these Foundation exams program rules and regulations, including the non-disclosure agreement and privacy statement, as updated from time to time.