Eligibility

Am I eligible to commence foundation exams?

Anyone who is interested in becoming a CPA should apply for an assessment to determine their requirements to obtain CPA status. Depending on what you have already studied with a higher education provider, you may be eligible for exemptions.

Are foundation exams conducted in English?

Yes, all learning materials, instructions and exams are conducted and written entirely in English.

I have had a migration assessment. Will I also need an assessment to determine my eligibility for membership?

Yes, the migration assessment and CPA Australia membership assessment are two separate assessments. Even though your qualifications have been assessed for migration purposes, our membership requirements are different. Therefore, for anyone who would like to enrol into the CPA Program, an assessment is compulsory.

I previously completed a CPA Australia bridging unit. What credits will I receive for the foundation exams?

If you have completed any of the following bridging units, you will receive an exemption in the corresponding foundation exams when you apply for your assessment. Please ensure you quote your original reference number on your application to gain these exemptions.

  • BUP001: Introduction to Financial Accounting – corresponding foundation exam: Financial Accounting and Reporting

  • BUP002: Introduction to Management Accounting – corresponding foundation exam: Management Accounting

  • BUP003: Introduction to Business Finance corresponding foundation exam: Business Finance

I used to be enroled into a bridging unit. What should I do now?

CPA Australia’s membership entry changed in 2010. As a result of this change we no longer offer bridging units. You will need to do an assessment to determine your entry point.

Can I get recognition of previous study?

Yes. However, you will still be required to complete an assessment so we can determine your knowledge areas and strengths. You may still be required to complete some foundation exams after your assessment. You can discuss your requirements with the member advisory and information service by emailing memberservice@cpaaustralia.com.au or contacting your local CPA Australia office.

If additional knowledge is required after my assessment, is there an alternative to doing the foundation exam?

Yes, as an alternative applicants can choose to complete the required knowledge areas through a higher education provider

Foundation exams

  • Foundations of Accounting
  • Management Accounting
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Business Finance
  • Economics and Markets
  • Fundamentals of Business Law

Auditing and Taxation Law can be completed as part of the CPA Program if not previously satisfied.

Program rules

Can I take a foundation exam for continuing professional development (CPD) purposes?

No, the foundation exams are a series of exams to demonstrate the knowledge areas required to commence the CPA Program and are not deemed suitable for CPD purposes

If I fail an exam, how long before I can sit the exam again?

Candidates will need to wait a minimum of 30 days before they can sit the exam again. Refer to important dates for exam dates.

How many times can I repeat a foundation exam?

Candidates have a maximum of four attempts at any one foundation exam. Candidates will be unable to enrol for a fifth attempt at the exam. We recommend that if you fail an exam repeatedly that you contact us to discuss further study options before you sit a fourth attempt.

Can I continue to complete my other foundation exam requirements with CPA Australia if I have failed an exam four times?

Yes, you will be able to continue to sit for other required foundation exams. We recommend that if you fail an exam repeatedly that you contact us to discuss further study options before you sit a fourth attempt.

What options do I have if I am unable to enrol again to complete a required exam?

You can enrol in a similar exam with a higher education provider.

What happens when I pass the exam I completed at a higher education provider?

You can apply for an exemption of this foundation exam requirement. There will be no charge for the additional assessment of your qualifications.

Can I cancel my enrolment?

Yes, candidates can cancel their subject enrolment up to five days prior to their scheduled exam appointment without their cancellation appearing on their Foundation Program history. However, no refunds will be issued for a cancellation. 

Enroling in and scheduling exams

When can I enrol in foundation exams?

CPA Australia strongly advises you to schedule your exam appointment as soon as possible to secure your preferred date, time and location.You can enrol in foundation exams any time and self-schedule your exam via My CPA Program. You must schedule your exam to take place within your enrolment period.

How will I know when my exam window is about to expire?

You will need to log into My CPA Program, which will list your date of enrolment and expiry of your enrolment.

Can I extend my exam deadline beyond 12 months?

If you are unable to sit your exam within 12 months of your enrolment, you may extend your exam window on a month-by-month basis, up to a maximum of six months. A fee will be applicable, which will be calculated monthly. Extending your exam window will not automatically reschedule your exam booking. You must reschedule your exam appointment accordingly. Failure to do so will result in a 'Did not sit' result. 

How do I schedule my exam appointment?

You can scheduled your appointment via My CPA Program.

Am I guaranteed a seat in my preferred exam location?

No, there is limited capacity in exam centres. Candidates are encouraged to schedule their exam appointment via My CPA Program as early as possible. If a first preference is not available candidates should try another date or be prepared to travel to the next closest exam centre.

What should I do if there are no appointments available in the town or city where I’d like to sit my exam?

Candidates may need to travel to a suitable exam location if the preferred location is fully booked.

What should I do if I haven’t received a confirmation email for my exam?

If you have scheduled an exam appointment but have not yet received a confirmation email it could be because:

  • the email is on its way (please allow 24 hours)
  • the email has been trapped in your "junk" or "spam" mail filter
  • the email address recorded with CPA Australia needs to be updated.

Note: If you didn’t receive or have lost your confirmation email. You can also print a copy of our appointment details via My CPA Program.

Who can I contact if I want to take my exam in a location that is not available?

Based on demand, CPA Australia may consider opening additional centres for future exam periods. If you would like to suggest an alternate test centre location for our future consideration that is not available on the list, please email your suggestions to memberservice@cpaaustralia.com.au 

Can I pay in my local currency?

Local currency options are available for some locations. Refer to the fees section of the website for more information.

Does the exam fee include Associate membership?

Candidates undertaking foundation exams are not eligible for Associate membership. You will only pay your Associate membership fees once you are eligible for the CPA Program and activate associate membership.

What do I get for the cost of each enrolment?

Your enrolment fee includes:

  • access to a study guide to prepare you for the exam
  • exam, marking and administration fees.

Why do I have to pay to extend my enrolment expiry date/exam window?

There is a nominal cost to extend your enrolment expiry date/exam window on a month-by-month basis (up to a maximum of six months). This covers the administrative costs associated with changing your enrolment. Refer to the fees section of the website for more information.

Can I reschedule my exam appointment?

You can reschedule your exam appointment to a different date, start time or a different location – subject to test centre availability.

Note:

  • If you are rescheduling your appointment up to 72 hours before your exam – no fee applies
  • If you are rescheduling your appointment from 24 to 72 hours  before your exam – a fee applies

Can I reschedule my exam appointment on the day of the exam?

No changes can be made to your exam appointment within 24 hours of your exam start time.

Can I get a refund if I can’t attend my exam appointment on the day of the exam?

No refunds will be issued for candidates who cancel their subject enrolment or who otherwise do not attend their scheduled exam appointment. In order to avoid a "Did not sit" result, a candidate must rescedule their exam at least 24 hours before the exam. Candidates who do not attend their scheduled exam will receive a "Did not sit" result. 

How can I reschedule my exam appointment?

You can reschedule an exam appointment via My CPA Program

Will I get another confirmation email after I reschedule my exam appointment?

Yes, you will receive another confirmation email once you reschedule your exam appointment.

Do I have to study using the CPA Australia provided study material?

No, if you feel you already have sufficient knowledge and skills as outlined in the foundation exam learning objectives, you can elect not to use the study material. The study material is provided to candidates to assist in your studies and to help you determine whether you have the required knowledge and skills to successfully pass the foundation exams.

Do I require any additional resources to the study guide?

Possibly, this will depend on whether you have the required knowledge defined by the learning objectives. If you have gaps in the required knowledge, you will need to use further resources. A listing of further resources can be accessed through My Online Learning.

Studying

How many hours of study on average are required to complete a unit?

There are no recommended hours. Each candidate brings their own level of experience and knowledge to each of the foundation exams. It is entirely dependent on the candidate’s prior knowledge of the subject. Candidates will need to develop their own study plans.

Are there any tuition providers or supplementary learning materials to assist me with my study?

In addition to the study material there is a range of tuition support options available for purchase.

Can I join a study group?

We do not have study groups available for foundation exams. Candidates will need to arrange their own study group or seek tuition for foundation exams from registered tuition providers.

What if my study guide is updated? How will I know I am using the correct version?

Your study guide will occasionally be edited to reflect modifications and updates to examinable content. If this occurs, we will notify you by email well in advance of the change occurring allowing you to make the decision as to whether you intend to be examined on the current or the new content.  If you are unsure if you are using the most updated version of the study guide you can check My Online Learning for clarification.

You’ll need to ensure your email address is current and can review and update it by logging into My CPA Program.

I’ve never taken an exam on a computer before. How will I know what I need to do?

To aid you in your preparation for foundation exams, you have the opportunity to take a free tutorial before the day of the exam so that you can familiarise yourself with the software that you will use when you take your exam at the computer based test centre. You can take this tutorial whenever you wish, and as many times as you like. More information can be found on My Online Learning.

On the day of the exam, there will be a ten-minute tutorial showing you how to navigate the exam. These ten minutes is not included in your total exam time.

What happens if there is a technical problem that interrupts my exam?

Scores are recorded as you progress through the exam and are not lost due to interruptions. For example, if a power outage interrupts your exam, you will be required to wait until the issue is resolved. Once resolved, your exam will resume (from the point before the interruption) meaning you will not lose exam time.

Am I allowed to bring a calculator?

Yes, candidates are allowed to bring a calculator in to the exam. A scientific calculator will be made available as an on screen tool throughout the exam. An example can be found on the Pearson VUE website.

Is my exam open-book?

No, all foundation exams are closed-book exams, meaning you are not allowed to refer to any materials other than what is provided to you during the exam. Note: For some exams, formulae and discount tables will be provided – it is expected that candidates understand and are able to apply relevant formulae in their answers.

Will my exam have on-screen tools?

The following exams will have on-screen tools to assist you:

  • Business Finance will have discount tables and formulae
  • Economic and Markets will have formulae
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting will have formulae

Examples and more information about these on-screen tools can be found on My Online Learning.

I have an issue with my experience at the test centre, what should I do?

Candidates who experience exam irregularities at the test centre must register their concerns with the test centre administrator on the day of the exam. All exam irregularities are formally logged and addressed by Pearson VUE and CPA Australia program managers.

Note: This information is supplementary to the Foundation Enrolment Rules and Regulations. The Foundation Enrolment Rules and Regulations from time to time will apply to the extent of any inconsistency.