When enrolling in each foundation exam, you will receive a study guide.

CPA Australia provides all foundation exam candidates with study material to assist in exam preparation; the study material will assist you with the knowledge and skills to successfully pass your foundation exams. However if after reviewing the requirements, you feel you have sufficient knowledge and skills, you can elect to take your exam without reference to the study material. Your study guide and some tips on using it are available on My Online Learning. 

In addition to the guide, if you feel you have gaps in your knowledge, there is additional learning support available.

A full list of resource tools can be accessed through My Online Learning

Study plan

  • There are no recommended hours of study. You will need to create your own study plan. Each candidate brings their own level of experience and knowledge to each of the foundation exams. The amount of study required will depend on your prior knowledge of the subject.
  • Review all the learning objectives thoroughly. Use the topic exam weightings in your study guide to develop a study plan to ensure you provide yourself with enough time to revise each learning objective.
  • Don’t leave your study to the last minute. You may need more time to explore learning objectives in greater detail than initially expected.
  • Be confident that you understand each learning objective. If you find that you are still unsure after reading the study guide, seek additional information from other resources such as text books, supplementary learning materials or tuition providers.

Study techniques

  • There are no recommended hours of study. You will need to create your own study plan. Each candidate brings their own level of experience and knowledge to each of the foundation exams. The amount of study required will depend on your prior knowledge of the subject.
  • In addition to being able to complete the revision and self-assessment questions in the study guide, ensure you can apply the concepts of the learning objectives rather than just memorising responses.
  • Some exams have formula and discount tables available to candidates throughout the exams. My Online Learning lists the tools available for each exam under "Your Exam".
  • Check My Online Learning on a weekly basis to keep track of announcements or updates to the study guide. 
  • My Online Learning also features a software tutorial so that you can familiarise yourself with the exam environment at the computer-based test centre. You can take this tutorial whenever you wish, and as many times as you like.

Tips for exams

  • Plan to arrive at the test centre at least 15 minutes before your exam. Allow for possible delays with public transport or traffic.
  • You have three hours and fifteen minutes to complete the exam. As soon as you commence the exam your exam clock in the top right hand corner of the screen begins to count down. Watch your time carefully.
  • Foundation exams have 100 multiple choice questions; each question will contain four possible options.
  • Some exams may have on screen tools to assist you, you can familiarise yourself with these tools through My Online Learning.
  • Attempt every question; marks are not deducted for incorrect answers. You are able to flag questions and return to them easily once you have viewed all exam questions. Aim to have 10 minutes left at the end of the exam to review such questions.
  • Read each question carefully and attempt to calculate the answer before you read the multiple-choice answers provided, as referring to these first may confuse you. Take note of important terms and dates in the question to ensure that you focus on exactly what is being asked. Be careful with numerical questions, as the distractors are designed to match answers that incorporate common errors. Check that your calculation is correct. Have you followed the requirement exactly? Have you included every stage of the calculation?
  • You may find that none of the options matches your answer.
    • Re-read the question to ensure that you understand it and are answering the requirement
    • Eliminate any obviously wrong answers
    • Consider which of the remaining answers is the most likely to be correct and select that option
    • Revisit unanswered questions. When you come back to a question after a break you often find you are able to answer it correctly straight away. If you are still unsure, have a guess. You are not penalised for incorrect answers, so never leave a question unanswered.

Past exam papers 

  • Due to the secure nature of the exams and the process adopted by CPA Australia in establishing pass standards, questions and answers from past exams are not released or available for viewing.
  • Frequent changes in the content of the study guides and changes to legislation and accounting standards can also mean that past exams may not be appropriate guides for current exams.
  • Self-assessment test questions and answers are available in the study guides. These questions provide an opportunity to review each topic covered.