Foundation Exams FAQ Page

Still have questions about your exam format, what you can have with you on the day, or how best to prepare for your appointment? Check out our new Foundation Exam FAQ page to find the answers you need to succeed on the day.

FOUNDATION EXAM FAQs

ONLINE-PROCTORED FOUNDATION EXAM CHECKLIST

If you have scheduled an online-proctored Foundation exam or you are interested in doing so, we recommend you review our new online-proctored Foundation exam checklist, to support your exam preparation and ensure you are equipped to succeed on the day.

REVIEW CHECKLIST

We understand that exams can be stressful. You’ve studied hard, so it’s important that you prepare yourself, know what to expect on exam day, and what your exam results mean for you.

On this page, you’ll find more information on the following:


Test-Centre Computer-based Exams

Getting to the exam venue

Get off to a good start by making sure that you know exactly how to get to your exam venue. Plan to arrive at the test centre at least 15 minutes before your exam and allow for possible delays with public transport or traffic.

Key information about your exam location can be found in the appointment confirmation email that was sent to you after you scheduled your exam. This information will also be included in the reminder email that you receive seven (7) days prior to your appointment.

Health and Safety

Rigorous measures will be taken within all test centres to ensure the health and safety of members who choose to sit in a test-centre environment. We recommend you visit the Pearson VUE website for up-to-date safety precautions in test centres, as these will vary between countries in compliance with the local health authority. 

What to expect on exam day

Upon your arrival to the test centre:

  • your ID will be checked to ensure it is valid. That is, not expired and matches your enrolment and scheduling data in the Pearson VUE system
  • you will provide your signature on a digital signature pad, or a back-up signature sheet, and the test centre employees will check that the signature matches your ID
  • your photograph may be taken by a digital camera and stored for any future verification purposes
  • the test centre employees will show you where to store your belongings. No personal items are permitted to be taken into the testing room
  • you will be given an erasable whiteboard and pen to use for any rough work
  • you will be admitted to the testing room.

You will not be permitted to waive the digital signature or photograph requirement. 

Identification requirements

You must provide two original forms of valid and current identification (ID) to enter the venue for the exam.

  1. Primary ID – must be government issued and it must contain your photograph and signature
  2. Secondary ID – must contain either your photograph or signature

The name on your ID must exactly match the name on your member profile with CPA Australia. If you need to update your profile, you must contact us at least five business days before your scheduled exam appointment.

  • Driver’s license
  • Learner’s permit (plastic card with photo and signature)
  • National, state, or country identification card
  • Passport
  • Passport cards
  • Military identification
  • Military identification for spouses and dependent
  • Alien registration card (green card, permanent resident visa)
  • Government-issued local language identification (plastic card with photo and signature)
  • Debit (ATM) card
  • Credit cards
  • Any form of primary ID

Note: Students in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore or Vietnam are permitted to use their national ID card, even though no signature is present.

Personal items

You will not be allowed to take personal belongings into the testing room. Personal belongings include, but are not limited to:

  • some items of clothing and jewellery – for example, jackets, large pieces of jewellery, or jewellery that could disturb others by making a noise
  • food and drink, including water
  • paper and pens – an erasable whiteboard and pen is available for rough work
  • mobile phones, tablets, iPads and PDAs
  • purses and wallets
  • watches
  • bags.

Refer to your exam confirmation email from Pearson VUE for a complete list of what you can and can’t bring with you to the exam.

Calculators

Personal calculators are permitted at all Foundation exams and an online calculator will also be available. See About Your Exam for more information.

Pause the Clock

To further add to your health and comfort in an exam centre, we are also enabling all candidates to take one unscheduled break. Using a new 'pause the clock' function, you'll be able to stop your exam timer and take a short break to refresh, before restarting where you left off. If you need to leave the testing room, you should remain seated and raise your hand to get the attention of the test administrator who will assist and accompany you. You are not allowed to access any study materials, mobile phone or other personal belongings during your exam.

 

Online-Proctored Exams

Online exams are an increasingly common way to complete assessments in our evolving, digital world, and we are pleased to offer this service to Foundation candidates in most locations from Wednesday 22 July 2020 (noting that candidates in Mainland China, Japan, Slovenia and South Korea will not be able to choose an online exam).

Online Foundation exams will include an ‘online proctor’ – that is, a person supervising you in real-time through your webcam as you complete your exam. This is a common practice for online exams and ensures the integrity of our assessment and your experience with CPA Australia.

Please note, online exams are not available in all locations – please check your available appointments in My CPA Program.

Key Information about Online-Proctored Exams

  • Online-Proctored exams will be accessed through My CPA Program
  • As these exams will feature an online proctor, you will need to book a specific time to sit your exam from the available appointments
  • In the event you experience an unexpected issue during the check-in process, you will be referred to an appropriate support service to assist
  • There will be two-way communication between you and your exam proctor
  • You will be able to take an unscheduled break with our new 'pause the clock' function
  • Your exams will be delivered in partnership with Pearson VUE, meaning the online exam appearance and functionality will be the same as the test-centre exam

Online-Proctored Exam ID Requirements

You must provide one original form of valid and current identification document (ID) to the exam. This must be a government-issued form of identification and it must contain your full name, your date of birth and your photograph.

The name on your ID must exactly match the name on your member profile with CPA Australia and must be presented in English. If you need to update your profile you must contact us at least five business days before your scheduled exam appointment.

  • Driver’s licence 
  • Learner’s permit (plastic card only, with photo and signature)
  • National/state/country identification card
  • Passport
  • Passport cards
  • Military ID
  • Military ID for spouses and dependents
  • Alien registration card (green card, permanent resident visa)
  • Government-issued local language ID (plastic card only, with photo and signature) – accepted only if issued from the country in which the candidate is testing

If you have any questions regarding your ID requirements, please contact us.

Technology Requirements

Before scheduling an Online-Proctored exam, we recommend you follow these steps to ensure your device is equipped to provide a positive online exam experience:

  1. Check that Online-Proctored exams are available in your region via My CPA Program. You will be shown exam appointments available to you according to your residential address, which can be updated at any time via your Contact Details.
  2. Ensure you have access to a suitable environment to undertake an online-proctored exam (see Room Set-Up Requirements below)
  3. Check your device using the criteria within this checklist
  4. Undertake a systems test to troubleshoot any technical issues

Please ensure you test the device you will use for your exam. We also recommend using your personal computer for your exam – many workplace computers have strict Firewall software which may prevent the launch of your exam or systems test.

Please note, we recommend you turn off or extend your lock screen settings by at least 10 minutes, to ensure you are not locked out of your exam. 

If you fail this systems test, you should recheck your device settings against this list of technical requirements or choose to schedule a Test-Centre Computer-Based exam, if available. If you find no availability, please contact us.

Room Set-up Requirements

To sit an online-proctored exam, you will need to be in a private space where no other people can be seen or heard. Please refer to the following room set-up requirements:

  • Room must be walled, have a closed door, and be free from disruptions
  • No one else can be in or enter the room during your exam
  • The environment must be clear within arm’s reach. (Example: you must not be able to reach a bookshelf from your chair)
  • No monitors other than the one used for your exam can be plugged in

If you have any questions regarding your room set-up, please contact us.

Exam Check-in Process

Similar to a Test-Centre based exam, there will be a brief check-in process required for candidates undertaking an online-proctored exam. Once you have logged into My CPA Program to begin your exam and complete a systems test, you will be met with an exam ‘Greeter’ – a real person who will support you through a series of pre-exam checks:

  1. Identification verification. Your exam platform will guide you to capture:
    a) A photo of yourself, front and back photos of your government-issued ID, and photos of your testing environment
  2. A review of your exam environment and guidance to ensure it meets the criteria
    a) This will include a photo of your desk with your personal calculator visible if using; a photo of the area to the left of your screen; a photo of the area to the right of your screen; and a photo of the area behind you
     

Please note that photos may be taken on a mobile phone or computer webcam. If you pass this check-in process, your exam will launch.

As always, your privacy is critical to CPA Australia. For candidates selecting an online proctored exam, you will be required to read and agree to Pearson VUE’s online exam policies, including their privacy policy, prior to selecting your appointment time.

Online-Proctored Exam Results

After completing your exam, you will see either a Pass or Fail result on your screen. This result is in relation to the passing score for your subject.

A detailed breakdown of your result - including your performance under each learning module - will be available in My CPA Program 72 hours after you have completed your exam.

 

About your exam

Both Test-Centre and Online-Proctored Foundation exams will be:

  • multiple-choice, with 100 questions. Each question has four options with only one correct answer
  • three (3) hours and fifteen (15) minutes in duration, with no reading time
  • in a closed-book environment
  • delivered with a random order of exam questions for each student. 

Some exams may have on screen tools to assist you, such as formula and discount tables. You can familiarise yourself with the tools available for your subject under “Learning Support Resources” in My Online Learning.

Calculators

Personal calculators are permitted at both test-centre and online-proctored exams. Calculators can be scientific, standard or financial, however, they must not be:

  • Programmable (i.e. calculations that can store and replay a sequence of operations) or capable of external programming. Calculators that store and recall the last performed calculation are allowed
  • Able to provide text storage
  • Equipped with an alphanumeric keyboard (i.e. any calculator with a QWERTY keyboard or a keyboard allowing entry of all letters from A to Z)
  • A graphing calculator
  • Wired or include wireless communication capabilities
  • Equipped with a camera or video recording functionality
  • Powered by anything other than internal batteries and/or solar power
  • Able to produce a sound which cannot be turned off or disabled.

An online calculator will also be available in both exam settings to support those without access to an approved calculator. We welcome you to trial this online calculator ahead of your exam appointment - you can access an example of the online calculator within this demonstration (please navigate to item 3).

Candidates undertaking a test-centre exam will continue to have access to an erasable whiteboard during their exam, which will be collected and cleared upon completion.

Pause the Clock

To further add to your health and comfort in an exam centre, we are also enabling all candidates to take one unscheduled break. Using a new 'pause the clock' function, you'll be able to stop your exam timer and take a short break to refresh, before restarting where you left off. You are not allowed to access any study materials, mobile phone or other personal belongings during your exam.

 

Tips for exam day

Watch your time

As soon as you begin the exam, the clock in the top right-hand corner of the screen begins to count down. Watch your time carefully. We recommend you develop an exam time management technique, calculating how long to spend on each question and allow for 10 minutes of review time before your exam concludes.

Attempt all questions

Attempt every question – marks are not deducted for incomplete answers. You can flag questions and return to them easily once you have viewed all exam questions.

Read questions carefully

  • 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.

 

Understanding Your Exam Results

From Tuesday 21 July 2020, after completing your exam, you will see either a Pass or Fail result on your screen. This result is in relation to the passing score for your subject.

For Online-Proctored exams, a detailed breakdown of your result - including your performance under each learning objective - will be available in My CPA Program 72 hours after you have completed your exam.

For Test-Centre Computer-Based exams, you will receive a printed student feedback report containing this further detail at the test centre. Your results can also be accessed online in My CPA Program 72 hours after you have completed your exam.

Access your results

Your scaled score

At CPA Australia we use a scaled score assessment model to assess exams. The scaled score range is 100 – 900 across all subjects, with the pass mark set at 540.

What to do if you're disappointed with your result

Though it can be unsettling when you've not performed as well as you had intended, it’s important to remember that a scaled score indicates your exam performance more accurately, regardless of the exam version you sat.

Due to the rigorous procedures outlined above, we have a firm policy that we do not re-mark our exams.

If you have failed an exam, your exam report will demonstrate your performance against each of the learning modules tested. This will help you focus your study next time you attempt your exam. We also have extra resources available from our registered tuition partners to improve the probability of an improved exam result the next time you sit.