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Prometric CPA Exam Process at the Prometric Testing Center

January 30th, 2012

What is Prometric?

Prometric is an international company that provides various types of testing and assessment services. There are in excess of 5000 Prometric test centers located all over the globe, providing locations for people to take different tests and exams, and the CPA exam is one of them. For your information, the entire Prometric CPA exam process will be described below.

Before Contacting Prometric

Before heading over to the Prometric website to schedule your CPA exam, you need to have your NTS (Notice to Schedule) in order for Prometric to verify that you are indeed eligible to take the CPA exam (note: you need to apply for an NTS for EACH section of the CPA you wish to take). To get your NTS, you’ll need to register to take the exam as well as pay the fees to either the board of accountancy in your jurisdiction, or the NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy), depending on the state you want to practice in as a CPA.

Scheduling Your Exam With Prometric

Once you’ve received your NTS, you’re ready to schedule your exam with Prometric. You can do this one of 2 ways – by calling them over the phone, or by scheduling through their website. As you go through the scheduling process, you will be required to pick a Prometric testing center location, and a time and date to sit for your CPA exam. Be sure to choose a location, time and date that you can stick to, unless you’re prepared to pay a fee to change this info. Also be sure to register using the exact name that’s shown on your photo ID, as the staff at the Prometric test center will match the name you’ve registered the exam with to the one on your photo ID. You won’t want any trouble on the day of your exam resulting from a name mismatch, so watch for that when you’re filling out your details.

On the Day of the Exam

On the day of your CPA exam, remember to bring your NTS and 2 pieces of ID with you to the Prometric testing center (one of these must be a photo ID – check the Canadidate Bulletin for a list of accepted IDs). Without these you will not be allowed to take your exam. Get to the test center early – at least half an hour before the scheduled exam time. You will need all that time to sign in, allow them to take your photo and get your fingerprint, look through all the rules and policies, and finally get yourself seated and ready to take the exam. Don’t bring anything you don’t need, as you will be required to leave all your personal belongings in a small locker that won’t accommodate much aside from a handbag and/or cell phone. It would be a good idea to bring earplugs if you’re easily distracted, as there may be verbal interaction between the other students taking the exam and the staff at Prometric – just make sure the ear plugs are the soft foam type without a connecting string. You are not allowed to bring stationary to the test station – scratch paper and pencils will be provided to you. It would be a good idea to stop by the washroom immediately before you go into the exam area, as you won’t be allowed to leave the testing room except during a break (more on that later) and break time is included in your limited exam time. To avoid having to go to the bathroom often, don’t drink excessive amounts of liquids, and especially avoid caffeinated drinks at all cost.

Before you start doing the actual exam, you’ll be required to log into the test computer using a password called the “Launch Code” which you will find on your NTS. After that you’ll have 10 minutes to go through the “introductory exam screens”, and respond as instructed. If you don’t complete the introductory screens during the 10 minute limit, your exam will fail to start and you will have to reschedule your exam and pay for it again, having the incident register as a failed attempt, so be sure not to drag your feet. After the introductory screens, your actual exam will start. Pay heed to the timer at the top of the computer screen and plan accordingly such that you don’t spend too much time on any one part of the exam. Note that the time you actually get to spend doing the exam is 30 minutes shorter than the Prometric test center session time (the extra half hour is required to cover the time you spend logging in at the beginning and completing the candidate survey after you’re finished the exam). Also note that you’ll have the option of taking a break after each part of the exam – called a testlet, where each testlet consists of one of MCQ’s, simulations, or written communication tasks. These breaks will be included in your test time, meaning the timer will not stop while you’re taking a break. Therefore, unless you have a weak bladder, or have trouble concentrating without frequent breaks, you may not want to take a break every chance you get, or even take any at all.

The time limit for the exam is dependent on the particular section you’re taking: 4 hrs. each for AUD and FAR, and 3 hrs. each for BEC and REG. After you’re done the exam, you need to give back your scratch paper, sign the log book, and get a confirmation of attendance form. After that you can leave, and enjoy a well-earned rest for the rest of the day if circumstances allow.
The AICPA will then determine your exam’s score and pass the results to NASBA, which will then forward the score to your local board of accountancy to be released to you.

For More Information…

For more detailed information on the entire CPA exam process from applying to take the exam to actually receiving your scores, be sure to read the Candidate Bulletin from the NASBA website.

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