Detailed and disciplined study is what all CPA Exam candidates should be focusing on when preparing to sit for the uniform CPA Exam. However, part of your test preparation should be to understand the exam application process, including testing windows and blackout dates.
For US test takers, Prometric, which administers the exam, offers four testing windows each year. The windows are as follows:
It’s important to note that, generally, there are also four blackout months per year when the test is not available. The blackout months are March, June, September, and December (3rd month of each quarter).
U.S. exam candidates must contact their state’s board of accountancy in order to apply to take the CPA exam as well as verifying CPA test dates. Each board has its own set of exam eligibility requirements, required forms, deadlines, and fees. Candidates must meet all eligibility requirements established by their board before they can schedule the exam. Many State Boards of Accountancy utilize NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) for their exam application process. Whether it is your specific State Board of Accountancy or NASBA handling your application paperwork, NASBA will send you a Notice to Schedule (NTS) once your application process is complete. After you receive your NTS, you will have 6 months to schedule your exam with a Prometric testing center.
For international test takers, the exam windows are different. According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), international testing is available at Prometric testing centers in Bahrain, Kuwait, Japan, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Brazil. The exam is identical to the US version and is only available in English. International exams are offered only during the second month of the testing window (February, May, August and November). International candidates should contact the NASBA for exam application information.
The CPA exam is governed by the AICPA, which is responsible for exam development, content, and scoring. The actual test is proctored by Prometric, which handles exam registration, scheduling, administration and runs all authorized test centers.
Appointments are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. Therefore, the sooner you contact Prometric, the better the chances are that you will be able to schedule your test appointment at the location, date and time of your choice. You must schedule your test at least six days in advance. Test takers without an appointment will not be admitted.
Choosing the best exam date can be critical to your success. Scheduling an exam too close to a major event can set you up for failure. Personal or work commitments can absorb much of your time and energy, leaving little left for the crucial day of the exam. Choose a date that will give you ample time to study and doesn’t require you to divide your attention between the exam and other stressful and time-consuming events. Looking ahead and planning around potential conflicts is a great practice and can reduce your stress and help you properly prepare for the exam. Nearly all currently licensed CPAs utilized a CPA Review Course to better prepare for the exam.