Since Prometric announced that testing for CPA candidates will resume May 1 at centers where government regulations and guidelines allow, there has been some confusion not only surrounding these logistics, but other areas pertaining to the CPA Exam as well.
To help clarify the confusion, we gathered information from Prometric, NASBA, and the AICPA to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information about CPA Exam testing as it relates to COVID-19.
1. Prometric is only re-opening test centers that meet regional guidelines and regulations.
In order for a testing site to re-open, it must adhere to regional guidelines and restrictions determined by its local government, which must deem it as safe. They must also ensure staff are healthy, trained on new social distancing practices, and are equipped with all necessary materials to re-open.
2. Currently, there are about 118 test centers across 34 states scheduled to be re-opened on May 1st.
More centers will no doubt be added to the list as Prometric continues to evaluate site-by-site. Here is a link that will be updated regularly for candidates to see which test centers are currently open.
3. Candidates are only allowed to test in every other seat.
New social distancing guidelines for re-opened Prometric sites are requiring every other test-taking seat to be removed until further notice, as outlined by the WHO and CDC. Therefore, if your state was supposed to re-open centers according to your governor and your exam was still canceled, this may be because you were scheduled to sit in a seat that has now been removed.
If this is the case, candidates are urged to reschedule their exam to an open appointment slot.
4. Social distancing guidelines are being implemented at all open test centers.
This includes the following:
- Requiring all test takers to wear masks. Test takers who show up without one will be turned away and not eligible for a free reschedule.
- Permitting test takers to wear gloves while testing.
- Social distancing during check-in and testing process.
Candidates will not be permitted to test if they have:
- Been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days
- Been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days
- Been experiencing flu or cold-like symptoms
- Returned from travel to a highly infected area in the last 14 days
5. Email communication from Prometric has been addressed and clarified.
Learn more about what to do regarding specific Prometric email communications here.
6. Credit extensions and NTS expirations are still in flux.
NASBA is currently working with several committees to make recommendations to state boards next week to discuss further credit extensions and NTS expirations for candidates. Once these have been established, state boards should be announcing their rulings on the matter if they haven’t already.
NASBA anticipates having a map to show where each state board stands available online.
7. NASBA encourages candidates to apply for their NTS now.
NASBA staff are working from home to process and get NTS applications completed, which is taking roughly 4-6 weeks. They encourage candidates to apply for their NTS now since obtaining transcripts from colleges and universities can be the most time-consuming part of the process.
8. Emergency testing period is still in place.
The 2020 Q2 testing window will be extended from June 10, 2020, to June 30, 2020 to provide additional testing opportunities to help candidates affected by COVID-19 test closures. However, current testing restrictions still apply. Candidates cannot retake a section they failed in the current quarter. Score release dates for this emergency testing period is also now available here.
9. Continuous testing may still undergo blackout periods for necessary exam updates.
NASBA, Prometric, and the AICPA are excited to offer continuous testing for candidates to help them obtain licensure faster. However, they have stated that they reserve the right to put in blackout periods should there be a need to, such as conducting major software updates for Prometric. These will occur during the last week of a quarter, if necessary, and candidates will be given an ample amount of notice.
10. Sit for the CPA Exam as soon as possible.
According to the candidate performance report NASBA compiles every year, statistics consistently show that the sooner candidates sit for the CPA Exam after they graduate, the more likely they are to pass.
Lastly, keep calm and carry on.
Prometric, NASBA, and the AICPA are encouraging candidates to remain calm and utilize this extra time they’ve been given to continue studying and preparing for the CPA Exam. They urge candidates to remember that normalcy will return and to remain positive, safe, and healthy in the interim. FAQs regarding the above information are also available here.