What to Expect When Sitting for the CPA Exam During the Pandemic


You made it to exam day, you’ve worked so hard to get to this point, and now you’re here finally sitting down at your seat at the Prometric center during the pandemic. You adjust your headphones to block out any noise, and you begin entering in your launch code. As you read through the instructions, you begin to take notice of your mask, you make a quick adjustment around your ears, but you still hear it. What is that? Your eyes widen when you realize you won’t be alone during this exam. Unfortunately, you will be testing with what sounds like Darth Vader breathing through your mask accompanied by a faint smell of that fruit bar you had quickly stuffed in your mouth while in the car right before entering the building. Oh yes, this is not distracting at all, the next four hours are going to be spectacular.

Here are some quick tips on what to expect at the Prometric testing center during the pandemic, so that you are successful on exam day.

  1. Arrive early! Before COVID-19, I used to arrive at the Prometric Center about 30 minutes before my exam. You’ll want to arrive about 45 minutes early to give a little extra time for some of the new adjustments. When I arrived, the doors were locked, and even better, it was pouring rain. I made a phone call, and someone came a few minutes later to let me in, so please make sure you allow enough time for any unexpected delays with getting into the building.
  2. Take your own mask. The Prometric center requires you to wear a mask. I highly recommend purchasing a mask that is comfortable for you. I picked up a fabric mask that had an underwire along the bridge of the nose to help maintain its shape better; this is especially helpful on the days I wear glasses. The last thing you want is foggy glasses while you’re sitting for a crucial exam.
  3. Water and snacks are no longer allowed. Before COVID-19, I was allowed to leave a water bottle on top of my locker and a snack with it so that I could re-energize a bit during my 15-minute break. Well, you can’t do that anymore! If you like a little caffeine kick after your first couple hours of testing, you’re going to have to push through without it this time around. I highly recommend bringing a snack and eating in the car right before you sit, but don’t forget the breath mint, you’ll thank me later!
  4. There are no more whiteboards. I actually liked this change because I would much rather write my calculations down with a pen rather than a thick marker. You’ll receive a long-folded piece of paper and a pen that you’ll need to leave in a basket as you leave the testing room.
  5. Wear a mask during your practice test so that you know what to expect. If you’re like me and work from home or you haven’t had to wear a mask longer than 1 to 2 hours, make sure you wear a mask when you take one of UWorld Roger CPA Review’s practice exams. You don’t want this to be your first time wearing one for a more extended period.

With just a few minor adjustments and a solid practice run on an exam simulation, you’ll be able to quickly adapt to these new changes and go into your exam feeling confident. Please be sure to check out the Prometric test center policies page to keep yourself updated on any new changes on your exam day; you can find those policies located here: https://www.prometric.com/covid-19-update/test-center-policies. I wish you the very best in your studies, and please stay well!

–        Laura D., UWorld Roger CPA Review Guest Blogger

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