What to Bring to the CPA Exam

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Wondering what to bring to the CPA Exam? It is an essential question to ask. You devoted months to studying, and obtained your NTS and scheduled your exam several weeks in advance. Now, you are all set to take the CPA Exam. It is a significant step toward earning your license, and you should not be concerned with minor details. Even though you're probably exhausted from all your preparation, take a few minutes to organize your belongings the night before the CPA exam day.

CPA Exam Day Checklist

What’s your best solution to get organized before exam day? A detailed checklist! This CPA Exam day checklist is a guiding tool to get organized, perform a brief review of your study materials, and ensure that you are well-rested and prepared.

Pack Your Bag The Night Before

It’s always a good idea to steer clear of the "Oops, I forgot something" feeling on the day of your exam. So, it's best to pack up everything you need the night before the exam. Keep it easy and put your packed bag by the door, ready to grab on your way out.

Make Sure You Have The Right NTS And Exam Confirmation

To stay on top of things, print out all the necessary documents and keep them handy. Here's a list of the documents you will need on your D-Day:

  • Your exam ID number to log into the portal at the center.
  • Most recent Notice to Schedule (NTS)

You will need your exam section ID number to log in to the CPA Exam at the testing center. If your exam has been rescheduled or if you have received multiple NTSs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, make sure you bring the correct and most recent NTS. Bringing the incorrect NTS may restrict you from logging in and taking the exam.

The exam confirmation serves as a backup in case your exam center has trouble seating you at the correct time. In most situations, you won't need this, but it never hurts to be cautious. You should verify that all the information on the NTS is accurate when you first receive it. However, reviewing it again the night before the exam will help you relax. While some test centers may accept digital copies of an NTS, every test center will make you put your phone in a locker. It is highly recommended to carry a printed NTS with you.

Confirm You Have Two Forms Of Identification

You will need two valid identification documents that have both your photograph and signature. Otherwise, you will not be permitted to take the CPA Exam. You must present one valid form of identification from the primary list and a second ID from either the primary or secondary list below.

Primary Form of Identification:

  • A valid (non-expired) driver's license from a U.S. jurisdiction
  • A valid passport issued by the U.S. government
  • State identification card issued by one of the 50 states or territories of the United States
  • Identification issued by the U.S. Military

Secondary Form of Identification:

  • Board of Accountancy-issued identification
  • Valid credit card
  • ATM card
  • Bank debit card

The following forms of identification are not acceptable:

  • Draft classification card
  • Social security card
  • Student identification card
  • U.S. permanent residency card (green card)
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Prometric Testing Center Rules and Regulations

If you are entering a Prometric Test Center for the first time, you must be well aware of the Prometric rules and regulations.


  • Any disclosure will result in civil and/or criminal charges being brought against you and anyone directing or conspiring with you.

Procedures & Breaks

  • Before entering the examination room, you will be scanned with a metal detector. In addition, the testing center administrator will perform a visual inspection of your clothing pockets, forearms, socks, and ankles to ensure no prohibited items are brought into the testing area.
  • Eyeglasses must be removed for visual inspection to rule out the presence of a recording device. Large jewelry items are also prohibited. You can keep jewelry items in the locker while taking the exam.
  • You must sign out each time you leave the examination room during optional or standard breaks. The Administrator of the Test Center will inform you of the permitted activities during your break.
  • When returning from a break, all security checks must be completed. This may involve presenting a valid photo ID, signing in, and, if required by the test sponsor, providing a fingerprint in order to re-enter the testing room.
  • You will be given a Confirmation of Attendance form to keep. This includes contact information for reporting any concerns, complaints, or questions about the exam or testing center, in addition to confirming that you took the exam.

Prohibited Items & Conduct

  • Weapons are not allowed at the center as per Prometric guidelines and rules.
  • Unauthorized personal items are also prohibited.
  • Written notes, published materials, or other testing aids are strictly forbidden in the test room. Written notes and electronic devices found in the examination room will be seized.
  • Only soft ear plugs (with no wires or cords attached) and center-supplied tissues are permitted in the test room.
  • All materials issued by the Test Center Administrator must be returned at the end of testing. You must return scratch paper before taking a new one.
  • Talking to candidates in the test room while referring to their screens, testing materials, or written notes is strictly prohibited.

Be sure to think positively. Remember, the CPA Exam largely depends on your mental strength. As a result, the more positive you are, the more likely you are to succeed. Passing the CPA Exam is a challenge you can and will conquer if you believe in yourself, put in the hours to study, and set yourself up for success.

CPA Exam Day Overview

Tips Exams Day Breakdown
1 Take it easy a day before the exam.
2 Do a last-minute review.
3 Keep your NTS and two valid IDs with you.
4 Arrive 30 minutes early at the testing center.
5 Pay close attention to the testing process.
  • Arrive at the test center at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time. This allows sufficient time for all the pre-exam procedures to take place.
  • You must put personal items like a wallet or cell phone in the lockers at the test center. The lockers are not very spacious and shouldn't be used to store large things.
  • A countdown timer will appear on your computer screen as you proceed through the exam. So time yourself to ensure you cover all the questions you can.
  • Be aware that you only have ten minutes to finish the introductory examination screens. If you go over this limit, the session will end automatically, and you won't be able to start the exam over.
  • You will be given multiple testlets in each section. These testlets are the units that make up each exam section.
  • Each testlet has different question types, like multiple-choice questions (MCQ), task-based simulations (TBS), or written communication tasks (WC).
  • If you must take an optional break during the exam, keep in mind that the clock will continue to count down, so make good use of your time. Before leaving the testing room, exit the testlet and select the break option; otherwise you will not be allowed to return to the testing room.
  • When you return, you will be required to enter your examination password in order to proceed with the exam.
  • Inform the Test Center Administrator of any issues with functionality. Try waiting until the session ends. Make sure to remember and identify the part where the error occurred during a simulation.

How To Stay Calm On The CPA Exam Day

  1. Confidence: Have confidence in your abilities. You’ve prepared well for this day, so know that you’re ready. Trust in yourself and what you’ve learned over the last few months.
  2. Focus: Stop worrying about the things that you can’t control and start focusing on the things that you can. The amount of time and effort you’ve invested in preparing for the CPA Exam are all variables that you can control. Go into the exam with confidence and a focused mind, knowing that you are prepared to do your best.
  3. Realistic Expectations: Set realistic expectations for exam day. Of course, you want to pass the CPA Exam on the first try, but things can go south sometimes. If you don’t pass, know that you can always retake the exam with more prep. You’ve got this!
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