Applying to Take the CPA Exam

By Kenneth W. Boyd

The CPA exam consists of four individual tests. Whenever you apply to take a test, you must submit an application to your State Board. The application may include supporting documents and may require you to pay fees. Remember that each State Board has different requirements.

Generally, exam candidates pay two types of fees. You pay an application fee when you apply and an examination fee for each test that you take.

After your State Board accepts your application and receives your fees, it notifies the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). The State Board verifies which tests you can take, and NASBA sends you a Notice to Schedule (NTS).

When you receive a Notice to Schedule, the next step is to schedule your test. A helpful resource for this process is the CPA Candidate Bulletin, which you can search for at the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) website.

The name listed on your NTS must match the name on the picture ID you’ll bring to the test center. Your middle initial can be substituted for your middle name. If your NTS lists “T” as your middle initial and your picture identification displays your middle name as “Thomas,” that’s okay. Before your exam date, check both documents to make sure they match.

Candidates with specific needs can apply for testing accommodations. An accommodation may mean extended testing time or assistance due to a disability. Candidates who may require an accommodation should keep these points in mind:

  • Candidates should apply for testing accommodations through their State Board.

  • After the accommodation is approved, an explanation will be added to the Notice to Schedule (NTS) that the candidate receives.

  • To schedule a test with an accommodation, call Prometric to register by phone. Candidates needing accommodations should call at least 10 days before the desired test date. Not all test locations can meet the accommodations. During the registration phone call, Prometric will check whether a location can meet the test accommodation.