FAQs - CPA Examination

No, when you submit your exam application to the Illinois Board of Examiners, only apply for the exam sections you want to take within a six-month period.  You can apply to take one, two, three or four sections.  You should only apply for the number of sections you can comfortably take within the six-month period that is reflected on your Notice to Schedule.

To obtain the most up-to-date information on the computerization of the Uniform CPA Examination, candidates may visit the AICPA’s Website. There you will find information about the content, the structure and the Candidate Bulletin. In addition, you can take a practice test and tutorial that will acquaint you with the format of the new exam. If the information on this Web site does not fully answer your questions, you may call the board office at 217-531-0950 to obtain additional information.

 The cost will vary for each jurisdiction. In Illinois, the cost for first-time domestic candidates applying to take all four sections is $723.20 . These costs cover the grading fee, the seat time at the testing center and processing fees charged by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the state board application fee. A candidate first pays an application fee to the Board of Examiners.  After board approval, the remaining examination fees are paid to NASBA.   From this page click on “Exam” and then "Fees" for more detailed information about the fees.

Yes. You may schedule your examination at any authorized Prometric site. You can locate an authorized testing center by visiting the Prometric Website.

The computer-based examination is available approximately 60 days out of each calendar quarter. This 60-day period is called a “testing window.” The testing windows are January-February, April-May, July-August, and October-November.

A variation of essays (i.e., constructed responses) will be incorporated into examination simulations. In addition written communication is tested. You may view a simulation on the AICPA Web page. It is important to practice the simulations found on that web site in order to perform well on the exam.

Yes. Please refer to Score Review/Appeal in the Exam section on this website.

After the Board receives scores, it takes approximately two weeks to process and mail to candidates. Scores are currently released twice in each testing window.

The passing score is 75. Numeric scores will be mailed to candidates.

You may reschedule your appointment at no charge as long as you reschedule at least 30 days in advance. If you reschedule between 5 and 30 days before your appointment, you must pay a nominal fee of $35 directly to Prometric. If you reschedule within 5 days of your appointment, you will have to pay the full Prometric fee for the section you are rescheduling.

No. One of the benefits of the computer-based examination is that a testing center outside Illinois may be in a city much closer to a you than a test center within Illinois. As might be obvious, however, a person may not be a candidate from more than one state at the same time and will not be able to circumvent a state’s educational or licensing requirements by taking the examination outside of the state in which he or she is seeking to become licensed or certified.

You are allowed to take each section of the examination four times a year. Candidates may take any or all four sections of the examination during any testing window. You are not allowed to take the same section more than once during any given testing window. For example, you could take Audit and Attestation in April, Regulation and Business Environment & Concepts in August, and Financial Accounting and reporting in October.  However, you could not take Audit and Attestation in April and May.

There are no additional charges for taking the examination outside of Illinois with the exception of Guam.

Once you pass a section(s) of the examination, you are allowed a maximum of 18 months to pass all remaining sections in order to retain credit on the passed section(s). If you do not pass all four sections within that 18-month period, you will lose credit for the first section of the exam you passed. A new 18-month period will commence with a start date of the second section that was passed.

Application deadlines have been eliminated, allowing candidates to apply at any time of year. Once an application to sit for the exam is approved, candidates will be notified of the time period in which they may schedule appointments with a test center. We encourage first time candidates to have their academic credentials evaluated in advance of the actual application to sit for the exam. However, you can submit your request for evaluation with the application to test or after eligibility has been established.

The examination is administered in 54 jurisdictions at Prometric test centers or Board operated sites. There are currently eight Prometric test centers in Illinois. Illinois candidates can take the CPA examination in any of the 54 jurisdictions offering the exam - on a space available basis.

The time will vary for each application and will depend on whether you are a first-time applicant or a re-examination applicant. First-time applicants must have educational eligibility determined, so the process will take several weeks. Re-examination applicants will be sent approval from the board office within a short time period, usually within one week after receipt in the Board office.

The launch of the computerized examination was on April 5, 2004.

You apply for the examination as you would now – through the Illinois Board of Examiners. After you have been determined eligible to sit for the examination, the board sends you an approval letter. Your authorization to test is then sent to the National Candidate Database (NCD). Once processed, NASBA sends you a payment coupon. You are required to pay at one time for all parts requested – the payment cannot be spread out. After you pay the examination fees, you receive a Notice to Schedule from the NCD. That Notice to Schedule authorizes you to contact Prometric to schedule a testing appointment(s). The NTS is valid for six months from the date of issue. You will have six months from the date the NTS is issued to schedule and take all examination section(s) for which you have been approved.  Be careful to request on your exam application only those sections you can take in that six month timeframe.

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