Becoming a CPA can often seem convoluted, and registering to take the exam is no different. Luckily, you’re a smart cookie and are exploring your options for registering for the exam. Use this post as a roadmap on your way to taking your first exam.
You need a valid Notice to Schedule (NTS) in order to schedule and sit for all four of your CPA exams. In order to get this NTS, you have to submit an initial application to your State Board of Accountancy.
Keep in mind that your Notice to Schedule is only valid for a certain amount of time. It varies from state to state (check your state’s requirements), but many are only valid for 6 months. That means you should only apply for as many exams as you plan to realistically sit for in that period of time.
Exam Application Tips
Along with an application to take the exam, you’re also going to have to submit other forms that prove you’re eligible to take the exam. For example, all states require that a certain amount of semester hours be met before taking the exam. To confirm you have these hours, you’ll have to send in official college transcripts. Review your application thoroughly and ensure that you’re sending in all of the forms that are required.
Also MAKE SURE that the name on your application directly matches the name on the two forms of ID you’ll provide to the testing center when you sit for the exam. If they don’t match, you may not be able to sit for the exam (and you’ll waste a bunch of money). No good.
Lastly, keep in mind that the approval process and the receipt of your NTS may take some time. I first applied to take my exams in June with the hope that I could take my first one July 1st. Then I heard horror stories about applications taking over two months to be approved! Luckily, that didn’t happen to me and I was able to take my exams when I wanted.
In general, it will take between four to six weeks for your application to get approved. If you’re planning on taking your exams at a certain time, take this lag time into account.
Fees to take the exam vary from state to state. You’ll have to pay fees to your State Board of Accountancy when you submit your application. Once your application is approved, an Authorization to Test (ATT) will be sent to NASBA who will then send you a payment coupon for the fees charged by NASBA, the AICPA and Prometric. I would plan on spending between $900 and $1000 on exam fees. Again, check your State Board of Accountancy’s website for more fee information.
These fees must be paid within 90 days; if they aren’t, your ATT will be cancelled and you’ll have to reapply (and pay again) to take the exams.
Scheduling Your Exam
You’ve sent your application in, you got your NTS, you paid your fees, you’re ready to take the exam. You’re going to go through Prometric to schedule your exam, and you can check out a full post with a roadmap on that process here.