The day of your CPA exam is likely to be stressful. Even when you’ve studied hard, test-day jitters happen to everybody. The best way to make sure that your exam runs smoothly is by making sure you are well prepared for the day ahead. 

It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the directions to your Prometric center before the exam. Find out how long your journey will take and make sure you leave home with plenty of time to get there. 

You should plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled exam. This will give you enough time to sign in, go through the security checks, and have your photo and fingerprints taken. If you arrive late, Prometric is obligated to deny you permission to take the test. 

When you arrive you will be required to put all your personal belongings into a locker provided by the Prometric center. The lockers are small, so avoid bringing any belongings that aren’t absolutely necessary. During the 4 hour exam you will have the opportunity to take a break and access your locker. 

On the day of your CPA exam you will need to bring your Notice to Schedule and two forms of valid identification. If you are writing a morning examination, consider packing your bags the night before. You’ll be less likely to forget something important!

What to Bring

Notice To Schedule (NTS)

After paying for you exam, you will receive a notice to schedule (NTS) from NASBA. It will be valid for 6 – 12 months depending on the state, and is required both when you actually book the test date with Prometric, as well as when you go to sit the exam. You will therefore need to print out a copy of your NTS and take it with you when you go to take the exam. Before you leave home, double check that you have packed the correct NTS. Exam takers have been known to grab the NTS from a previous CPA exam – don’t let this be you! The reason why this is necessary is because your ‘examination password’ is written on your NTS. This will let you log into the exam computer at the Prometric.

Two Valid Forms of Identification

When you take the exam, you will need to take to valid forms of identification with you. These must show the exact name as that which appears on your notice to schedule. One of these documents needs to contain a recent photograph. Valid forms of identification in include your national ID, a valid passport, a valid drivers license, alien registration card, a valid U.S. Military ID, an accountancy board-issued identification (if provided by board), a valid credit card or a valid bank card. Not that the following are NOT valid forms of identification: a social security card, a green card, and employee card or ID or a student ID card.

Scratch Paper

There are five minutes between each section and once the clock has started its countdown on you device, you are permitted to take notes. Therefore, it is a good idea to take scratch paper and a pen or pencil with you on which to write down any formulae or information that you are nervous about forgetting during the exam. Although you are provided with the exam version of Microsoft Excel on the Prometric computer, it is better to take your notes on the scratch paper, as the Excel sheet will completely reset with each section.

Personal Belongings 

You know what you’ll need on the day, for example: a water bottle, medication, snacks, a sweater, your cellphone, wallet and keys. Everything you bring must be kept in a locker at the testing center. Note that it is preferable for you to even leave your mobile phone in the car, because if you are caught looking at your phone at any time during the exam or even during you fifteen minute break, you will receive 0% for your exam. You are NOT allowed to bring an outside calculator into the exam, but the Prometric center should provide you with a 10-key calculator upon request. It is a good idea to get their early just in case some are broken. However, if you don’t get one, that’s ok. There is still the calculator on the Prometric computer, as well as the exam version of Microsoft Excel.