CPA Exam Testing Centers: Open or Closed?

If you’re in the middle of studying for and taking the CPA exam, you’ve probably experienced some frustration over the last few weeks with testing center closures, re-openings, test cancellations and confusing communications from testing centers.  There has never been more uncertainty regarding the CPA exam than there has been in the last few months, but I still maintain that there’s no better time to get started on your CPA journey.  Someone once told me:

“It’s not as important which decision you make, but rather that you make a decision.”

This thought has helped me several times in navigating uncertain situations.  The key is to have a plan to navigate the uncertainty effectively so that you can stay in control, rather than allowing it to be in control of you.  Keep reading for help in making the decision that’s right for you.  Here’s what you need to know:

CPA Testing Centers Are Reopening

This is good news!  Testing centers are slowly reopening across the country and with new procedures and restrictions to ensure the safety of all test takers.   You can get an up-to-date list of testing center opening dates on Prometric’s website, and I’ve included the link below.

Some CPA Exams Have Been Cancelled

Due to the capacity restrictions at testing centers, you may have had an exam be cancelled recently.  Your next step is to reschedule for a future date (keep reading- we address this in more detail below). 

Scheduling Your Exam Could Be Challenging

Depending on where you live and the number of testing centers in your area, you may have a hard time finding an exam date in the next few weeks.  This is due to the backlog of candidates who were unable to test during Prometric’s closure from March- May 1, as well as the number of candidates whose exams have been cancelled to comply with the 50% capacity restriction moving forward.  

This can be SUPER ANNOYING!  Especially if you’re ready to sit for an exam, like, now!  Here are some recommended steps to minimize your downtime and, hopefully, the frustration.

Actions For A Smooth CPA Exam Experience

 1. Schedule Your CPA Exams Out In Advance

I’ve been recommending to my CPA Exam Coaching clients to schedule their exams ASAP.  As I’m writing this, Prometric isn’t charging rescheduling fees so there is little risk to you.  The upside is that you at least have a spot reserved and won’t run the risk of being ready to sit for an exam with no available testing slots.  I’ve recommended that my clients schedule their next 2 exams just to be prepared.  

2. Is Your CPA Exam Date Sensitive?

If you are on a strict timeline (i.e. you have credit expiring or are trying to pass before promotions happen at work), you may be more time sensitive than other candidates.  For example, in order to meet that timeline, you might have to sit for an exam in late June (in the emergency testing window) in order to have enough time to complete your 4th exam by your expiration date.  

If that is the case for you, I recommend a 3-pronged approach:  First, check your local testing center for availability.  Second, expand your search for dates that work with your timeline.  If you’re especially date sensitive, you may have to consider driving further, and maybe even staying overnight to find a testing center with availability.   Third, check back on the scheduling site periodically- candidates will still be rescheduling exams and you never know when an opening might become available.  

3. Is your CPA Exam Location Sensitive? 

If you aren’t on a strict timeline as described above or aren’t willing or able to travel to a testing center, your other option is to be patient while you wait for future openings at your local testing center.  If you don’t want to wait, see the three-pronged approach from #2.   If you choose to wait for a local opening, make the most of your time leading up to that exam.  Make sure that your study approach is thorough and that you’re doing everything you can to pass the exam when your test date comes around.  

You are still in control (sort of!)

This uncertainty and feeling like you’re unable to effectively plan your exams can absolutely be frustrating and can quickly drain your energy, kill your motivation and slow your momentum if you don’t have a strategy for handling it.  Remember, the important part is to decide on the best approach for you (i.e. travel to sit for exams, or wait it out locally, maybe considering studying for multiple exams, etc.), and then stick with that decision.  Flip-flopping or doubting your decision, stressing yourself out about finding new test openings and being frustrated with the situation ultimately isn’t helping you get closer to your goals.  Once you decide, empower that decision.  Focus on controlling the factors that are inside of your control- your studying, your health & wellbeing and your energy to name a few.  Let the rest play out and trust that it will all work out exactly the way it’s supposed to. 

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