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I talk about CPA testing windows on various pages in this site, but I thought it would be nice to have a quick post to explain how it works:
Here is the text version from your reference.
The good news is that in terms of when you can take the exam, it is very flexible. Candidates have been allowed to take the exam anytime during the first two months of each quarter.
In other words, the CPA testing windows are:
An extension of the CPA Exam testing windows went into effect in April 2016. At this time, end of the testing windows was pushed back 10 days into the CPA blackout months to meet the demand of increasing candidate numbers.
With 4 testing windows each year, that means the time allowed to take the exam each year is 40 days longer!
Candidates can pick any time within the CPA test windows to take the exam. You must take your exam at a Prometric testing center. Opening hours are Monday to Friday, and sometimes Monday to Saturday for some sites.
You may take one or more exam parts in each testing window as long as you do not take the same part more than once.
Once you start your CPA journey, you should mark down the day you pass the first part of your exam. This is because the 18-month deadline will start to tick.
Please note that it only starts to count once you PASS the first part, not when you TAKE the first part. For example, you are taking FAR in Jan 2019 and REG in Feb 2019. You find out later that you failed FAR and passed REG. The 18-month starts to count in February 2019, and you will have to complete all 4 parts by August 2020.
I notice that many candidates choose to schedule the exam at the end of the testing window (end of February, May, August, November). There are two disadvantages:
If possible, try scheduling the exam at the beginning or middle of the window so you have the flexibility to postpone it without paying an extra fee and extra waiting during the blackout month.
Readers often wonder which part they should take first. There are two schools of thought — one is to take the toughest one first and get rid of that early on; the other is to take the easier one so you can build up your confidence.
I personally prefer the first option but it really depends on your own style. Another common way is to go for the one you are most familiar with first (no matter whether that’s the easier or harder one). This works great for a lot of my readers as well.
To give you an example, Travis and Sumit have different views on how they plan the exam sections:
Status: passed all parts
AUD -> REG -> FAR -> BEC
(In retrospect he would have taken FAR first)
Status: just started
AUD -> BEC -> REG -> FAR
(See why he takes FAR last)
If you like this post and would like to learn more about the CPA exam, check out my mini-course which is completely free. I have two versions designed for candidates with different background:
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(Those with US degrees, or
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(Those who study abroad, or
graduate/live/work outside of the US)
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites
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