CPA Exam Diary 2011 Archives

Fall 2011

Test Day Arrives
By Beth Attebery
The day has finally arrived. As I write this, I take my first section of the CPA Exam this week. In the midst of my final preparations for the exam (flashcards, practice tests, review notes, repeat), I realized that there is a whole set of policies and procedures that I need to review and follow simply to be admitted to take the test!

First: What to bring? The NASBA website states that you must bring your Notice to Schedule, along with two forms of identification (the Candidate Bulletin outlines forms of acceptable primary and secondary IDs).

Second: What not to bring. The list of items not allowed in the testing center includes just about everything. No watches, no pencil, no PDA, no calculator, no purse, no eraser, no large earrings (interesting), no food and/or beverages and the list goes on. The items you are likely to need (pencils, calculators and scratch paper) will be provided by the testing center, as will a locker for any impermissible items that you may have with you. The NASBA site also states that you should be prepared to have your picture taken and be fingerprinted. I presume that it is because of these procedures that exam applicants are required to arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled exam time. Exam entrance feels like airport security.

Well, enough talking about it—back to the books. Every second counts; wish me luck!
Beth Attebery is a tax manager at Henry C. Levy & Co., CPAs & Consultants.

Summer 2011

Go TIme
By Beth Attebery
After seven weeks of waiting, I finally received approval to sit for the CPA Exam.

Once you’re approved to sit for the exam, it’s go time. You must log in to your California Board of Accountancy account and select the test sections you wish to take. Then the CBA notifies the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and sends you a payment coupon. Only after NASBA receives the fee(s) for all of the selected sections will you be permitted to schedule your exam. NASBA will send you a Notice to Schedule that you will use this to schedule an exam date. To schedule, you must work with another agency: Prometric. The Prometric website is user friendly and provides calendars of locations and sections where each exam section is offered. I recommend familiarizing yourself with these sites.

During this time you should also be planning how you will prepare for the exam. If you take a review course (available live, online or self study), you will need to coordinate your test dates with your review schedule—especially if you plan to take a live course. All of the major vendors—including Becker, Gleim, Roger and Kaplan—have sections on their websites that help you navigate all the steps required to successfully apply, schedule and study for the exam. As for what review course is best and in what order you should take the exam? There are many schools of thought out there. Your Google research is as good as mine.
Beth Attebery is a tax manager at Henry C. Levy & Co., CPAs & Consultants.

Spring 2011

First Steps
By Beth Attebery
A few weeks ago, I began the arduous process of applying for the CPA Exam. I think the application process is meant to prepare you for a career of interacting with the Internal Revenue Service.

There is a 25-page handbook that I recommend printing from the CBA’s website. The handbook does a decent job of outlining the steps you need to follow in order to successfully apply. You need to be prepared to submit official school transcripts directly from all relevant educational institutions to the CBA.

Once the transcripts have been submitted, the next initial steps are easy. You will create an account on the website, complete the application and remit payment of $100 (for first-time applicants). Once these initial steps have been completed, the CBA will assign you a Unique Identifier number. This number will follow you as you take the Exam. Another important point (that is re-iterated multiple times in the application process) is that the spelling of your name on the application must exactly match the identification that you will present at the testing center. If your ID will be your driver’s license, for example, you should complete the application spelling your name exactly as it appears on your license.

I completed the first five steps in the handbook in about an hour. About a week later, I checked the website and found that my payment had been processed, I’d been assigned a Unique Identifier Number and my application was in process. The handbook and website say that they will email you at certain points throughout the process. I have found that information is posted to your account on their website before they send you emails. If you want to move through the process as quickly as possible, monitor the website, not your email.
Beth Attebery is a tax manager at Henry C. Levy & Co., CPAs & Consultants.