Author: Adam Herjeczki, Manager, Testing Accommodations/ ADA Compliance
Posted: Jan. 31, 2023

Testing Accommodations are available on the Uniform CPA Examination to qualifying individuals. To ensure equal opportunity for all qualified persons, CPA Examination Services (CPAES) will make reasonable accommodations for applicants with disabilities. Please be advised that there are limited, or no accommodations provided at testing locations outside of the United States and its territories.

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding Testing Accommodations, how to submit a request, and what’s allowed. CPAES complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, including changes made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) and related regulations.

Are accommodations made on the CPA Exam for candidates with disabilities? How do I apply for accommodations?

NASBA provides testing accommodations to qualifying candidates in accordance with the ADA. For most jurisdictions, candidates request accommodations using the CPAES Testing Accommodation Request Form, at the time of application. For some jurisdictions, the Board of Accountancy handles application processing, and candidates submit their request for accommodations directly to the board. 

Do I have to request accommodations when I apply for the Exam, or can I submit a request after I received my NTS?

Candidates are encouraged to request accommodations at the time of application. This helps ensure that accommodations are approved in time for your Exam and are already showing in the system when you contact Prometric to schedule your Exam date.

Can I take an Exam section without accommodations, and then later decide to submit a request for accommodations?

Yes, it is possible to request accommodations after completing one or more sections of the Exam without accommodations. 

What kind of accommodations are typically approved? Is there a list?

Typical accommodations are minor adjustments to the testing area and how the Exam is given.  Examples would be testing in a secluded environment, use of noise cancelling headphones, additional breaks or breaks that pause the Exam clock. Additional time may be provided in various increments.

We are happy to answer specific questions and provide additional information by email or phone.  There is no exhaustive list of what accommodations can be approved.

Do I have to submit medical documentation or is proof that I previously had testing accommodations sufficient? What if I do not want to disclose medical information to NASBA or my Board of Accountancy?

Yes, medical documentation is part of the required supporting documentation. If you have recently been approved for Testing Accommodations, either at the college level or on another high-stakes exam, you should submit evidence of that as well.

To qualify for Testing Accommodations under the ADA, candidates must disclose a disability or medical condition to NASBA and submit detailed documentation of the condition along with the request. Your request for accommodation will not be approved without the required medical documentation or evidence of a disability.

If I submit my request by mail, how long is it going to take to get approved? 

This will vary depending on whether NASBA is processing your request, or a Board of Accountancy.  Four to six weeks is typical for a mailed-in request. The response to your request will typically be a letter, sent by email or mail. NASBA notifies candidates of the accommodation’s decision by email.

Do you accept electronic copies of the Testing Accommodations Request? Can I send an encrypted email or set up a shared folder through Google Drive?

NASBA accepts electronic submissions by fax, email, encrypted email, and through file sharing platforms. If you would like to share a Google Drive folder, send a share request to [email protected].  We will access your files and confirm receipt within 48 hours. Because email is not a secure method of communication, we do not recommend sending sensitive information by non-encrypted email.  If you decide to submit your paperwork by email, send PDF copies to [email protected]. If sending a password protected file by email, please make sure to send the password in a separate email. File size for PDFs should not exceed 5 mb.  

How much extended time is typically approved?

The most approved time extension is time and a quarter (25% additional time) and time and a half (50% additional time). 

Do you provide breaks that pause the Exam clock? Is there a way for me to take frequent breaks? I may need to use the restroom multiple times during the 4-hour Exam.

Additional breaks can be approved as an accommodation, as well as breaks that pause the Exam clock. If you need to take frequent breaks during the Exam to use the restroom, make sure to indicate that in your request.

Can I use my breast pump during the Exam? I am a nursing mother and already have an Exam date scheduled for next month.

Access to a breast pump is permitted during breaks. It is best to submit a Testing Accommodations request, so that Prometric knows in advance that you will be using a breast pump and they can secure a quiet, secluded place. You may also be approved for breaks that pause the Exam clock (if this is requested in advance).

Can I take the Exam in a paper format? In college, I was allowed to take tests in an alternate format.

The Exam is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT), and as such, is only given in the computer-based format.  

I am deaf and will need assistance communicating with the testing center staff. Can I bring my own interpreter?

Sign Language Interpreter assistance may be requested as a Testing Accommodation, and if approved, an interpreter will be assigned for your Exam to assist with general communication. All visitors and assistive personnel must be authorized in advance by Prometric, NASBA or your Board of Accountancy. Candidates may not make their own arrangements for Sign Language Interpreter services.

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