The 2017 CPA Exam changes are going into effect Q2 of next year. If you’re a current college student who’s about to graduate within the next 6 months, you may be able to take the exam now and pass before the changes take place. Here’s how.
Most states require candidates to have at least 150 credit hours to be eligible to sit for the CPA Exam.
In other words, candidates have to wait until they have completed all of the necessary educational requirements. For many, this means applying for the CPA Exam only after they have graduated and finished classes to fulfill the extra credit hours. However, if you’re in a provisionary state, this doesn’t have to be the case!
In certain states, you can sit for the CPA Exam before meeting the educational requirements
These states, known as provisionary states, are states that give CPA Exam candidates a provisionary period to sit for the exam before they have officially completed meeting the educational requirements. For example, North Dakota has a provisionary period of 180 days, or 6 months. So if you’re due to meet the 150 credit hours and graduate in June 2016, you can actually sit for the Exam now! You simply go to the provisionary state’s Board of Accountancy website and fill out the proper paperwork.
There is, however, one small catch.
You won’t be able to receive your scores for the section(s) that you tested for until you have fulfilled the educational requirements. If we were to follow our previous example, this means that you will not find out whether you passed the section(s) you took until you have graduated in June 2016. But do not let this deter you from considering taking the exam early. Here’s why.
Avoid the 2017 CPA Exam Changes
Get a head start so that you can either be done with the CPA Exam before Q2 of next year, or so you can avoid as much of the 2017 CPA Exam changes as possible. The strategy here is to sit for the sections of the exam that will have the biggest changes in 2017 first (BEC and REG). That way, if you do have to test past Q1 of 2017, the remaining sections you have to take will be the ones least impacted by the changes (AUD and FAR). For more information on this strategy, see our blog, How Will the 2017 CPA Exam Affect You?
So even if you don’t know your scores until your graduation date, taking a section or two of the exam early will benefit you tremendously. If you find out that you passed those sections, great! If not, you will have a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses and that’s a great advantage as a second-time test taker. The earlier you get started on your CPA Exam journey, the better—especially if you want to bypass the 2017 changes.
Here is a list of the provisionary states and the days allotted for each
|North Dakota||180 days|
|South Dakota||100 days|
|New York||Anytime -- 120 credit hours must be complete|