Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

CPA Exam Horror Stories: Trapped at Prometric For 6 Hours

Have a CPA exam horror story? We want to hear it. Email us at [email protected] and put "CPA Exam Horror Story" in the subject line.

Imagine, for a moment, being trapped in Prometric. Let me set the scenario: you're taking the CPA exam. First, you arrive at your test center early after circling endlessly for a parking spot and finally find a sign on the door that the location has moved. The new location is across town. Fine, you get there (early!), sit down and start taking your exam. Twenty minutes in, the dreaded gray green of death! What do you do? Well you wait, right?

What happens when you wait… and wait… and wait… and are essentially trapped in Prometric for hours without a cell phone or your notes? How on Earth are you supposed to take the exam at that point? This candidate tried:

So get ready for my story! I don’t think anyone else will beat this:

My test was scheduled for 12:30pm, but I decided to go in early because I was tired of studying. It took me a good 15-20 minutes to find a parking spot (the test center was downtown – all parking is meter or 2 hours only zones, so had to go into the residential area). I got to the test center by 11, and it was EMPTY! There was a sign on the door saying they moved to the other side of town

I get to the new test center and they let me take my test early. After 20 minutes, I got the gray screen of death!!!! Apparently their system froze and they were on the phone with IT for 1.5 hours trying to solve the problem, but we ended up getting 2 choices: 1) wait for them to figure out the problem and troubleshoot the issue (approximate time- another 1 to 2 hours), or 2) Leave and reschedule, but you’ll lose whatever you did during the test. Since I started the exam already, I decided to wait. The grand total wait time……. 6 HOURS!!!!! We weren’t allowed to use our phones, leave the test center or leave to get food. If we needed to make a call, we had to use their phone and they watched you use the phone. If you wanted something to eat, they had to get it for you. And no studying while we waited. Just dandy! After 6 hours, they fixed the problem and started to call people back in to finish their exams. Of course, my test didn’t launch, nor did 2 other people’s exams. After another 20 minutes or so, they tell us that according to IT, our test packages were “corrupt” and everything is lost. One girl was taking her architecture exam, and had done 3 out of the 4 hours of her test… everything was gone!!! Now I have to reschedule, how exciting huh?

Alright. So. The upside: They fed you. It would have been truly barbaric had they starved you for 6 hours and you were forced to chew your arm off at your terminal. The other upside: you didn't have to take your exam. I know it sucks you lost 20 minutes but be grateful you weren't the architecture chick, she must be broken right about now.

The not studying part sucks but I can get why they didn't allow you to. That doesn't make it okay (I can't believe you stuck it out – MAJOR props are due to you for that). I think in the end you will be fortunate that your packages were corrupt or whatever they tried to tell you, you didn't need that stress. Seriously… you sat hostage in Prometric for 6 hours, where are your mental notes at that point?!

My question to Prometric is this: is this the best contingency plan you have? You have candidates taking not only the CPA exam but other professional exams captive in your testing center for 6 hours while you figure out whatever it is that's wrong with your computers? After making this candidate drive across town to another test center in the first place?

I have a lot of patience for errors and human mistakes but this is pretty bad.

If you look at Prometric's actual financial data, there is absolutely no reason they shouldn't be sinking some money into their own IT infrastructure. So what gives?