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February 5, 2023

Failing the CPA Exam Without Even Taking It

I recently received the following email from a professional who not only passed the exam but helps others to pass as well. This person has some concerns about the "10-minute time out" at the beginning of the testing process at Prometric:

I am sure you have heard about candidates being locked out of the CPA exam.  Or maybe you haven't and the issue is a greater problem in California, which is not a NASBA state. Anyways, I perceive this to be an issue for candidates and I am hoping GC can do a little market research (or you can send me a link to articles on this subject).  

Unless one reads the 43 page Candidate Bulletin and/or listens to every minute of a review course, they might miss this key information:
Once you enter your Launch Code, you must proceed through the subsequent introductory examination screens without delay. There is a 10-minute time limit to read and proceed through the introductory screens and, if the 10-minute time limit is exceeded, the test session will automatically terminate and cannot be restarted. In this case, you must leave the test center, forfeit fees, reapply to test in the next test window, and receive a score of 0.

What this statement doesn't tell you is that there is no 10 minute clock on the computer, no clocks on the wall, and obv the kids aren't wearing a wristwatch, checking their iPhones, or even wearing large hoop earrings for that matter.  Moreover, this information isn't given to the candidate by the Prometric worker nor shown on the computer screen.  If you snooze past 10 minutes, you loose your exam fees and the hours of your life you spent to prepare because your ass ain't taking it again at least until your nil score is released. Why would it take a candidate longer than 10 minutes you may wonder?  Because any person who has a short-term memory like me sat their ass down and wrote down all the shit they just scanned in the lobby, like formulas for ratios.  I get WHY they have the rule; I just don't understand why they aren't more forthcoming with it.

Now, I've heard a few stories of candidates getting locked out because they spent 9 minutes and 59 seconds mind-dumping all the mnenomics they could onto their scratch paper (er, make that "scratch board") but I was under the impression that they at least had, oh I don't know, A CLOCK. Is this for real? No clock on the wall, no clock on the computer and certainly no clock on the candidate's wrist?
Second, when this was brought to NASBA's attention, NASBA said — kind of like the afterlife counselor in Beetlejuice who frustratingly berated her not-too-bright dead clients for not reading the handbook — that candidates should refer to the 48-page Candidate Bulletin. And that's on top of combing the AICPA website top to bottom as well as whatever state-specific candidate handbook exists in non-NASBA states like California. JEEZ. That's a lot of reading.
So, my angry tipster wants to know the following: has this happened to anyone else? I thought it was common knowledge that you only have 10 minutes to get through the intro screens but you're supposed to do it without a clock?! What kind of sick twisted shit is this?

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