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Here’s What to Do If Inclement Weather Ruins Your CPA Exam Test Date

Dog in snow

As some of you know, I called California home for many years. Not the sunny, smoggy, ridiculously beautiful people part, the other one with aggressive bums, wine, and streets flowing with human shit. San Francisco is without a doubt one of the greatest cities in the world, but I have to admit I don’t miss the 30+ degree weather changes from one side of town to the other nor the six-month-long rainy season. One thing SF has going for it, depending on how you look at it, is that “weather” is almost never an excuse to shut the city down. Unlike the East Coast, people don’t clear grocery shelves of milk, bread, toilet paper, and chicken breast at the slightest hint of bad weather. (Wtf is with that shit anyway, Maryland? Who wants a bunch of raw chicken in the fridge when the power goes out in a blizzard?!) Nah, San Franciscans just suck it up and go about their lives come rain, shine, or flood of human excrement.

I’m not saying San Franciscans are heartier than East Coasters, I’m just saying their weather is less extreme. So what about folks who live in those charming areas such as the one I currently call home who can expect at least one bad snow day each winter?

For CPA exam candidates, you have two choices: don’t schedule exams during winter or be slightly more rational and simply prepare for the “just in case of bad winter weather.” Lucky for the latter camp, NASBA has pretty specific instructions on what to do if your testing day is hit by a winter storm.

The first thing you should know is that Prometric’s Outbound Team will reach out to affected candidates in the event of a testing site closure. Now, we did have that one guy many years ago who swore up and down that Prometric never notified him when he showed up to take the exam with three days left in the testing window only to find a note on the door that it was closed. Prometric insists they did, in fact, try to contact every affected candidate and we have no reason to believe they lied. Emails get lost in the abyss, ya know. That single instance aside, we haven’t heard any complaints about Prometric’s system for alerting candidates, which says something considering how long we’ve been doing this and how much candidates like to complain.

CPA exam candidates can also check Prometric’s site for up-to-date testing center closures.

The deal is this: If a testing center is open, they expect you to try and get there. We can safely assume that future CPAs of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and other barren winter wastelands are pretty comfortable heading out onto the roads in a bit of snow, but if you’re not one of the lucky ones who learned to drive in the white stuff (I’m surrounded by them in Virginia, lemme tell you) and don’t feel safe hitting the road, then it’s up to you to contact NASBA at [email protected]. You’ll need to give them the following information:

  • Candidate’s name as it appears on the NTS
  • Name of section and section ID number printed on the NTS
  • Appointment date
  • Test center location
  • A detailed outline of the circumstances that prevented attending the appointment
  • Documentation of the weather conditions in the affected area (attach a weather report or travel advisory)
  • Current NTS expiration date

Ultimately, your well-being is way more important than a test you can reschedule, so if it’s really bad just stay inside under a blankie. But assume that if stores are open and zombies aren’t roaming the streets in search of milk and bread, you’re probably still on the hook to test even in a bit of snow.