Back in September, we informed everyone who isn’t a regular reader of NASBA state board reports (so, everyone then) that The Powers That Be were seriously considering remote testing for the CPA exam, mostly because what we all thought would be a couple weeks at home in March 2020 turned into … well … you know. It’s important to keep in mind that the discussion at that time revolved around one key element: “a backup plan should testing centers be unable to reopen at some future time.” The only reason they were talking about it was because they weren’t sure if things were going to get worse, and if they did take a turn, they wanted an alternative in case Prometric shut down its entire network of testing centers like they did in the U.S. around this time last year.
By February of this year, we found that NASBA still very much has remote testing on the mind, albeit mostly just to hand-wring over the many complications that could arise from such an undertaking. While they work that out, we thought it might be worthwhile to share with you news that future Certified Financial Planners, their benevolent overlords, and Prometric have already worked all of this remote testing stuff out.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) announced that its next CFP® exam will be held July 6-13, 2021. CFP Board will offer any candidate the option to take the CFP® exam either in person at a traditional brick-and-mortar Prometric test center or through a remote proctoring option for both its July 2021 and its November 2021 exam testing windows.
“CFP Board remains focused on the health and safety of candidates who wish to take the CFP® exam,” said CFP Board Chief Executive Officer Kevin R. Keller, CAE. “Through 2021, the CFP® exam will be presented on two modalities. The remote proctoring option will be available for any candidate who wishes to choose the option, regardless of the location or distance from the test center, as long as they meet the specific technology requirements.”
For anyone interested, you can find the specific technology requirements from Prometric here [PDF].
In September of last year, the CFP Board offered remote testing “out of an abundance of caution related to the COVID-19 pandemic;” however, only certain candidates were eligible, including those who would have to travel more than 50 miles to their nearest Prometric testing center. They did it again in March with the same conditions, and 7% of the 2,686 candidates who sat for the CFP exam in March did so remotely.
Note remote testing isn’t at all like work-from-home, so don’t expect to spend your exam jerking it to increasingly depraved Internet porn [SFW] like we know some of you do during billable hours. The ProProctor process includes a “Readiness Agent” who will check your workspace and your person to ensure you aren’t wearing a T-shirt with all the answers on it, making it on par with the pre-exam process at a physical Prometric location minus providing a 360-degree view of your domicile. The same restrictions you’d have at a testing center are in place (no puff coats with luxurious fake fur hoods, hats, food, purses, etc.), and virtual scratch paper is provided as you are not allowed to take notes IRL.
As lockdown restrictions ease and vaccinations increase, it will be interesting to see if this option remains for those who choose to take advantage of it. We’re eager to hear how many CFP candidates decide to go this route now that it’s been opened up to all of them. We’ll keep you updated.