Last week I wrote about the current Prometric mask rule as of May 2022 which in essence says you don’t have to wear a mask at the testing center but you can if you want to. This distinction is important as Prometric has always been a bit of the TSA on steroids when it comes to prohibited items — if they wanted to they could certainly ban masks in the testing center altogether like they do practically everything else.
Anyway, that article got me thinking about prohibited items at the CPA exam so I did a little digging. The full — but not exhaustive — list of prohibited items at Prometric is contained in the candidate bulletin which anyone taking the CPA exam should read thoroughly, so go give it a look if you haven’t already (linked PDF current as of April 2022; if you’re reading this in the future, first of all hi, and second you may want to check for a more current one). While hunting down the list I came across a 2017 PDF hosted by NASBA. Don’t Be That Exam Candidate, the PDF warns, which could be taken a multitude of ways: that candidate who forgets their NTS? That candidate who tries to use an expired Costco card as a valid form of ID? That candidate who sneaks in a bandanna as a Kleenex, both of which are not allowed? It could be anything! I demand to know more!
Turns out it’s about misconduct, which incidentally is just about my favorite thing in the world. This should be good.
Over the years I’ve heard plenty of stories about CPA exam candidate misconduct. One of my hobbies back in the day was combing through state board of accountancy publications about all the naughty things CPAs had done (look, I live a boring life, OK?). The one that immediately comes to mind is the guy in California who cheated on the open book ethics exam. Like, why? He wasn’t barred from the profession forever though, he had to retake the ethics exam in the presence of a licensed CPA approved by the California Board of Accountancy (so not just any CPA off the street), and once he passed he would be issued a CPA license only for it to be revoked so the CBA could put him on probation for five years. You know, the same thing happened to me when I was 14 and got caught driving my friend’s moped, the driver’s license I didn’t even have got taken away. There was also an issue with this guy getting drunk, locking himself in his room, and telling the cops he wired the door with explosives that he failed to report to the CBA, but it didn’t happen at Prometric so let’s just put that aside and focus on the topic at hand.
The list I found details a few specific incidents of candidate misconduct and you’ll note a good number of them fall under “abusive conduct.” So those of you who have anger problems and probably scream the gamer word at 12-year-olds in MMOs might want to take note: being a jackass to Prometric staff is a big no-no. Here are just a few examples that were reported to boards of accountancy by test center staff:
- Candidate arrived 45 minutes late for the exam and was told he could not test. Candidate became belligerent and exhibited rude and unprofessional behavior (Disruptive and Rude Conduct).
- Candidate was checking in and was told his ID was expired. Because he was unable to provide another acceptable form of identification, he was told he could not test. Candidate became verbally abusive and used vulgar language with the test center staff (Disruptive and Abusive Conduct).
- During the routine search conducted during check-in, notes were found taped to the candidate’s leg inside his socks (Prohibited Item and Conduct).
- Candidate took a break, went to her locker, retrieved her cellphone, and made/received a call (Prohibited Conduct).
- Candidate decided to take a break, and when he was asked to sign his correct name on the sign-out sheet, he used vulgar language and was verbally abusive to the test center staff (Disruptive and Abusive Conduct).
- Candidate took a break, went to his locker, removed review course notes, and began reading them (Prohibited Conduct).
- Candidate concealed exam review notes in the waistband of her pants. She pulled them out and starting reading them (Prohibited Item and Conduct).
- When a candidate returned from break, the test center staff noticed a black object under her shirt collar; it was a Bluetooth device (Prohibited Item).
- Candidate began waving his scratch paper in the testing room and complaining that an item was missing on his exam. Test center staff attempted to speak with him, but he continued to speak loudly, disrupting the testing room (Disruptive and Abusive Conduct).
Man I’d pay good money to see the test center surveillance footage of some of these. Especially that last one.
Misconduct can get you anything from a warning to invalidation of exam scores and even civil or criminal charges. So just don’t do it, OK? Take your anger out on strangers on the internet and your Overwatch teammates like the civilized professional you are.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio