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CPA Exam Stumper: When Does the 18 Month Window Actually Start?

I want to be clear with you guys that though it may feel like I pull most of my CPA exam advice out of my ass, there are usually reasons behind whatever I suggest, and the methods are proven. Despite me never having personally proven them myself (no need).

Sometimes, there are questions I don’t have the answer to. Maybe I could Google this but as anyone who has ever tried to Google CPA exam information ever can tell you, it isn’t always easy to aggregate the answers in a singular place in a way that makes sense to an average human being. Forget about decoding the psychometric scoring system, it’s enough to try and understand why your ths hard as your first two.

So for once, I need you guys to answer this for me. You have NTSs, you have 18-month windows closing in on your asses and you are all around the country so the results should be fairly varied across the jurisdictions.

Here’s the question (via the CPAnet forums):

Can someone please help me?

There is so much conflicting information about the starting date of the 18 month testing window.

I passed AUDIT on May 3rd.2010. Conclusion after reading many blogs is I can take my last section by the End OF November 2011.


18 MONTHS WILL BE November 3rd but it rounds to the end of the month.

Please confirm as soon as possible… Thank you so much for your help.

Now, here comes the obligatory procrastination rant. Why the fuck are you waiting until October 27, 2011 (as per the timestamp on the CPAnet post) to ask this question when you had a full 16 months or so to figure this out? Even if you got your Audit score at the last date possible, you still had at least a year and a handful of months to gather this intel. Also, even if you have until the end of the month instead of the 3rd, you’d really be doing yourself a disservice by waiting until the very last day possible. Why? Things happen. Prometric closes on you and leaves a note. You get the stomach flu. Your girlfriend starts hassling you about your relationship the night before and you oversleep your appointment the next morning.

Now, all of this is moot, it being December 6th. Whether this guy had until the 3rd or the 30th, it’s passed. But maybe there are a few of you out there scrambling for this information a week before your 18 month window closes who this will be useful for a month or 6 or 12 from now.

As far as I’m aware, the 18 months means you have 18 months from the date you sit for and pass your first part. That means exactly 18 months from the day you sat for the first exam part that you passed, regardless of the date you received your score (hopefully this is better with the AICPA’s scoring improvements – those of you rolling over into your second 18 month window know how excruciating it used to be). I have heard that in some states it is the last testing day of the month in which your 18 month window ends, regardless of day of the month but as we know, “hearing” something is not reliable enough to use to actually pass the exam.

According to these folks on the Another71 forum, it can vary wildly from state to state. One candidate claims an expiration date from the approximate date scores were received while another says they received exactly 18 months from the date they sat for the first passed exam.

Which is it? I have no idea and I’m fine admitting that. Help me?