Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Provisional CPA Exam Candidate From Illinois Is Just Now Realizing What “Provisional” Means

I can’t believe it but finally, a CPA exam question I’ve never answered before. I have a feeling our confused candidate already knows the answer but is reaching out in hopes that we’ll tell him what he wants to hear instead of the cold, hard truth. Sorry in advance, bro.

Hello GC,

I just took the FAR section of my CPA exam, I did this while completing my final 9 hours of the 150 hours needed. Therefore, I am considered a provision candidate. From what I have read Illinois will not inform me of my score (is this some sort of sick joke), since I am a provisional student, until my final transcripts are turned into them. The earliest that I will have my final transcripts will be January 2nd. This presents a problem because I was planning on retaking the test if I failed, before I start full time at a big 4 firm on January 3rd. Is there a way around this? What should I do? Should I just enjoy my month break and worry about taking it again after busy season if I did fail? Should I study up again while the information is still fresh?

Also I did fell very prepared taking the test and I would say I am fairly confident that I passed the exam. But who knows until I see the official score.



I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Confused, but you’re not only confused, you’re screwed on top of it.

According to the Illinois Board of Examiners, provisional candidates have 120 days from the date they take their exam to submit their final transcript to the board. If you miss the 120-day deadline, your exam scores will be voided and you will be ineligible to sit for any sections of the exam until the final transcript is received and you are determined eligible to test. Until your Provisional Status is cleared, you cannot view or receive any exam scores.

What this means to you is that there is nothing you can do until you have those transcripts. I commend you for trying to get a jump on your CPA exam adventure this early in the game but you may have ended up screwing yourself. If you fail, you may have to start studying for that section again from scratch as you’ll likely have forgotten quite a bit by the time you find out you failed. If you pass, your 18 months has started ticking but you’ve lost time waiting around to wrap up school.

And yes, if you failed, wait until you are able to study to attempt again since you don’t have an 18 month window to worry about. No reason running yourself into the ground if you don’t have to.

What’s the lesson to be learned here? Always make reality part of your plan; unless you knew of a trick around this going into it, it was unrealistic to make a plan that you couldn’t actually implement.

Sorry but them’s the breaks.