Here’s Everything You Need to Know About How Coronavirus Might Affect CPA Exam Testing

Earlier today Bramwell and I were shooting the shit in Slack and both of us wondered why they haven’t just postponed CPA exam testing altogether until this whole coronavirus thing blows over. I mean, I don’t even want to think about the cooties that live at Prometric during normal times, much less during a global pandemic rapidly making its way across the United States. *shudder*

But whatever, life must go on I guess. I mean, can you imagine what would happen if they canceled testing? A scene much like this PlayStation 2 classic comes to mind:

Anyhoo, I thought now would be a good time to put together a few things we’ve got so far on how TPTB are monitoring the situation, addressing the possibilities, and taking action to keep future CPAs from getting sick. Let’s start with Prometric.

Prometric announced yesterday that every testing center in China will remain closed until March 15, and testing centers in Bahrain and Italy until March 10. Candidates affected by the closures will be contacted individually for rescheduling.

Additionally, Prometric said their Incident Management Team is monitoring the situation, meaning more closures could be on the way. Candidates are strongly advised to regularly check back to ensure their testing center is not affected by any closures, which you can do on this page.

It goes without saying if you are ill you should reschedule your exam, but what if you’ve just got a mild case of the sniffles and insist on toughing it out? Well, your testing center should provide tissues, your own are not permitted. As for hand sanitizer, the rules don’t specifically mention it, but we’re going to go ahead and assume it is not allowed in the testing center given their no drink/no food/no hat policy. We can also assume protective masks are definitely a no-no but you never know. If anyone tries to wear one, let us know what happens.

Jokes about cleanliness or lack thereof at testing centers aside, we came across these helpful tips for staying safe from cooties at Prometric on Another 71:

Don’t put your hands in your mouth while you’re testing. Don’t lick the mouse or keyboard. Don’t kiss the prometric staff to celebrate being done. Wash your hands during break before you snack and after you finish before you leave the center. If you’re stressed, ask if they have a clorox wipe that you can use on the desk and mouse when you’re being seated. Now go study for your exam.

Wise words. Has anyone actually tried to make out with the Prometric proctor? I’m sure we would have heard about it if they had.

Moving on, Gleim reports that NASBA is allowing Notice to Schedule extensions for candidates affected by travel restrictions.

NASBA has announced that candidates who are unable to travel to their CPA Exam testing site because of the travel restrictions imposed due to the Coronavirus are eligible to receive an extension to their Notice to Schedule. NASBA and Boards of Accountancy will treat each request on an individual basis.

So far, we haven’t seen anything from NASBA about accommodations for domestic candidates; we’ll update if there’s any announcement. As it stands, the official NASBA policy is that “there is no provision for withdrawing from the examination and/or requesting an extension of your current NTS. Application and/or examination fees are not refundable. If you have an extreme circumstance (such as military deployment or medical emergency), you may apply for an NTS extension or a partial refund of your examination fees under specific circumstances.” You can read more about the Exception to Policy here [PDF].

Meanwhile, in his February 2020 President’s Memo, NASBA President and CEO Ken L. Bishop writes:

Obviously, the threats resulting from the coronavirus are impacting us all. No matter how many assurances we hear regarding the danger in the US, we all need to remain vigilant. NASBA has staff and volunteers who travel to impacted countries and, with our testing center in Guam, we have visitors from across the Asian Pacific area including China. The health and safety of our NASBA staff in Guam, as well as the many Uniform CPA Examination candidates from throughout the region, are primary concerns as we consider how we respond to the threat. The restrictions on international travel in response to the coronavirus also have an economic and logistical impact, as NASBA and State Boards deal with affected candidates and their requests for flexibility of scheduling and eligibility.

So that’s all we know so far. We’ll keep an eye out and update accordingly as new information becomes available.

p.s. WASH YO FILTHY HANDS. Oh and sterilize your phone, do you have any idea how gross our phones are? You know what you do with yours.

Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.

Related articles