While the computerization of the CPA exam makes it more convenient to actually take the exam, registration and scheduling are still complex and require some strategy. For CPA candidates to take full advantage of the testing windows, they must completely understand the registration and scheduling system.
A “window” is a block of time during which candidates can sit for the exam. There are four windows every year; each window is the first two months of each calendar quarter (January/February, April/May, July/August, and October/November. In other words, testing is closed during March, June, September, and December. No candidate will be allowed to take the same section more than once during any given testing window. Keep in mind that credit for passed sections is retained for only 18 months; i.e., a candidate must pass all four sections within an 18-month period.
The best scheduling strategy is to stagger each exam section with equal time between each testing appointment. Allow 90-100 hours of preparation time for each section. For example, if you want to start preparing for the exam in February and complete the exam by August, you would schedule your exam sections as follows: one in early April, one in mid-May, one in early July, and one at the end of August. You would have about six weeks to prepare for each section individually, thereby maximizing your chances for success.
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