CPA Exam Info – Semester 1 2020


There are a lot of questions…here are some answers with some reasoning / logic behind the rules & requirements, to help it make more sense.

Based on the questions asked in the exam prep webinar and via email/Facebook, here are the responses:

Can I take a toilet break? No. (reason – this would lead to exam security concerns because you could pick up your phone, use google, send an email, cheat).

Can I wear ear plugs? No. (reason – they look like ‘ear buds’ which leads to exam security concerns – e.g. being given information from someone).

Will Guided Learning really shut on 6 May at 5:30pm? Yes.

We know this is a big item for many people. (Reason – you get to Guided Learning via MYOL, and the exams use the same MYOL portal, so to minimise any risk of a load-based outage or anything else, Guided Learning is being turned off. You won’t be able to log-in directly to our site either).

I have an iMac with an inbuilt camera and it’s really heavy. Do I still have to pan the room? Yes (reason – Exam security. If you can’t pan the room, you will need to find another web-cam that can do this. Otherwise you don’t meet the exam rules, and you will be very disappointed).

I have a room that is not enclosed. Is this OK? it needs to be private / enclosed. (Reason – exam security concerns.). It is probably inconvenient but using a bedroom for 2 hours, even if you have to push your bed up on its side, is better than waiting until October to get the exam over with). If you are stuck in a ‘studio’ style apartment that is small and mostly enclosed – contact CPA Australia to confirm its suitability:

What happens if my internet drops out or the power goes off? If you log back into to your exam via MYOL it will still appear. The timer will continue while you have powered off. So, hopefully this is resolved very quickly. If it lasts a long time you will need to call the CPA Australia Exam Phone Number (you will be given this on your Exam screen). (Yes – you are allowed to walk out of the exam room to get your phone and call CPA if this occurs. Depending on the issue, you will be guided through what steps happen next.)

What happens if I have issues with my computer and I have not done a practice exam or system test before Exam day? You will experience very little sympathy if you haven’t followed the instructions and then get issues. Things like having pop-up blockers, the wrong browser, the wrong webcam etc are not valid excuses. (If you have done all these things and hit a new issue, the CPA Australia tech support team will work with you to sort it out).

What is the last day to defer? Wednesday 6 May.

What if I don’t meet the criteria – for reliable internet, for an enclosed space, for a webcam that can pan the room, no privacy? You will need to defer. (Reason – CPA have worked hard to provide an opportunity for as many students as possible to sit the exam, but they have to have a clear set of guidelines that everyone follows for both fairness and to ensure the integrity of the exam process.

What if I am pregnant or have some other special condition? Apply directly to CPA Australia for an approved reasonable adjustment. They will help you figure something out. You need to do this by Friday 1 May 2020. Candidates must submit their request and supporting medical documentation via email to

Remember: Go here to find out the published CPA Australia guidance:

April 30, 2020

30 responses on "CPA Exam Info - Semester 1 2020"

  1. The CPA guidelines do not dictate that you require a webcam that you can “pan the room”. Please advise? I have an inbuilt webcam however as it is inbuilt into my laptop I doubt it can “pan the room”

    • Hi Nadia,
      You will need to pan the room as part of the security check. You can see the instructions on how to do this in the Practice Exam area of Guided Learning – we have copied the online exam so you can test out your Webcam settings and following the instructions.

      With a laptop you can just lift it up carefully and move it around to show the room.
      Regards, Courtney

  2. Will there be less questions in the exam compared to 3-hour ones?

  3. Hi, Courtney,
    For earplugs (I don’t know how many types of earplugs available in the market, but mine is disposable, soft material), is it possible to firstly, show it in front of the Webcam and secondly, pressing it squeezing it and thirdly, plugging into my ears in front of the Webcam?

    Thank you for your reply.

    • Hi Wei Ying,

      We asked CPA Australia to confirm and they have said no ear plugs / buds or anything are allowed. While what you suggest may usually be valid, with the compressed time frame to run over 20,000 exams etc – they want to minimise the reviews/investigations of activity, so they have put in a complete ban in place here.

      Regards, Courtney

  4. Hi,

    The CPA guideline says “You must be in a walled room with a closed door, and free from noise, distractions or anything that may disrupt your exam”. I live in a Studio apartment, which is considered a walled room. So just wanted to clarify why we have to check further with CPA Australia on this?


    • Hi Mariyam,

      If you meet the criteria you don’t need to contact CPA. Some people have been sending us photos or asking us if a living room etc that is not enclosed etc is suitable – and we aren’t able to advise on that, so we have said if you have a question or are unsure – contact CPA.
      Regards, Courtney

  5. Hi,

    My webcam is not capable of panning the room (swiveling).
    I can still pick up the webcam and pan the room manually before I start the exam, right?

    Thank you,

  6. Hi just want to know would the webinars be uploaded anyhwhere for us to refer to after the 6th of May?

  7. Hi,

    Does the table I am using for the CPA exam have to be completely cleared of all items except what I require for the exam? I have other items like a mini desk organiser/drawers, wires, etc. on my table.

    • Hi – the cleaner the better, because any clutter will make it difficult to do your exam. You are allowed any papers / study guides / notes you want, so if you have things on your desk – as long as they are not electronic devices etc, this should be fine.

      Regards, Courtney

  8. Hi Courtney- the room where I am hoping to do the exam is mostly windows. It’s small and closed off with glass doors. So 3 windows 1 wall. Will this be okay, can cover the one window with a sheet.
    Thanks for all you help and communication.

  9. Hi Courtney,

    I have enclosed room, most probably i will use my bedroom, but i dont have table, can i place my laptop on the floor?

  10. Hi, Courtney
    I’m recording the video now, testing the audio function by making some sound. But unfortunately, there is no any sound “came out” from the video when played back.
    Is that a NO Exam allowed for me, since I didn’t meet the criteria.
    Thank you for your reply.

  11. Question 12 of Practice Exam 1.

    If Material Cost per unit = $19,140
    and total units produced = 10,900

    Shouldn’t the total actual cost of materials = $19,140 * 10,900 = $208,626,000
    and not $19,140 * 11,500 ??

    or should the material cost per unit actually read material cost per set ??

    The answer I am getting is $21,374,000


  12. Dear Courtney,
    My inbuilt camera on Mac does not show the study desk where all materials (study guide and notes) are located.
    Before the examination , I can lift the Mac and show the table and the room, but once the Mac on it is original position (on the table) then camera does not gather then table properly.
    Please advise if that is an issue?

    Thank you for you time.

  13. Hi Courtney,
    My ‘Plan A’ for the exam is to use my partners work laptop (has inbuilt webcam). They use Chrome 79.9etc as the browser. The practice exam worked using this but I want to be clear prior to the exam re Chrome 80+. Is it definitely required for the exam?
    If yes, I’ll move to a ‘Plan B’.

    Many Thanks

  14. Hi Courtney,

    Will we still be able to access Practice Multiple Choice questions after Guided Learning closes?
    If so – would you recommend we print the resources for reference before this time?

    Love your work.

  15. Hi Courtney,

    just wondering if pan your room means just do this once before the exam starts, no need a webcam that can keep turning around 360 degree during the whole exam. i have a mac air with built in webcam, not sure if this is ok as all webcams in my area are sold out.

  16. When online portal closed at 6 the ao April, Does that mean only Knowledge equity page or both Knowledge equity page and CPA my online learning page too?

  17. Hi Courtney,
    I do not have separate room, i it ok if i sue my bedroom. Because i have read somewhere in these question answers that we cant use bedroom. Please advise me on that.

    Thank You

Leave a Message