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Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

CPA Exam

This information is taken from www.illinois-cpa-exam.com. Students are strongly encouraged to visit the official website for policies and procedures in regards to the exam.

CPA Examination

An individual may obtain Illinois certification by passing the Uniform CPA Examination. The candidate must meet the following requirements:

The Process

To apply for certification through examination complete these steps:

The fee amount:

Evaluation of domestic academic credentials: $175.00

Evaluation of foreign only, or foreign and domestic credentials: $250.00

Pay the fee online via credit card. The fee varies by number of exam parts requested:

Go to the AICPA website and purchase the self study course—Professional Ethics:

Initial Application

Initial application applies to individuals who have never taken the Uniform CPA Examination or those individuals who have taken sections of the exam in another state and now wish to complete the exam in Illinois. To see specific requirements for certification through examination refer to Certification—CPA Examination on this website.


  1. Complete an Academic Credentials Evaluation Application
    • Go to the online system and create an account unless you have previously submitted an application or other documents to the Illinois Board of Examiners as an online account has already been established for you. Contact the Board to obtain your account information.
    • Log on to the online system and complete an academic credentials evaluation application. On the application list all educational institutions you have attended. Pay the fee online via a credit card. The evaluation fee for domestic academic credentials is $175. The evaluation fee for foreign academic credentials is $250.
    • Have official academic transcripts sent to the Illinois Board of Examiners office. Documents required for foreign institutions: original transcript in native language, mark sheets, degree certification, and certified English translations of all documents.
  2. Complete an Initial Examination Application.

    Log on to the online system and complete an Initial Examination Request. The primary purpose of this application is to specify which sections of the exam you initially wish to take. You may take as few as one section and as many as all four sections. Pay the fee online via a credit card. The fee varies based on the number of exam sections:

    • All four parts = $120
    • Three parts = $108
    • Two parts = $76
    • One part = $40

    You can submit the exam application right after submitting the credentials evaluation application. You need not wait to receive evaluation approval before submitting your exam application.

    If you have taken the exam in another state and wish for the credit to transfer to Illinois, complete your portion of the Transfer of Exam Credit Form. Send the form to the State Board of Accountancy in which you took the exam. The State Board of Accountancy will verify your scores and send the form to the Illinois Board of Examiners.

    If you have a disability for which you need special accommodations complete the Request for Special Accommodations Form and send it to the Illinois Board of Examiners.

  3. Receive Approval letter from the Illinois Board of Examiners.

    If you have submitted only your academic credentials evaluation you will receive a letter from the Board indicating you may now apply to take the exam. Complete the online initial exam application. The Board will review your exam application and send you a letter approving you to take the test.

    If you have submitted both your academic credentials evaluation and your exam application you will receive a letter from the Board authorizing you to take the test.

  4. Receive Payment Coupon from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA)

    The Illinois Board of Examiners notifies NASBA that they have approved you to take the test and which sections you will be taking. NASBA coordinates all aspects of the exam. NASBA will send you a payment coupon either by e-mail or US mail depending on the preference you selected on your initial exam application. (If you selected e-mail be sure to add these addresses to your address book to prevent spam filtering interference: cbtpayment@nasba.org and cpaexam@nasba.org.) The payment coupon is for fees associated with administering the exam. The payment coupon is good for 90 days. If you do not pay the fees within 90 days your authorization to test will expire and you will have to submit a re-exam application. You can pay your payment coupon online at NASBA’s website.

  5. Receive Notice to Schedule (NTS) from NASBA

    Once NASBA receives your payment they will issue you a Notice To Schedule (NTS). You will receive the NTS either through e-mail or US mail depending on the preference you selected on your initial exam application. The NTS instructs you contact Prometric, the testing provider, to schedule a date and time for testing. You should receive your NTS within 4 business days of paying your payment coupon. If you do not receive it within this timeframe call the NASBA candidate service representative at 866.MY.NASBA or e-mail cbtcpa@nasba.org.

  6. Schedule Test Site, Date, and Time with Prometric.

    Go to the Prometric Testing scheduler and schedule your testing location, dates and times. You can schedule to take each exam section on a different date and in any order. The NTS is valid for six months from date of issuance. This means you must schedule and take the exam sections for which you were authorized within that six month timeframe.

    There are four testing windows in a calendar year. Each testing window is a 60-day period. The earlier you contact Prometric to schedule, the greater your chances of getting the time, date and place you want to test. Per Prometric, if you request your choice of time and date 45 days or more in advance of your desired test date, your chances are greatly enhanced for getting the dates you want. All weekend and the two weeks at the end of the testing window fill up first.

    Testing WindowNo Testing
    January February March
    April May June
    July August September
    October November December
  7. Take CPA exam at Prometric Testing Center.
    • Arrive at test center at least 30 minutes before your test time. A digital photo will be taken as part of the check-in procedures. Late arrivals may not be able to take the exam.
    • Bring the correct NTS. Make sure the NTS lists the exam section you are taking and that it has not expired.
    • Bring two forms of identification. The same version of your name must appear on your application, the NTS and the two forms of identification.

    Acceptable Forms of Primary Identification:

    • Valid government issued driver’s license with photograph and signature.
    • Valid state identification card with a recent photograph and signature
    • Valid government issued passport with a recent photograph and signature
    • United States military identification card with a recent photograph and signature.

    Acceptable Forms of Secondary Identification:

    • Additional government issued identification from the above list
    • Accountancy Board-issued identification
    • Valid credit card with signature
    • Bank automated teller machine (ATM) card with signature
    • Valid bank debit card with signature
  8. Receive Exam Scores from Illinois Board of Examiners

    The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is responsible for scoring the exam. Testing data is sent from Prometric to the AICPA on a daily basis. When scoring is complete the AICPA sends advisory scores to NASBA. NASBA produces score notices which are sent to the Illinois Board of Examiners in two cycles of each testing window. Scores from exams taken early in the first month of the window are received by the Board during the seventh week of the testing window. The remaining scores from the first month and all from the second month are received by the Board two to three weeks after the testing window end.

    You will receive an official letter from the Illinois Board of Examiners reporting your exam scores. If you wish to see your results earlier you may go to the online system to view your unofficial advisory scores. Scores are loaded to the online system as they are received from NASBA.

    If you were provisionally approved to take the exam you will receive your exam scores only after the Board of Examiners has received your final transcript. Provisionally approved means in order to meet the educational requirements you had course work in progress at the time you took the exam. The Board needs proof that you completed these courses therefore transcripts showing posted credit for these courses are required. The final transcripts must be received in the Board office within 120 days of taking the first section of the exam, or scores for all exam sections authorized with provisional approval will be voided.

    The passing standard for the exam will be set at a scaled score of 75 for each section. Pass credit for the exam is 18 months. This means that starting with the date that you passed your first (earliest) section of the exam you have 18 months to pass the remaining sections. For example, if you took and passed the FAR section of the exam on May 15, 2009, then you must take and pass the remaining three sections on or by November 15, 2010.

    To re-take sections from your initial application or to take other sections you will now need to submit a Re-exam Application.

Educational Requirements

After January 1, 2001, a candidate taking the examination for the first time must have successfully completed at least 150 semester hours of acceptable credit including a baccalaureate or higher degree. The semester hours accepted by the Board must include an accounting concentration or its equivalent.

Acceptable credit recognized by the Board is:

A candidate will be deemed to have met the educational requirement if, as part of the 150 semester hours of education he or she has met any one of the four conditions listed below.

In each condition accounting hours do not include business law, and no more than six semester hours of accounting may be obtained through internships or life-experience credit posted on a college transcript.

Courses acceptable toward the 24 hours in business are: Economics, Business Law, Marketing, Finance, Business and Technical Communication, Business Ethics, International Business, Legal and Social Environment of Business, Management, Business/Management Information Systems, Quantitative Methods and Statistic courses taught by the accounting department. Other courses are subject to review by the Board of Examiners.

Illinois CPA Exam Fees

Illinois Board of Examiners Application Fees

Academic Credentials Evaluation Fees (first-time candidates)

Domestic Credentials Evaluation $175.00
Foreign Credentials Only or Foreign and Domestic Credentials $250.00

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Fees are for the review of your educational transcripts to verify you meet the educational requirements to sit for the exam.

CPA Examination Application Fees (all candidates)

Application for taking all four exam sections $120.00
Application for taking three exam sections $108.00
Application for taking two exam sections $76.00
Application for taking one exam sections $40.00

The CPA Examination Application Fees cover the processing provided by the Illinois Board of Examiners to review and approve you to take the exam. If you submit an exam application to take three sections of the exam, the fee will be $108.00.

Examination Fees

The Illinois Board of Examiners forwards approval to test to The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). You will receive a payment coupon from NASBA for the cost of taking the exam. You will make payment to NASBA. NASBA coordinates the administration of the exam and updates the National Candidate Database with your information. The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) develops the exam content and grades the exam. Prometric provides the testing centers at which the exam is taken. The examination fees are detailed below.

Test SectionAuditing (4.5 hours)Financial Acct (4 hours)Regulation (3 hours)Business E&C (2.5 hours)Total (14 hours)
AICPA Development & Grading $95.00 $95.00 $95.00 $95.00 $380.00
Prometric Computer delivery @$24.80/hr. $111.60 $99.20 $74.40 $62.00 $347.20
Prometric Digital Photo $5.95 $5.95 $5.95 $5.95 $23.80
NASBA Database & Reporting $18.00 $18.00 $18.00 $18.00 $72.00
Totals $230.55 $218.15 $193.35 $180.95 $823.00

NASBA will charge a fee of $67.50 for a background check if you live in the U.S. and do not provide a social security number or tax identification number on your exam application.

What's on the Exam

The CBT CPA Examination is divided into the following sections and durations:

Additional information about the content of the CBT is available in a document entitled“Uniform CPA Examination Content Specifications—Effective upon the Launch of the Computer-based Uniform CPA Examination” and may be downloaded from www.cpa-exam.org.

Exam Scores

After the Examination, candidate responses are forwarded to the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) for scoring. The responses are identified by Examination Section ID only. When advisory scores become available, the AICPA forwards them to National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) for processing, which involves matching the scores to individual candidates. NASBA then forwards the scores to boards of accountancy for approval and subsequent release to candidates.