CPA Exam Accommodations: A Guide for Candidates with Disabilities

CPA Exam Accommodations: A Guide for Candidates with Disabilities | Vishal CPA PREP

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on CPA exam accommodations for candidates with disabilities. We understand the challenges and unique needs faced by individuals with disabilities as they pursue their dreams of becoming Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) through the CPA examination services provided by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). In this article, we will explore the various accommodations available to support candidates with disabilities throughout the CPA exam process.

Understanding the Importance of Accommodations

The CPA exam is a rigorous and challenging assessment designed to ensure the competence of future accounting professionals. However, it is essential to recognize that certain disabilities may create barriers and hinder candidates from showcasing their true potential during the exam. This is where accommodations play a vital role, leveling the playing field and providing equal opportunities to all candidates, regardless of their physical or cognitive challenges.

Types of Disabilities and Possible Accommodations

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that CPA exam administrators must provide reasonable accommodations to eligible candidates with disabilities. The disabilities covered under ADA include but are not limited to:

1. Visual Impairments

Candidates with visual impairments may be provided with additional time to complete the exam, enlarged print materials, or the use of assistive technology, such as screen readers or magnifiers.

2. Hearing Impairments

Candidates with hearing impairments can request sign language interpreters or other communication aids during the exam.

3. Physical Disabilities

Individuals with physical disabilities can be accommodated with accessible testing centers, ergonomic chairs, or additional breaks to address their specific needs.

4. Cognitive and Learning Disabilities

Candidates with cognitive and learning disabilities might receive extended time, alternative formats, or a separate testing room to reduce distractions.

Requesting Accommodations

To avail of accommodations, candidates must follow a formal process outlined by the respective CPA exam board. Here are the general steps:

1. Documentation: Candidates need to provide documentation from qualified professionals that clearly states their disability and justifies the need for specific accommodations.
2. Application Submission: The candidate must complete and submit the accommodation request form, along with the necessary documentation, within the specified deadline.
3. Review Process: The board will review the application and determine the reasonable accommodations based on the provided evidence.
4. Approval and Notification: Once approved, the candidate will be notified of the granted accommodations, and necessary arrangements will be made for the exam day.

    Preparing for the Accommodated Exam

    When candidates receive approval for accommodations, they should consider the following preparation tips:

    1. Familiarize with Accommodations

    Candidates must be comfortable with the approved accommodations and practice using any assistive technology provided.

    2. Simulate the Testing Environment

    Practicing in an environment that mimics the actual testing center will help candidates adapt and manage their time effectively during the exam.

    3. Take Mock Exams

    Completing mock exams under accommodated conditions can help candidates gauge their preparedness and build confidence.


    In conclusion, candidates with disabilities, both within and outside of the United States, have the right to fair and equal opportunities when taking the CPA exam. Accommodations are essential to ensure that these individuals can fully demonstrate their skills and knowledge without being hindered by their disabilities. By following the appropriate procedures and seeking the support they need, candidates can make the most of their exam experience and take a step closer to becoming successful CPAs. Whether they require accommodations for one or more sections of the exam, these provisions are vital for their fair evaluation.

    It is important for candidates to be aware that accommodations may vary based on their specific disabilities and requirements. The CPA exam boards, including NASBA, are committed to providing reasonable accommodations to support candidates with disabilities and ensure a level playing field. Embracing these accommodations empowers candidates to overcome challenges, excel in their chosen profession, and contribute significantly to the field of accountancy and regulation.


    1. Q: Are all disabilities covered under the ADA eligible for accommodations?

    A: While many disabilities are covered, the ADA requires that the disability must substantially limit a major life activity to qualify for accommodations.

    2. Q: Can I request multiple accommodations for my disability?

    A: Yes, candidates can request multiple accommodations based on their individual needs.

    3. Q: Is there any limit to the number of times I can request accommodations?

    A: No, candidates can request accommodations for each section of the CPA exam if needed.

    4. Q: Are the testing centers equipped to provide necessary accommodations?

    A: Yes, testing centers are well-prepared to provide approved accommodations for candidates with disabilities.

    5. Q: Can I change my requested accommodations after approval?

    A: It is advisable to finalize accommodations well in advance. However, if necessary, candidates can contact the exam board to discuss any changes.

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