The exam environment is stressful for everyone but if you have anxiety, the extra stress of the exam environment may hold you back from performing well on your CPA exams. This is not something that exam skills or relaxation techniques can fix, but it is something that exam accommodations can alleviate.
If you have a diagnosis of anxiety, then you may be eligible for CPA exam accommodations.
How Do I Know If I’m Eligible for CPA Exam Accommodations?
CPA exam accommodations follow ADA regulations for leveling the playing field of exam testing. If you have a physical or mental impairment that impacts major life activities, then you can apply for CPA exam accommodations.
Anxiety is considered eligible for CPA exam accommodations, so if you have a diagnosis of anxiety, then apply for CPA exam accommodations. You need to have diagnosed anxiety because the CPA exam accommodations process requires a medical professional to fill out a form with information about your condition and how it would impact you in the testing environment.
Apply for anxiety CPA exam accommodations if any of the following are true:
- You received exam accommodations for anxiety in school
- You have been diagnosed with anxiety by a professional
- You receive accommodations at work for your anxiety
- You have been diagnosed with temporary or situational anxiety, PTSD, or depression by a professional
I encourage my students to seek CPA exam accommodations if they think they need them. The process can seem overwhelming because the form contains a lot of confusing legal language, but it is actually quite easy. You fill out a 1-page form and ask your treating medical professional to fill out the rest.
What CPA Exam Accommodations Will I Receive for Anxiety?
The CPA exam accommodations process asks you to list the accommodations you feel you may need, and those accommodations will be either approved or denied. The CPAES (CPA Examination Services) do not provide any information about possible exam accommodations or examples of exam accommodations. ADA laws allow people to request the accommodations they require, and it will be approved if you provide sufficient proof that your condition exists, would impact testing, and the requested accommodations are reasonable.
Some examples of accommodations that past students have sought for their anxiety include:
- Time and a half for the exam (You get 6 hours for the FAR exam instead of 4)
- Additional break time
- Higher frequency breaks
- A separate testing room
- Fidget toys (as long as they wouldn’t disrupt other CPA exam candidates)
You can ask for more than one accommodation if you need to. I always recommend my students apply for extra exam time because it takes a lot of stress and pressure off them. Your mental health professional can help you determine common exam accommodations they’ve requested for patients similar to you and what exam accommodations may be useful for your anxiety.
How to Apply for Anxiety CPA Exam Accommodations
You need to apply for your CPA exam and pay the fees first. Then, fill out the CPA exam accommodations application form and talk to your doctor or mental health professional about providing the documentation listed on the form. Check you have everything and send your form and documentation to the address listed at the bottom of the form.
If you are working with a CPA exam mentor, they will be able to provide you with information about CPA exam accommodations. I’ve encouraged a number of my students to apply for CPA exam accommodations to improve their CPA exam success. A lot of them had taken and failed a CPA exam prior to this because they assumed they were ineligible for CPA exam accommodations or didn’t know there were accommodations available. I talked them through the process, and they had accommodations for their anxiety when they were ready to retake their CPA exam.
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