If the state board decides that you’re eligible to take the CPA exam, they will send you an NTS, or Notice to Schedule. Only with this NTS can you schedule and sit for the CPA exam. You should then contact Prometric Services to schedule for one or more sections of the CPA exam by choosing a date, time and location for the exam. You can schedule your exam online at the Prometric Services website, or by calling them directly over the phone.
Every year, there are 4 test windows or testing time periods to choose from: January & February, April & May, July & August, and October & November. Depending on the location you’re in, CPA exam can take place for up to 6 days a week, so you’ll be sure to find a time that’s convenient for you.
You can choose to do any or all of the 4 sections of the exam (AUD, REG, FAR, and BEC) in any test window. However, you cannot sit for the same section (i.e. re-sit for a failed section) more than once in any given window. Another rule you must observe is that you must pass all 4 sections in 18 months. Stated in another way, you need to start the clock at the time you pass your first section, and over the next 18 months you need to pass the other sections in order for your first section not to expire.
I recommend that you spread out the sections by taking only one section per test window, instead of sitting for multiple sections in the same window. The general concensus is that you need to study for at least 3 months for each section, so doing more than one sections in the same window may not be a good idea (unless you’re fresh out of college and still remember a majority of the materials).
Considering you only have 18 months to pass all sections, it would be a good idea to take the more difficult sections first. You won’t want to pass the easier ones with flying colors, only to fail the harder sections multiple times and cause the passed sections to expire. Of course, it is subjective which sections you consider to be more difficult. A good strategy would be to order the sections from the most to the least difficult and sit for them in this order. And if, in the unfortunate event that you do fail a section, try to schedule it for the next test window to avoid losing all the studying efforts you have already put in for that section. This is another reason why it may be better to only schedule for one section at a time – in case you fail and want to resit as soon as possible.
The CPA exam is notorius for being hard. The typical CPA exam pass rate is quite low, at around 40-50%. However, a comprehensive CPA review course can help you to clarify confusing concepts and provide a lot of questions for you to practice, which can give you the edge you need to pass the first time. Find out the pros and cons of the most popular cpa review courses at http://www.CPAReviewCourse.org. As well, feel free to check out my personal experience with using a couple of the courses in my cpa exam blog at http://www.PassTheCPAExam.org.