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Eligible students have the opportunity to write the course exam only and receive an exemption from the course portion of the CPA preparatory core course. For eligibility requirements, refer to the CPA Harmonized Education Policies (HEP) Vol. 3

To provide eligible students a pathway to demonstrate their prior learning in a prerequisite subject area for admission to the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP). 

Challenge exams are available to students who have:

  1. Completed a course(s) through a post-secondary institution that no longer meets the 10-year currency requirement for exemption. The course must be;
    • equivalent as per the provincial transfer credit guide or
    • eligible for a partial exemption as per the self-assessment tool or;
  2. Completed a course(s) through a post-secondary institution that cannot be sufficiently verified for equivalence through acceptable supporting documentation. In which case, the student will be required to complete the self-assessment tool and attain the minimum required coverage of topics (50%) to be eligible to challenge the exam.

Challenge exam eligibility will be determined through the provincial/regional CPA body. For more information, contact  

Eligibility for a challenge exam will be included in your CPA assessment results. Contact to determine how to apply for an assessment. For eligibility requirements, refer to the CPA HEP Vol. 3 .

Eligibility for a challenge exam will be included in your CPA transcript assessment results.  

If you were granted a challenge exam for a prerequisite course and plan to take the course through CPA preparatory courses:

  1. You must apply for admission to CPA preparatory courses
  2. Pay the annual student fee
  3. Register to pay for the challenge exam

For more information about challenge exams granted for prerequisite courses, please view the Challenge Exam FAQ for preparatory courses. 

If you were granted a challenge exam for a CPA PEP module:

  1. You must apply for admission to CPA PEP
  2. Pay the initial registration fee and the annual candidate fee 
  3. Register to pay for the challenge exam
    Note: Cost for a PEP module challenge exam is the same cost as the Module Examination Re-write Fee.

Yes, challenge exam fees are determined by the provincial/regional CPA body. For more information on the challenge exam please contact

Yes, you must be a CPA student in good standing with a provincial/regional CPA body to challenge a CPA preparatory core course exam. 

CPA preparatory course materials are not available to students who choose to challenge an exam. The CPA Competency Map describes the knowledge, skills and proficiency levels required for CPA certification. In addition, the CPA preparatory course syllabus  is available to all students. 

The profession offers valuable resources for students taking CPA preparatory courses that are publicly available to all students on the Certification Resource Centre

You must enroll and successfully complete the full CPA preparatory core course (course and exam) or complete an equivalent course through a post-secondary institution as outlined on the CPA provincial transfer credit guide(s). The unsuccessful challenge exam will be counted as an attempt. If you complete the full course and fail with a course grade between 50% and 59.9%, you will be able to rewrite the exam. Otherwise, you will be required to retake the full course prior to your third and final attempt at the course exam. 

If eligible, one challenge exam attempt is available for each of the CPA preparatory core courses.
If you are unsuccessful on the one challenge exam, you will be required to take the course in full. 

Full exemptions from CPA preparatory courses are not available to students who do not have sufficiently verifiable prior academic courses from a recognized post-secondary institution, regardless of prior work experience.

Students with significant relevant work experience may apply for an exemption from the currency requirement for a prerequisite course if a relevant course was successfully completed more than 10 years prior to admission to the CPA PEP. Assessments of work experience may result in no exemption, a full exemption from a prerequisite course, or a partial exemption from a prerequisite course, requiring students to complete the course examination. For more information on these assessments, contact

All CPA preparatory core courses will be accepted for 10 years from the date of completion. For more information on the currency of education for admission to the CPA PEP, refer to CPA HEP Vol. 1 .

All provinces/regions will accept the World Evaluation Services (WES) course-by-course evaluation. If you have an assessment from another third-party provider, contact to determine if it will be considered. 

A course syllabus should include the following information:

  • Post-secondary institution letterhead, symbol, logo, etc.
  • Course overview, learning outcomes or objectives
  • Course(s) details (course name/number, course hours, semester/term, year, lecture times, instructor details)
  • The year the course(s) were completed is required
  • Course assessments (assignments, quizzes, exams, projects, case studies, etc.)
  • Grading scale used by the post-secondary institution
  • Course textbooks and other materials
  • Description of the topics covered in the course
  • Course prerequisite(s)/anti-requisite(s)/transfer credit(s) (if any)

Other considerations:

  • Course descriptions in the context of an email cannot be accepted as sufficiently verifiable documentation
  • Course syllabus must be in the original form as provided by the post-secondary institution
  • Course syllabus should be submitted in PDF format
  • Course syllabus not in English or French will require translation by a certified translator

Yes. If you received a CPA assessment and it is within the one-year assessment validity period or you are a CPA Student in good standing.

Yes. The challenge exam will be accepted by the province/region upon transfer. You must be a CPA Student in good standing with the transferring CPA provincial/regional body.

You only need to have enrolled as a student within one-year of your assessment results date to maintain your partial exemption. After one year if you have not enrolled as a student, your assessment results will expire, including any challenge exams granted, and you will be required to submit a new transcript/eligibility assessment request. Once enrolled as a student you must successfully pass the challenge exam or the equivalent course before entering CPA PEP. 

Non-core exams are not challenged because they do not have a currency of expiration. Exemptions can be granted based on transcript review only. Contact for further information.

While it is highly recommended that you follow all sequencing requirements as set out by the profession, sequencing does not apply to partial exemptions and you may challenge the exams in any order. If you are unsuccessful on the challenge exam, you will be required to adhere to the CPA preparatory course sequencing requirements for your second and third attempts (if applicable).

No, CPA preparatory courses students are ineligible to register in a challenge exam if they have had an unsuccessful attempt at the course. Please refer to the "Who Is eligible for a challenge exam?" for eligibility criteria.