Life on the Edge: Changing CPA Exam Testing Centers

Dan is a NINJA CPA Blogger.

The last time I wrote I wanted to tell about my experience in changing test centers, but I got a little long winded about my experience in taking two exams in one day.

I am sure there are some folks who are saying “changing test centers, big deal, I use 3 different ones”. But familiarity and consistency are factors that are important to CPA’s, and suddenly changing test centers does not help these.

In addition to this, I am a big baseball fan, so superstition plays a part for me too, although I have not worn red panties to any exams yet, but if doing so means I will pass FAR in a few weeks, Victoria’s Secret here I come.

I didn’t think that changing test centers would be a big deal, everything is standardized I thought, but there were small differences that raised my anxiety level.

I stayed overnight before exam day so the first thing I did was locate the test center. The address was in a shopping center and I drove around looking for Prometric and there was no suite for Prometric.

I then figured out they shared a space with Sylvan. I knew it would be smaller than the test center I was used to, but I didn’t think it would be this much smaller.

The test center I am accustomed to has two rooms with probably 12 terminals down each wall, for a total of 48; this one had one room, with a total of 12 terminals.

The next morning when I arrived I discovered just how much smaller it was, and I also found out my normal routine of arriving at Prometric was about to be seriously thrown for a loop.

I am used to signing in, putting my stuff in a locker and then waiting for my name to be called, which gives me a quick couple of minutes to take a deep breath, clear my mind and focus on nothing but the task at hand. There are usually 20 or so people there to take exams and 5 employees.

When I walked into the unfamiliar test center, there was 1 employee and no one else. I put my stuff in the locker, signed the roll sheet, she did her stuff and I was whisked inside and working on question 1 all within a span of probably less than 5 minutes.

Looking back, it wasn’t that big of a deal, it was just different. I actually prefer the smaller site, but it is in Reno and when I go to Reno I tend to come back with less money than I went with, so I will stick to Sacramento.

If you are the type of person that wants to minimize surprises on exam day, then be aware that changing test centers will bring these. But, if you are the type of person that lives on the edge (how boring has my life become when changing test centers is considered living on the edge) then choose a different test center every time.

And if you are of the male gender, then get those red panties on and really live on the wild side!

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