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All CPA Exam candidates know that the process to qualify and apply to sit for the CPA Exam is a stressful one. Not only do you have to follow a set protocol for submitting all of your information and fee payments to ensure that you’re eligible, but you also have to wait in most cases to finish meeting these requirements before you can actually schedule the first section(s) of your Exam. Particularly the education part.

Because many states require candidates to have at least 150 credit hours under their belt before they can even consider taking the CPA Exam, candidates have to wait until they have completed all of the necessary educational requirements and that can take several months. This means that candidates can begin studying for the first part of their Exam while meeting the 150 credit hours simultaneously, but they still won’t be able to sit for the Exam until they finish their very last class and have received passing credit for it.

Enter provisionary states. These are states that give CPA Exam candidates a provisionary period to sit for the Exam before they have officially completed meeting the educational requirements. For example, North Dakota has a provisionary period of 180 days, or 6 months. This means that if you’re due to meet the 150 credit hours and graduate in June 2016, you can actually sit for the Exam as early as January 2016. You simply go to the provisionary state’s Board of Accountancy website and fill out the proper paperwork.

There is, however, one small catch. You won’t be able to receive your scores for the section(s) that you tested for until you have fulfilled the educational requirements. If we were to follow our previous example, this means that you will not find out whether you passed the section(s) you took until you have graduated in June 2016. But do not let this deter you from considering taking the Exam early. Here are a few great reasons why provisionary states can really help you in the long run:

  • Get ahead in your career: Your future employers will see that you are dedicated and serious about getting ahead of the game. This can give you a competitive edge amongst your peers applying for the same positions.
  • Pass the CPA Exam sooner: We understand that the last thing you probably want to do is study for the CPA Exam while you’re in school, but if you can pass the CPA Exam sooner rather than later, you can definitely take advantage of bonuses firms offer or simply having less to worry about once you’re done with school and have started work. Additionally, your brain is already on study mode, so you’ll already be in the right mindset to tackle the Exam.

Here is a list of the provisionary states and the days allotted for each. Check out our video to learn more about provisionary states and how they can help you!

Washington 180 days
Colorado 60 days
North Dakota 180 days
South Dakota 100 days
Iowa 120 days
Minnesota 120 days
Missouri 60 days
Wisconsin 60 days
Indiana 60 days
Michigan 30 days
Maine 120 days
Tennessee 200 days
New York Anytime — 120 credit hours must be complete

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