Important changes to examination software
In 2017, CPA Canada started the process of reviewing alternative technology for writing module-end examinations and the Common Final Examination (CFE). At the end of this review process, a new software vendor was selected and the new software will be implemented later this year.
Candidates who will be writing the CFE in September 2018
The current examination software vendor, Software Secure (provider of Securexam), will continue to be used for 2018 Winter, Spring, and Summer National program semesters and the September 2018 CFE.
Next steps for other candidates
Starting with the 2018 Fall semester (with module examinations scheduled on December 19-20, 2018) all Program national examinations will be written using the new software and the September 2019 CFE.
The CPA profession is committed to ensuring that you will have sufficient time and resources to familiarize yourself with the new software throughout the implementation process. You can expect additional communications about the changes in July and October 2018. Meanwhile, it is therefore unnecessary to contact the Order.
While studying in the CPA Professional Education Program (PEP), you must use the Securexam software to write the CPA Canada examinations. This special lockdown software program disables most of your computer’s functionality and file access.
You will be able to use your computer for the following purposes only:
- Reference: use a PDF reader to search the CPA Canada Standards and Guidance Collection and the Federal Income Tax Collection.
- Keyed response: use a word processor and electronic spreadsheet to input your responses and submit them electronically for marking purposes.
Read carefully the following guides for additional information on Securexam software:
- Guide No. 1 – Securexam user guide [PDF]
- Guide No. 2 – Instructions to candidates from BDO Canada, Ernst & Young, PwC and Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton [PDF]: Specific instructions on updates and USB keys.
- Guide No. 3 - Practice examination guideline [PDF]
You can also watch different tutorials to better understand the software:
- Downloading the software
- Qualification exam
- Core and electives modules exams (national program)
- Spreadsheet formulas
- Common Final Examination (CFE)
- How to do a search in the Federal Income Tax Collection
Securexam runs on PC-based computers only.
It cannot be installed on the following:
- any Apple device (even if the device is using partitioned drives or Boot Camp is installed);
- any iOS device;
- devices requiring the use of a detachable keyboard (such as the Microsoft Surface line of tablets);
- any mini-laptops or netbooks (i.e. devices that require the Internet to fully function).
To install Securexam, your computer must meet these minimum hardware and software requirements:
- 1 GB of Ram
- 100 MB of free hard drive space (required to run application)
- a free USB port*
*You need a free USB port to use Securexam in the writing centre but not to practice with the software or to complete the mandatory “Qualification Exam”.
- Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10
Internet access is required to download the software, upload the “Qualification Exam” and receive emails from Software Secure.
You must have administrator rights to install this software. User-level rights will allow you to use the software once it has been installed. If your employer owns your computer, you must secure employer approval and assistance to install Securexam, in accordance with your employer’s policies.
To obtain the access code and password you need to download and install the Securexam software, you must have completed your registration with the Professional Education Program (PEP) and paid the required fees.
The Order will then register your account and Software Secure will send you a confirmation email with your access code (i.e. the 7 digits of your CPA Canada number after the C) and password. Please allow 20 business days from the date of receipt of your application for registration.
With your access code and password, you will be able to access your account at cpacanada.securexam.com.
Follow the instructions of section 2.0.0 in Guide No. 1 – Securexam user guide [PDF].
Watch the tutorial on downloading the software.
- You will have to consult the CPA Canada Handbook and the Federal Income Tax Act in their electronic version using the software. Paper copies of are not permitted in the writing centre.
- Your computer can have no peripheral devices, other than a mouse, a numeric keypad and a USB hub. External keyboards wireless peripheral devices (for example a wireless mouse) are strictly forbidden.
- You are required to upload your final exam files to the Software Secure website within 3 hours after the examination has ended. Read the upload instructions [PDF].
To test the software and write a CPA national examination, you must perform a mandatory “Qualification Exam” and upload the resulting files to Software Secure for confirmation. Before the Common Final Examination (CFE), you must sign a waiver indicating that you have successfully performed this test on your computer, and have received confirmation from Software Secure that the software is working properly.
Follow the instructions in the Taking a “Qualification Exam” section 3.0.0 of Guide No. 1 – Securexam user guide [PDF].
Watch the tutorial on the qualification examination.
Securexam software contains a practice mode that can help you practice before the examinations. Using a word processor, a spreadsheet and searching through Securexam is different – some functionality is disabled and some keys won’t work the way you expect. Using the practice version allows you to familiarize yourself with the changed functionality of the word processor, the spreadsheet and the permitted info bases in the Securexam environment. You will not be able to access any other files or programs.
Follow the instructions in the Guide No. 3 - Practice examination guideline [PDF].
Watch the tutorials in order to better understand how to use the software or to learn more about its functionalities:
- In: cpa
- Out: cpa
- In: password
- Out: password
The passwords for this examination will be provided by your university.
- In: sabletel
- Out: sabletel
You have encountered a technical problem while using Securexam? Make sure that you have read the guides carefully.
Refer to sections 1.2.0 and 4.0.0 of Guide No. 1 – Securexam user guide [PDF] to find the solution to recurring problems.
If you use an employer-supplied computer and you need a more personalized technical support, contact your employer’s IT help desk first to ensure minimum hardware and software requirements have been met.
If you are using your own computer or have no access to an employer IT help desk, contact Software Secure or CPA Canada as follows.
- English support: 1 855 489.2777
- French support: 1 844 644.7470
For a more timely response, through the Software Secure online support portal.