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CPA Preparatory Courses

These offer an alternative way to get any or all of 14 prerequisites required for entry to CPA professional studies, if you have not already attained them as part of your university/college studies.

PREP Course Calendar



Becoming a CPA begins with the 14 prerequisites that are required for entry to the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP). Depending on your university path, you may have already completed most or all of these, for example if you were an accounting graduate. Most other business majors typically have about half of these prerequisites. Graduates in other disciplines likely still need the vast majority of these courses.

As many CPA preparatory courses comprise of one or more university-level equivalent courses, this may be a more affordable path than taking the missing courses through a post-secondary institution.

Currently, CPA preparatory courses are only offered in English.

Do I need to take these courses?

To estimate the number of prerequisite courses you need, consult our post-secondary equivalencies chart, which lists recognized courses at nearly all Canadian universities and colleges (and includes Bermuda College).

To receive an exemption for a ‘non-core’ course requires:

  • a minimum grade of 50 per cent for each course.


To receive an exemption for a ‘core’ course requires:

  • a minimum grade of 60 per cent for each course

  • an overall average of 65 per cent (across these core courses)

  • that these courses were completed no more than ten years prior to your official CPA eligibility assessment.

General eligibility for CPA preparatory courses

Eligibility for CPA preparatory courses is the completion of 30 credit hours (i.e. normally equivalent to one year of full-time studies) at a recognized post-secondary institution. Alternatively, you may be eligible with three years of relevant work experience. Note that CPA preparatory courses do have internal sequencing requirements (see course sequencing requirements link above).

​The “Non-Core” Courses

​This include five general business courses, specifically:

  • Introductory Financial Accounting (IFA) 

  • Introductory Management Accounting (IMA) 

  • Economics (ECO)

  • Statistics (STA)

  • Business Law (BUL)


The non-core preparatory courses are delivered by CPA Atlantic School in a self-study format with open enrollment. Students are able to register any day of the year as these courses do not have specific start dates.


Students have up to 12 months to complete the course exam and can select one of the five examination dates per year that best meet their needs and schedules.


Each course design assumes a total of 200 study hours and includes:

  • Online course materials

  • Practice problems and quizzes


The course grade will be based 100 per cent on the final exam. A passing mark is 50 per cent.

The "Core" Courses

​This includes nine, higher-level business and accounting courses, specifically:

  • Intermediate Financial Reporting 1 (IF1)

  • Intermediate Financial Reporting 2 (IF2)

  • Advanced Financial Reporting (AFR)

  • Corporate Finance (COF)

  • Audit and Assurance (AUA)

  • Taxation (TAX)

  • Intermediate Management Accounting (MAA)

  • Performance Management (PMA)

  • Information Technology (ITE) – *This is a ‘core’ course effective May 1, 2022. See note below for more details. If you have questions on this, please review the FAQs found here. If you still have questions, please contact your CPA student recruitment advisor to discuss further. Introductory Financial Accounting (IFA) and Introductory Management Accounting (IMA) will be pre-requisites for enrolling in the core ITE course.

The core preparatory courses are delivered by CPA Atlantic School. Note that the modality and overall features of core courses is in transition during 2021 and 2022 (from “Standard Modality” to “Adaptive-Learning Modality”).


In both modality types, courses are offered five times per year, over a seven-week semester, with 6 weeks of course material, and culminate in a set-date final exam in the seventh week. The required study time per week is an estimated 15 to 20 hours. 


Standard Modality

  • Instructor facilitated

  • Weekly webinars and in-class problems

  • Access to lecture slides, practice problems, and quizzes

  • Multiple projects

  • Marking is based on final exam (70%), projects (18%), and quizzes (12%)

  • Students require a minimum of 50 per cent on the final exam and an overall mark of 60 per cent on the course

  • NOTE: This modality is being gradually phased out during 2021 and 2022 and being replaced with the adaptive-learning modality (see CPA preparatory course calendar)


Adaptive-Learning Modality (new!)

The redesigned CPA preparatory courses are designed to allow students to work through course concepts in an effective and efficient manner. The courses incorporate technology solutions that adapt course content to meet unique learner needs. Each redesigned course contains six units. 

  • Interact with the CPA Canada Learning Library Smartbooks:

  • Practice problems

  • Task-based simulations

  • Unit quizzes

  • Marking is based on final exam (100%) noting that students must achieve a minimum of 75 per cent on coursework activities to be eligible to write the exam

  • Students require a minimum of 60 per cent on the final exam

  • NOTE: Adaptive-learning modality is being introduced in February 2021 and gradually replacing standard modality during 2021 and 2022 (see CPA preparatory course calendar)


How do Smartbooks work?


Students are assigned specific chapters to read in the Smartbooks. Each Smartbook chapter has been carefully designed to include detailed explanations and examples of technical material.

Throughout the chapter, students complete a set of diagnostic questions. Based on the student's performance on the diagnostic questions and their self-declared level of confidence, the Smartbook adapts and highlights the areas that the student needs to continue to work on. Students remediate their knowledge gaps through further studying in the Smartbook.

In addition, as students are working through the Smartbook chapters, they have the opportunity to complete e-lessons on key topics. These e-lessons are interactive, short lectures with example walkthroughs.



For more information on the content of the CPA preparatory courses, please reference the CPA Canada Preparatory Course Syllabus.



Accessibility and Accommodation Requests

In order to submit a request for special accommodation to write an exam for CPA preparatory courses or modules of the CPA Professional Education Program, please visit the CPA Canada website:

For information on special accommodation, please contact:

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