Surpass (SecureClient)

Welcome to the Surpass (SecureClient) download page, the lockdown software you must install and test on your laptop to write CPA examinations.

Surpass (SecureClient) is an application that locks down your computers so that no other programs or files can be accessed during an examination. The application automatically uploads all responses into the Surpass Test Administration system.

Surpass (SecureClient) will enable you to:

  • answer multiple choice questions (MCQs)
  • input your responses using Word and Excel*
  • access reference material to search the CPA Canada Handbook and the Income Tax Act (for applicable examinations)

*If your examination contains only MCQs, you will not have access to Word or Excel.

If you do not have the Surpass (SecureClient) preinstalled on your computer by your employer’s IT staff, follow the instructions below to download the software.

If you do not have administrative rights, contact your employer’s computer help desk.

1. Surpass (SecureClient) user guide

For detailed installation and operating instructions, troubleshooting tips and information on what to expect during an examination, download the Surpass (SecureClient) User Guide. We strongly recommend that you review it before installing and running the software.

2. Surpass (SecureClient) download


To download and install the Surpass (SecureClient) software, follow these steps:

  1. Uninstall any previous versions. Instructions are available here
  2. Terms
  3. Click the download button above and save the installation package to your computer.
  4. Open the installation package and follow the set-up instructions to install Surpass (SecureClient). A Surpass (SecureClient) icon will appear on your desktop.
  5. Close any open Microsoft Office products. Double-click the Surpass (SecureClient) icon to start the program.
  6. Click on the “Powered by Surpass”, in the bottom right corner, and ensure the version is 12.016.300.014

3. Validation examination

In order to take a CPA examination and to make sure the Surpass (SecureClient) software works properly on your computer, you must test the software by performing a validation examination. Your provincial/regional CPA body will email you instructions on how to perform a validation examination within three weeks of the start of each semester. 

Refer to the SecureClient Validation Examination - Common Issues guide if you experience any issues while performing the validation examination.

Update Surpass (SecureClient) before taking an exam

The day before an examination, you must open Surpass (SecureClient) and ensure the software is up to date. Any updates can take up to 20 minutes to perform and extra time is not provided at the examination centre for those who have not updated their software in advance.

Practice Examination

The practice examination simulates the Surpass (SecureClient) software without requiring you to download and install the Surpass (SecureClient) driver. In a practice examination you will be able to access:

  1. the login process to start an examination
  2. a Word and Excel document to type responses
  3. save functionality for Word and Excel to allow you to save your responses to your computer, as the practice examination is not in a lockdown environment
  4. the logout process to exit an examination

Note: The practice examination does not include examples of MCQs and does not simulate how the reference material is viewed in the Surpass (SecureClient) environment. As the practice environment is not secure, you will not have access to reference material, but you may use Knotia to simulate the secure environment experience.


  • If you have difficulty installing Surpass (SecureClient) on your employer laptop, please contact your employer IT department.
  • If you have difficulty installing Surpass (SecureClient) on your personal laptop, please see the FAQs section of the Surpass (SecureClient) Guide.
  • If you are still unable to resolve your issue, please submit a ticket to the CPA Student Support Web Portal. Please note that you are required to provide your Candidate ID (i.e. seven-digit number that begins with 4) when submitting a ticket.