My CPA Journey – I Passed Core 1 (…5 Months Ago)

On my last update (here), I said I would try to do an update after Week #6 of Core 1 but here I am, already more than halfway through Core 2.


I took Core 1 at the regular pace (extended Core modules only started in 2020 were offered for several sessions before extended Electives became available in 2020) which took 8 weeks. There were readings, 2 assignments and MC due every week and once you fell behind, you were BEHIND. It was more challenging than I expected (and I was warned) and I basically had no life other than work and study. The material itself was a mix of refresh from pre-requisite courses and new knowledge. I think Core 1 was made even more challenging due to the fact that the learning style was very different than what I was used to in school.

“I think Core 1 was made even more challenging due to the fact that the learning style was very different than what I was used to in school.”

Two Weeks Before My Core 1 Exam

I came up with a study plan for the 2 weeks prior to the exam but mind you, the module was still happening so the studying was on top of the regular courseload. It was tiring. Luckily, my work was manageable with no staff shortage so I was able to dedicate all my evenings to study without worrying about work.

In the end, I managed to follow most of my plan but I underestimated the time it required for me to study the notes I made throughout the module. There were also a couple of weeks where I did not make notes and I regretted it deeply. It took substantially more time to review the chapters again than to review the notes organized in shorter sentences and bullet points.

I will talk about what I wish I had done in another post for Core 1 and maybe they will help you navigate.

~ More CPA Posts ~
CPA PEP Core 1 – How to Study for the Module and the Exam
CPA PERT – Ultimate Guide on How to Get Your First Experience Report via EVR Approved
CPA PERT – Enabling Competencies Examples
Densmore for CPA PEP – Are The PEP Essentials Packages Worth It?
CPA PEP Module – Regular Module or Extended Module?

The Day Before My Core 1 Exam

I took the day off from work and checked in at the DOUGLAS Hotel in Vancouver (full hotel review here) the night before my exam. I wanted the chance to study with the dining options downstairs and also to avoid waking up too early to commute.

the Douglas Hotel, Autograph Collection

It turned out to be worth it especially because I had found out only last-minute that I needed a wired mouse. Thankfully, London Drugs was still open then so I rushed out in the rain to get 2 (got an extra one in case someone else at the exam centre needed it because silly like me).

Needless to say, I slept like a baby after all the exercise from mouse-hunting.

My Wired Mouse & Late-Night Juice

The Core 1 Exam

The 4-hour exam was…. difficult but not impossible. I would say it was in line with what I expected with some easier parts and some obscure questions (e.g., tax filing deadline for a deceased person). I wasn’t sure about part of the case but I thought I did okay. The MC was as difficult as expected.

What I didn’t expect was how exhausted I was going to be after the exam. I am talking about both physically and mentally. My office Christmas party was in the area after my exam and even though I planned on going, I bailed at the end as all I wanted to do was to go home and pass out.

Note to self, book the hotel the night before and on the day of my exam next time (turns out, I will be writing my Core 2 exam at home because of COVID).

What’s Next?

As mentioned in the beginning, I am already more than halfway through Core 2. I am taking the extended module which gives me 10 more weeks than the regular pace. It was supposed to be perfect because of my 2-week Asia trip scheduled for March but also because of COVID, that trip and another one were cancelled.

I regretted the longer pace at first with my trips cancelled because I was having difficulty developing a regular but spread-out cadence. Things have improved since I started Monday Hour One (read about that journey here) and now I am considering taking another extended module.

I promise an update will come sooner than 5 months next time.