CPA PEP Core 1 – A Letter to Those of You Who Wrote Without Knotia & Think You Must Have Failed

I have a reader who just wrote her CPA PEP Core 1 exam yesterday. For those of you who did not know, the link to Knotia did not work during Case #1 and candidates spent precious exam time submitting a support ticket to IT. Most Core 1 writers were first-time CPA PEP exam writers so the stress of the reference material not working must have been through the roof.

When the reader emailed me this morning, she was convinced that she must have failed Core 1. I felt for her because I felt the same after I wrote Core 1 at the exam centre without any IT issue. Also, even if there was, the exam invigilators were all physically there ready to assist. For her and all other Core 1 writers who wrote yesterday, they would have been all alone at home not knowing for sure if that was happening to everyone or just to themselves.

RELATED POST – 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Failed Your CPA Exam

So I wrote the email (edited for sharing) below hoping to make her feel more confident and better. I know she worked hard and I know most of you who are reading this did. The CPA PEP exams are not designed to fail you because otherwise, the pass rates would be significantly lower.

YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED – Densmore for CPA PEP – Are The PEP Essentials Packages Worth It?

A Letter to Those of You Who Think You Must Have Failed

I talked to a few people who also wrote Core 1 yesterday and they all spent time trying to figure out the IT issue. I want to assure you that the majority had lost those precious minutes doing exactly what you did. If you think about it, that’s back to the level playing field for all of you! In fact, someone I know spent 15 minutes dealing with Knotia so you were actually 10 minutes ahead 🙂

Also, it might not feel like it but I am sure you knew more than you think you did. You were literally doing nothing but accounting for the past 8 weeks meaning you would have developed some muscle memories that you aren’t even aware of. 

So, for case 1, you were 10 minutes ahead of people who spent 15 minutes trying to resolve the IT issue. For case 2, you FINISHED! Trust me, no one did great except for a tiny percentage of geniuses. Remember, the pass rates for Core 1 were ~80% for the past 2 years. If you take into account people who might have tried to cheat and failed spectacularly (there were rumours of people planning to write as a group), the people who simply did not put in the required effort, the people who had things going on that distracted them and the people who were too nervous, a very small % of fail is left for people like you who put in the effort and managed to stay calm enough to finish Case #2.

I am not saying failing is the end of it but you are way more likely to pass than not. I believe you did. For the next few weeks, you are going to doubt that many times (I totally did) and I wish I know what you could do to make it go by faster. It might sound crazy but you can consider getting started with Core 2 materials early. The more time you allow yourself to absorb the materials, the easier it will become. When it does, it doesn’t matter what challenges they put on the exam. You will be able to apply what you know to anything.


~ 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?

What If You Failed?

You do everything you can to find out what you could have done differently. The only thing you don’t do is to give up thinking you aren’t good enough.

The flip side to the high pass rates is the low fail rates which have been around 20% for Core 1 in the last 2 years. So, unfortunately, some of us do fail. However, as I have mentioned in my PERT post, it is how we respond to failures and rejections that will define us and make us grow. I know people who failed Core 1 for the first time and subsequently passed the second time. There are also people failing the CFE but would you think they aren’t good enough after making it all the way there? You simply don’t make it through a Bachelor’s Degree and 6 CPA PEP modules while working full-time by being not good enough. Life happens.

The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.

Paulo Coelho