I just wrote my Core 2 exam at home yesterday and luckily it went smoothly for me. One of the most hardworking people in my CPA group chats messed up the timeline and submitted her case too early. We all felt so bad for her knowing how hard she studied while working crazy hours at her firm. Change is scary and hard so I hope the time table I provided in my last post can help.
It felt weird waking up this morning not having any studying on my agenda. I took it easy by scrolling on my phone for a while before starting my day with a coffee and leftover pasta from dinner yesterday. I watched some Netflix before deciding it is best for me to share how I studied for my CPA PEP Core 2 exam while the memory is fresh!
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED – Densmore for CPA PEP – Are The PEP Essentials Packages Worth It?
When Did I Start Studying for My Core 2 Exam?
Since I took the 20-week extended module, I had plenty of time to study for the exam. I started my study plan 6 weeks before my exam and that was before Assignment Set #7 & 8 were due. I studied on average 45 minutes per day including on the weekends. I wasn’t able to study more on the weekends as I would end up watching Netflix or working on my blogs on those days.
If you are taking the regular 8-week Core 2 module, it is obviously difficult to start 6 weeks before the exam. However, if you double your study time to 1.5 hours per day, you would be able to start 3 weeks before the exam and get through all the same materials I did without feeling burned out!
If you need help deciding between the regular and extended module, I wrote a post to help.
How Did I Keep Track of My Studying?
If you know me, you would know I use Google Sheets for everything. It is no surprise that I used Google Sheets to keep track of my study as well.
I created a list of items that I want to go over in the next 6 weeks (or however long you decide your study plan will be). When I planned my week on Sundays using the Monday Hour One process, I referred back to this list and insert an item per day.
Since the time required was only an estimation, there were days when I would not be able to finish the item as planned. When that happened, I would simply update my Monday Hour One schedule to push everything back one day. There were more days than items by starting 6 weeks before the exam so I was able to postpone for about a week in total at the end.
~ 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 Did My Study Plan for the Core 2 Exam Include?
Here is the list of items I had on my list separated by category below for your reference. You might find that you are familiar with certain chapters enough that you can consider reviewing only once. Note, I did not include any Core 1 items on my study plan. Theoretically, Core 1 topics are examinable on Core 2 exam so I will leave it up to you to decide for yourself.
- review notes (a condensed version of the chapter readings with bullet points that I made during the module) from Week #1 to #8 (Assignment Set #1 to #8 for extended modules)
- review the same notes again, but this time I make a condensed version of the notes (things I really want to remember)
- review the condensed version of the condensed version (sounds excessive but this 2-time condensed version was quick to go through)
Enabling Competency (review this before practicing cases)
- review The CPA Way
- review the WIR technique (Weaknesses, Implication, Recommendation)
- review the QQC technique (quantitative, qualitative, recommendation)
- get familiar with writing everything in a WHAT + WHY format
Practice Cases / Integrated Problem / Practice Exam
- attempt all Practice Cases from Week #1 to 8 in 60 minutes and debrief right away
- attempt all Integrated Problems (skipped Power BI as it’s not examinable) from Week #1 to 8 in 60 minutes and debrief right away
- attempt the Practice Exam (2 cases) last as it will be your first attempt and debrief right away
Module Workshop Materials
- attempt the activities and debrief right away
- review notes from the module workshop (if you had a virtual live session like I did)
Specific Concepts To Study (topics you identify while studying or working on cases)
- ratio analysis / trend analysis
- AR credit policy change, AP discount offered by vendor
What Else Did I Wish I Had Studied For?
As mentioned earlier in this post, Core 1 topics (in fact, everything you learned in PREP) were examinable on the Core 2 exam. However, I decided not to include any Core 1 topics in my study plan because of the following reasons:
- I would have studied for them for my Core 1 exam (granted, it was 6 months ago)
- I am comfortable with the fact that I might miss a part or two of an assessment opportunity (AO)
By starting my study plan early, I managed to not feel burned out at all while going through everything I wanted to. I chose to study in the morning before work because I am more productive then and I also wanted to “get it over with” first thing.
I understand this pace might not work with everyone but I still hope the list of items would be useful to you as a guide. Remember, the pass rate for Core 2 was 84.3% in 2019 so passing will not be an issue as long as we put in the effort.