CPA PEP Exam – What If You Failed the Exam?

Exam results were released (update: results have been removed for Core 2) for CPA PEP Core 2 and elective modules today with Core 1’s results coming out in 2 days (update: that messaging is no longer there so please follow the original date for results release). In 2020, the pass rates for CPA PEP Electives ranged from 88% to 91%. This means an overwhelming majority of you passed and this post won’t be relevant to you – congratulations and please go ahead and celebrate safely.

However, my post today is meant for people who failed their module. Between all CPA PEP modules, the pass rates ranged from 79% to 91% in 2019 so a larger proportion of you would fail your Core module (if the trend continues for 2020).

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How Should You Feel?

Whatever you want to feel – sad, angry, annoyed, confused or a combination of all. It is okay for you to cry (I mean, we cry for less when we watch movies) and okay for you to take a day off work (mental health is a valid reason). Take it easy on yourself this week and avoid reading any discussion online because the reality is, most people passed. Even though you can and should be happy for them, I suggest you take care of yourself first.

When you feel like you are ready, your next step will be to take actions.

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

I Am Done Being (Insert Emotions), Then Now What?

Note, if you want to talk to someone professionally, check with your HR department at work as your employer often offers benefits such as therapy sessions. Mental health is just as important as physical well-being.

Ask Yourself: What Did I Do During the Module That I Think Was The Culprit?

Take advantage of what you remember from the module since the memory is still relatively fresh. Were there topics or concepts you struggled with and never had the chance to understand? Start a list of items on a Google sheet or write it in a notebook. The key is for you to reflect on what you could have done differently, less of and more of next time.

~ 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?

Ask Yourself: What Did I Do During the Exam That I Think Was The Culprit?

Most of us struggled with writing the exam at home this time. As I mentioned in my post after writing it at home, I never felt anxious on exam days but I did this time. It is something most of us weren’t used to so it is understandable for us to perform not as well as expected.

The key here is to reflect and find out what you could do differently next time. It is too early to tell in today’s climate whether we will write our next exam at home again or at a hotel. Either way, was there something you can do differently next time? Was it the lack of sleep? Was it because you skipped breakfast? Too much coffee?

It might sound trivial to some of you but your physical and mental states do affect your performance. This is why some companies encourage taking time off from work even if you are not travelling.

Tell Yourself: I Will Come Back Stronger

When you are ready to write the exam again, know that you are more experienced than most of the first-time writers. If you had reflected on what you could have done differently during the module and at the exam, you are already stronger than you were the first (and maybe second) time you wrote it.

Rest, reflect and take actions.

The Logistics – What Are The Options and How Do I Retake the Module or Exam?

Appeal the Results

Within 3 business days of the release of the results, you can submit a request on the My CPA portal. This has a fee associated with this and will only be refunded if your appeal is successful. Read more about it on the CPAWSB blog here.

Re-write the Exam

If this was your first attempt at this module (you can attempt a maximum of 3 times), you have the option to either

– retake the module completely and write the exam, or
– challenge the exam only

If this was your second attempt at this module, you have the option to either

– retake the module completely and write the exam, or
– challenge the exam only (only if you retook the module completely after your first attempt)

Ending Thoughts

Some of the hardest-working and smartest people I know failed. Does that make me think they are less smart or less hardworking? Absolutely not.

I have either studied or worked with these people and I have seen what they are capable of first-hand. One set back does not define you. What you do to overcome the challenges do.

“There is no failure except in no longer trying.”

Chris Bradford