My CPA Journey – Getting Level 0 for My First PERT Report via Experience Verification Route (EVR)

In this post, I share how I felt immediately after getting Level 0 for my first PERT report via the Experience Verification Route (EVR). I also share how I worked with my CPA Mentor and my manager to structure my responses for a re-submission for the same duration as the previous one.

Three weeks after I got the assessment for my first PERT report (all Level 0), I submitted a brand new Prior Experience report for the same duration as the one that was rejected plus a bit more (up to my PER Effective Date) as recommended by the CPABC team. However, this time, the responses are way longer (actually went over character limit for 1 and had to shorten it) and I really tried to address the items under the blue tick marks for the competency. I also added 2 Enabling Competencies (submitted none the first time).

If you are interested because you, unfortunately, are on the same boat as I was (getting Level 0), I wrote a reflection letter for myself on the day of getting the results back and have included it at the end of the post.

Are you looking for a comprehensive guide for PERT with example Level 1 & 2 full responses, tips, templates and more? Check out my CPA PERT Guides!

What Did I Do for My Re-Submission?

The first thing I did was to read the reviewer’s feedback over and over to make sure I did not miss anything. Even though the rejection was hard, I am actually glad I submitted a “test” one so I can get that valuable feedback. I don’t recommend just writing something up casually to submit because if you did, the feedback will be meaningless. However, I also think you don’t need to submit a perfect first one as you will learn from the experience as well.

Another thing that helped tremendously is having my CPA mentor and a manager to review my responses. I am lucky because both of them are Certified Accountants who are willing to go above and beyond to help me. I had a meeting with each of them and they helped with different parts of my revised report. My manager had a great understanding of what I do day-to-day so he was able to help me come up with ideas to write about that would fit the criteria for the competency. My mentor, who I also work with but under different teams, was able to critique my submission for one of the Enabling Competencies and one of the Technical Competencies.

What they are able to do is tell me what was missing as it was not clearly stated in my response. Combining the third person mindset and their technical knowledge, I was able to revise my responses with an aim to cover all my bases.

If you don’t have a manager who is able to do that for any reason (but your CPA mentor should), do not hesitate to simply ask a coworker at work to review it. Just because they aren’t CPAs, it doesn’t mean they won’t understand the finance terms. What is valuable in this case is a true test of whether your responses make sense to someone with limited background knowledge.

More CPA Posts ~
CPA PEP Core 1 – How to Study for the Module and the Exam
CPA PEP Core 1 – A Letter to Those of You Who Wrote Without Knotia & Think You Must Have Failed
CPA PEP Module – Regular Module or Extended Module?

What is Next?

I am now waiting for my supervisor to review my submission (who needs to verify my responses were factual) so I can request a Mentor Review. After the mentor review, it will take CPABC 6 to 8 weeks to make their assessment.

I am quite confident this time as I really went all-in with the responses. I think I probably spent 4 to 5 hours in total on the revision. Add another 2 hours in meetings. To be honest, I don’t know how I would react if I don’t get any Level 1s again (Level 2s are too far-fetched at this stage).

I most likely will not hear back until the end of July so I will post an update then. I also hope to hear good news so I can write a post with some tips on how to write your PERT report. If not… I guess I can still write a post on what not to do. 😢

Getting Level 0s for My PERT – Initial Response

May 19, 2020

I just received an email from CPA notifying me that the assessment of my first PERT report has been reviewed. I was shocked as it has only been 3 weeks since I submitted it (normally 6 – 8 weeks turnaround). I logged in and found out that all of my technical competencies were assessed at Level 0 meaning I won’t get any of the duration recognized.

I was definitely disappointed as this means a delay of 6 months for CPA certification down the road. However, I should have seen this coming because of the following reasons:

– my responses were brief
– my responses weren’t addressing the questions in the blue question marks
– my responses weren’t recorded under the correct Technical Competency Sub-Area (confirmed by the reviewer)

If you are on the same boat as me, know that it is only natural to feel upset and second-guess yourself after getting rejected like this. However, it is how we respond to failures and rejections that will define us and make us grow.

Instead of feeling defeated, I decided to email the CPABC PER team and ask if I can revise any of my responses. The reviewer’s comments were useful and informative hence I am confident I will be able to structure my responses properly.

If not, I will take the comments and make sure I address all elements in my next report.

xoxo Jen