My CPA Journey – Writing Core 2 Exam at Home

I just finished my Core 2 exam at home an hour ago and boy, was it hard!

As mentioned in my previous updates, I had been studying for 6 weeks every day with the exception of maybe 3 days so I was as prepared as I could be. Yet, the exam was still quite challenging for me.

If you ask me right this second, I think I passed. I don’t think I did an awesome job but I do believe I did well enough to pass. However, as I will discuss near the end of this post, I will change my mind multiple times until the results are released.

This post is not meant to scare you and if you are reading this before your CPA PEP exam, remember the pass rate for first-time writers is at least 79.4% in 2019 (79.4 to 90.6% depending on the module). This means you are way more likely to pass than not!

I also want to address the issues with potential cheaters because the exam writers won’t be monitored by a webcam. CPA has communicated to us that all of our submissions will be submitted for plagiarism check but I know many of us have heard from friends of friends that some people planned to cheat or write together. I had the same concerns because that would put me (and all other honest writers) in a disadvantaged position.

After going through the exam myself, I honestly thought there was no way someone had time to cheat. There were many Assessment Opportunities to analyze and discuss so time was extremely limited. The exam was challenging but was not impossible. If you had put in the effort, you will be fine while withholding the values of a CPA.

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

What Was The Format for The Core 2 Exam?

Before COVID, both Core 1 and Core 2 exams consisted of a one-hour case (25%) and MCs (75%, also called the Objective Format Questions). We had 4 hours for the exam and we would write it at an exam center in the city you chose when you registered.

Since we were writing the exam at home, the exam format has changed to 2 one-hour cases with no MC. Including the transition time, the whole exam was just under 3 hours long (8:55 – 11:45 AM PST).

How Did Writing the Core 2 Exam at Home Work?

Time (PST)Action Items
8:55 AMDownload Case #1
9:00 to 10:00 AMRock the case by spotting all AOs and analyze them all!
10:00 – 10:15 AMSubmit your Case #1 to dropbox (if the site crashed, email student support)
10:25 AMDownload Case #2
10:30 to 11:30 AMRock the case by spotting all AOs and analyze them all!
11:30 – 11:45 AMSubmit your Case #2 to dropbox (if the site crashed, email student support)
Time Table for Writing Core 2 Exam at Home

The first case was made available at 8:55 AM PST, 5 minutes before the official start time. It seemed we all had trouble accessing the case PDF since the website was overloaded with traffic. It took me the whole 5 minutes to download the case so I was glad they made it available earlier.

The official end time for the first case was 10 AM PST but the dropbox for the submission remained open until 10:15 AM PST. It was encouraged that you submit your case right at 10 AM to avoid any IT issues if you had waited. Alternatively, if the site crashed, we can email our submissions to student support at CPA (email address is provided in the exam instructions).

After the dropbox closed for Case #1, we had a 10-minute break before Case #2 was available for download (also 5 minutes before the official start time). The site was a little bit faster this time so I was able to get a 1-minute head start (what can I say, every second counted).

The dropbox also remained open for 15-minutes after the one-hour mark. However, once again, we were encouraged to submit the case on-time to avoid any IT issues.

My suggestion is to read the exam instructions carefully so you can make notes of the following items:

  • start and end times for the cases in your time zone
  • email address for submission if the site crashes
  • the naming convention for your submissions
  • way to access IT support during the exam

~ 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?

Do I Prefer Writing the Exam at Home or at the Exam Center?

I prefer exams over assignments so I don’t usually get anxious on exam day. Yet, it was very different for me this time. I woke up at 6:30 AM (a little later than usual) and didn’t do much other than eating breakfast (Eric picked up coffee and sandwich for me) and playing on my phone. I reluctantly reviewed my notes for about 30 minutes when I ran out of things to do and got too anxious.

When I wrote Core 1 at the exam center, I was mostly focused on getting ready in the morning and also getting to the exam center on-time so I did not have time to be anxious about anything. This time, I had too much time sitting around waiting for the exam to begin and that did not sit well with me.

I expect many felt the same way I did as this was the first time writing at home for all of us. We were also all worried about technical issues with our computer or the internet.

In short, I prefer writing at the exam centre because of the hustle in the morning that would take my mind off of things. There was also something soothing about doing it with many other people physically with you. We were literally all on the same boat!

What is My Plan for the Next Month Before My Next Module (Extended Finance Module) Starts?

Work will be busier for the next couple of weeks because of the quarter-end so not having a module to think about is nice. I will focus most of my time on my 2 blogs and also work on some useful Core 2 posts. It is best for me to write them now that the info is still fresh in my mind so I can refer back to it for the CFE study later.

We also have a weekend staycation trip planned for late July so it will be nice to “go away” for the first time since our Sun Peaks Resort “ski trip” in February before COVID changed everything.

Until the results are released on Jul 21, I know I will be going back and forth between thinking I passed or I failed like I did with Core 1. Regardless, I know I have tried my best.

Good luck to everyone who has studied non-stop in the past days/weeks/months. Believe in yourself.