Should You Remark (Appeal) CPA Core 1 and Core 2 Exam?

CPA Canada allows candidates to attempt the PEP Core 1 and Core 2 modules three times. At each unsuccessful attempt, candidates can ask for re-marking (appeal). This is done for a fee, and only within a specific timeframe outlined by CPA. In this article, I’ll discuss under what circumstances you can submit an appeal.

Look at the decile ranking

When deciding to submit your Core 1 or Core 2 exam for a remark, it’s important to understand the concept of decile rankings, as this helps to make your decision. It’s important to note that a decile ranking is only provided if you failed the exam.

Decile ranking is a statistical measure that tells writers who were unsuccessful how close they were from passing. If you received a decile ranking between 1-3, this means you were close to passing. If you received decile ranking above 7, this means you were far off passing.

This article shows how to find your decile ranking and examples are available here.

Should you ask for re-mark?

To decide, first check which exam portion you didn’t pass: MCQs, case portion, or both. If you didn’t pass due to MCQs, there is no point in asking for re-marking, because MCQs are objective.

If you did well on MCQs, but didn’t pass the case-portion, then look at your decile ranking. Decile above 2 is further from passing and submitting a remark is not recommended. If you receive a decile 1 or 2, a remark is a possible option for you.

Note that the chances are very low that your remark will be successful (~1% success rate). For this reason I don’t recommended it for most. However, below I’ve given guidelines based on my experience of successful remarks:

  • If you received 3 NCs in the case, no matter what your other grades are, I don’t suggest asking for a re-mark.
  • If you received 2 NCs in the case, the rest of your results are C, and your decile is 1-2, you can try asking for a re-mark.
  • If you received 1 NCs in the case, the rest of your results are C, and your decile is 1-2, you can again try asking for a re-mark.

As noted, the chances are low and you’re better off re-attempting the exam with the help of a tutor.

Extra resources

Extra Core 1 and Core 2 resources are available at PEP Review courses.