5 Things to Remember While Studying for the CPA Exam


Studying for the CPA Exam can sometimes be, to put it lightly, overwhelming. Granted, that’s a very obvious statement, but it’s amazing how many important practices can be overlooked when you’re in the midst of preparing for the exam; even things that seem to be ‘obvious’.

So in addition to all the study tips we recommend, we thought we’d remind everyone of important things that are easy to forget:

1. Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF):

“Millions of people do not get enough sleep and many suffer from lack of sleep…More than 40% of adults experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least a few days each month.”

National Sleep Foundation (NSF)

Remember that sleep is an important factor to make sure you’re accomplishing your studies efficiently. If you’re someone who still pushes your studies late into the night, sometimes to the point where your brain is no longer retaining the information that’s being crammed into it, then you’re essentially wasting time. 

When you’re designing your study strategy, take your sleep schedule into consideration. While you may not be getting a full recommended eight hours every night if you’re studying, working, and have kids/pets, you don’t want to stretch yourself too thin. Make sure you’re getting at least 6-7 hours of good, proper sleep every night so that you function better the next day to retain information and take care of your work/life/study balance.

2. Eat (Brain Food)

Just as your brain and body need sleep to function properly and efficiently, they also need the right fuel. With a little bit of planning and awareness, you can give your brain the nutrients it needs to function at a high level instead of eating say, the bag of chips you just barely had time to grab from the vending machine at work.

It may seem like studying through lunch is more important than taking time to eat a nutritious meal, but you’d be surprised at how efficiently your brain will function with attention to your diet. 

While you study for the CPA Exam, make sure you’re eating brain foods rich in antioxidants, good fats, vitamins, and minerals that provide energy to benefit both your body and mind.

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3. Exercise 

We understand that you need to spend a significant amount of time at your desk and on the computer when you’re studying for the exam. But remember that blood flow for your overall body can do wonders for your brain’s agility and function.

Your mind and body must work together for optimum performance, so make sure to spend time an equal amount of time stimulating your muscles. 

Use our audio lectures on the mobile app to study and review topics while you’re at the gym, taking a walk around on the block, or doing some stretching exercises in your living room. You don’t have to sacrifice studying to stay physically healthy.

4. Talk

Because the CPA Exam is so consuming, it can be easy to become isolated and closed off to other people. Yes, sacrifices in friends and family time will be necessary, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the benefits of your support system during this stressful time.

So remember to get some social interaction every once in a while. Talk about the reasons why you’re becoming a CPA with a family member or friend to find motivation. Commiserate with study partners, co-workers, or whomever (the CPA forums are a great place to do this) so you’re able to vent your frustration. Just remember there is a big difference between commiserating about your frustrations and totally obsessing.

5. Step Back

While we would never advise students to be nonchalant about their preparation for the CPA Exam, we have seen plenty of students almost give themselves an aneurysm because of all the stress of passing.

But it’s important to keep everything in perspective. If you study you will pass. Don’t panic at the last minute and convince yourself that you’ll fail if you don’t do every multiple choice question in the book just one more time. If you find yourself in panic mode, just take a deep breath and remember all the hard work you’ve put into your studies–you’ll be fine. 

Plus, we’ve got you covered. Our new SmartPath Predictive Technology™ will help you pass the CPA Exam faster with targeted data-driven recommendations on where to focus your studies. 

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