CPA Exam Study Tips: to Sleep or to Study? (Hint: Sleep!)

Our friend over at Accounting Elf has written a blog post that draws attention to the importance of sleep as it pertains to studying for the CPA Exam. “…losing out on sleep absolutely destroys my ability to sit down and study,” she says, regretfully. As it turns out, she’s not the only one experiencing this difficulty.

Most likely, our readers won’t consider this a revelation. The odds are good that the majority of CPA candidates choose to sacrifice sleep to cram in more study time, get chores done, or simply to engage in some recreational activity. While it seems like a reasonable choice on the surface, depriving yourself of sleep can have serious consequences beyond diminished concentration.

Lack of sleep can cause dramatic health problems, including decreased immune system performance and longer healing times. It can also contribute to mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. Your degraded performance may be noticed by those around you, such as loved ones, or co-workers. In the worst case scenarios, you may even be considered unsafe to drive a vehicle.

Many studies have been done about sleep deprivation and its effects on academic performance. However, recent studies have illustrated more vividly the connection between quantity and quality of sleep and overall mental performance. It should come as no surprise that those who lack consistent quality sleep schedules perform at levels far below those who make sure to get regular, undisturbed rest.

While this most recent report is focused on the performance of college students, CPA Exam candidates should pay close attention. Many candidates tend to “burn the midnight oil.” This can be especially true of those with young children, or sporadic work schedules. While it seems as though you’re gaining precious time to study by staying up late or waking up an hour or two earlier, you may actually be wasting that extra time because your brain isn’t operating at peak efficiency for learning and memorization functions.

Before you decide to ignore those dark circles under your eyes, take a good look at how you’re spending your time. Perform an honest time audit, and see if you really do need to give up that precious siesta. You may find study time in places you didn’t expect to.

Remember, it’s not about how much you study. It’s more about how WELL you study, and how much you LEARN.

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