How to Relieve Anxiety Before the CPA Exam


Its 6:00pm. You just got home from work or school not too long ago, fed your cat, pet the dog, and ate a dinner you could barely keep down. At about 7:00pm, you unwind a little bit by watching some Survivor on the ol telly while sipping on some Chamomile tea that, despite its suggestive calming properties, doesnt seem to stop your leg from involuntarily kicking the side of the couch every two seconds. At 8:00pm, you open the books for one last review session, going over the major topics covered in the AUD or BEC section that youre scheduled to test for tomorrow. Before going to bed at 9:00pm, you take one last look at your digital flashcards and attempt to fall asleep.

At leastthats how you imagine things to go. But in reality, during the night before a big event, anything goesespecially when its something youve been preparing for for hours on end and the fate of which mankind depends upon for its continued survival! Or so it seems.

Its the last few days of the testing window to take the CPA Exam. We realize that anxiety levels may be high while sleep hours are running low, but dont worrywere here to help! So put down your highlighters and IPQs and partake in these top tips to whittle away your jitters and get you confident and ready for Exam day!

1. Prepare materials to bring: Put the materials you need to bring in a backpack, purse, Ziploc, or whatever you use to carry your belongings. Place it by the door or alongside your car keys to make sure that you dont forget them. Or, better yet, place all the necessary material into the trunk of your car the night before so you dont have to worry about it in the morning. Remember: you cannot take the test if you do not bring the following materials!

  • Notice to Schedule
  • 2 forms of personal identification, non-expired, one of which must contain a recent photograph (you can find which forms of ID qualify through the Candidate Bulletin on NASBA)

2. Do one final review: Grab the review materials for whichever section(s) youre testing for. Youve heard this during your time in high school and college: dont over cram. Instead, spend an hour or so testing yourself on the topics that will be covered and hit on important subtopics. Skim through the text once to get a more thorough overview so that you have more recent memories of things you tackled in the beginning of your study period. You can also look into areas that you think would help if you had a quick refresh.

3. Read through all of the Exam Day prepping material: This is one of the best things that you can do to help yourself for Exam Day. The biggest mistake candidates make is not reading material thats designed to help them understand what to expect. Carefully read the Candidate Bulletin, Notice to Schedule, and Test Center Regulation Form. This will keep you in the loop of what you can and cannot bring into the test center as well as what will be provided for you. This will also give you a chance to become familiarized with what to do on the introductory exam screens, break policy, and more.

4. Relax: Dont go to sleep stress ridden! After youve prepped materials, reviewed, and read through all the information on what to expect on exam day, take some time to relax in whatever way youd like. Take a hot bath, play some video games, spend time with loved ones, play with your dog, or do some meditative activities such as yoga or breathing exercises. Essentially, do something that you enjoy with a calming effect.

5. Get enough sleep: We know this is probably easier said than done, but we cant stress this one enough. Its recommended that you get to the test center at least 40 minutes before your scheduled test time. Calculate how long it will take you to get there and leave ample time for unpredictable traffic. In addition, see how long it usually takes you to get ready. Once you take those factors into account, set multiple alarms to ensure that you wake up at the right time!

You dont want to wake up the next morning feeling tired, groggy, or completely bent out of shape. Even if youre normally nocturnal, try your best to at least lay in bed early and eventually allow yourself to drift off to sleep. If you dont get enough rest the night before the exam, your brain and body will suffer for it and you may not perform at the top of your game.

Andlast, but not leastheres a bonus tip that you should take with you wherever you go.

6. Dont forget that you are awesome: Remember, the CPA Exam is not an IQ test and certainly will not determine whether or not your grandparents still love you. Youve spent ample time studying, youre well-prepared, and youre one smart and amazing individual. You wouldnt be here doing this without the help and support of your own ambitions. So be confident, stay strong, and most importantly always know that success isnt free. It comes from hard work, dedication, and unbreakable spirit.

Good luck! But we know you wont need it.

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