How to Stay Focused to Study for the CPA Exam

Sometimes, preparing for something as important as the CPA exam can lead to bit of anxiety and stress. This can have an effect on your ability to think clearly since studying for the exam takes a great deal of focus. For a lot of us, we have to remember that focus doesn’t just happen on its own—and we can’t expect it to. It takes intentional effort, and effort requires energy. 

If you’re a morning person like I am, I am at my highest energy level in the mornings.

I am normally working in my office during that time. This is great because it allows me to get a lot of work done quickly. However, around lunchtime, things usually start to slow down for me just a little bit. My focus starts to diminish and I do not complete my tasks with as much vigor as I did earlier in the day. Once I’m home from work, I’m also mentally exhausted. Realizing that this is how the trajectory of my normal weekday is, I realized that I needed to find a way to maintain the energy that I had in the mornings throughout the entire day. 

I know that exercise is a great way to do this. It helps you to de-stress and releases endorphins, which give you a boost of energy. However, being a single parent that also works full-time, I, like many others, do not have the time to get to the gym as often as I would like to. So the other healthy alternative I have to remain energized is with a healthy meal plan. It definitely works!

Once I began to make better eating choices, my energy levels began to increase.

Eating a good breakfast sets the tone for my day. At lunch, I try not to eat anything too heavy, as to prevent the sluggish, sleepy feeling that can occur when I eat too much in the middle of the day. Lastly, a light, balanced dinner that includes lots of vegetables works great for me too. I squeeze in a few snacks during the day as well. Most importantly, water helps increase energy, and I drink a lot of it, as should all of us!

Now that I know how to take care of my body to keep the energy up, I knew that I also had to take care of my mind.

One cannot function without the other, and as a CPA Exam candidate, it’s important for both to be alert and awake. To make sure that my mind is in the best state of focus possible, I eliminate anything that can be a distraction when I study. This means shutting off all unnecessary electronics, making sure I have all my errands done for the day, and being in a place that perpetuates a healthy study atmosphere. I keep my desk clear of clutter, have all of my study tools with me, and do a breathing exercise before I sit down to study. 

I do all of this to ensure that my brain is working at an optimal level, allowing me to think clearly.

Keeping your mind and body as healthy as possible throughout this journey will get you much farther much quicker. Now, I am fully coherent during the lectures and have better clarity when I am reading my study manual. My advice during this journey is to be aware of what you are putting into your body and to clear your mind from unnecessarily stressful thoughts. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, and lots of water into your meals. It truly affects how well your brain performs. You will maximize your ability to focus, which is essential. In addition, you will be alert and full of energy while winning at getting ready for the exam.

–Kimberly Smith, Guest Blogger for Roger CPA Review 

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