Surviving the CPA Exam


The CPA Exam, and the months spent preparing for it, can be one of the most challenging times of your life. It’s full of studying, practice tests, more studying, and a little less free time than before.

While it may seem like too much to handle at times, any CPA would tell you the same thing: it’s worth it. All the time and effort, the studying and testing, the worrying and waiting, all end in an accomplishment that will stay with you for the rest of your career.

It may seem like a lot right now, but everything that you’re learning now is just a stepping stone to becoming the accounting expert that you aspire to be.

Whether you’re just starting your CPA journey or nearing the finish line, here are a few tips to help you survive the CPA Exam.


You’ve probably heard the phrase “attitude determines the outcome.” When it comes to preparing for the CPA Exam, this adage couldn’t be more true. The CPA Exam is not a test that you can cram for and just “get through.” The preparation is the most important part of the journey, and the tests are like checkpoints.

It’s a difficult process, and it would be crazy to expect you to be excited and optimistic every time you sat down to study. Luckily you don’t have to be. But you must remember that you’re not studying to pass a test, you’re studying to become a trusted and proven expert in your field.

Of course, positivity helps too. Remember that all that work will pay off, that in the end, you will be the owner of one of the most respected professional certifications of all.


Accountants know better than anyone that balance is key. Yes, preparing for the CPA Exam requires serious effort and time commitments. However, the CPA Exam is not your entire life. Get ready to buckle down, but also be prepared to take care of yourself and your life outside of studying.

Make time for family and friends. Give yourself enough time to rest. Refresh yourself with hobbies and fun events. Your mental, physical, and emotional health are not to be neglected, especially during an arduous journey like the CPA Exam.

Of course, on the other side of that is committing the proper amount of effort and time to your CPA preparation. The CPA Exam requires discipline and commitment.

If you keep yourself balanced, your time spent studying will be more effective and less draining. You’ll be able to stay motivated and be much more effective in the long run.


It’s a distracting world that we live in. Everything is vying for your attention. Social media, television, friends, the dishes in the sink, that practice test you need to do, they’re all competing for your time.

If you’re going to survive the CPA Exam, you have to keep your focus. Prioritizing is key. While you should certainly take the time to stay in touch with your family, maybe that movie that just came out on your favorite streaming service can wait.

More specifically, when you’re studying for the CPA Exam, put away your phone or other devices that might pull your attention away from the task at hand. Give your full focus to your study time. That looks different for everyone, but try to find the way that works best for you. Whatever it is, just make sure the time you spend preparing for the exam is focused.

In the end, surviving the CPA exam comes down to determination and perseverance. If you can keep the right attitude, maintain balance in your life, and keep yourself focused, you’ll be setting yourself up for success.

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