Studying for the CPA exam at any point in your career is not an easy task to accomplish. Whether you just graduated college or have been working in the corporate world for years, it can be tough to manage and find the time to effectively prepare for the exam. As a mom of two, who is currently studying for the CPA exam, here are a few tips to help those planning to take the CPA exam while also managing a busy lifestyle.
1. Plan your Study Schedule
Once you have scheduled your exam and have a test date set, prepare a study plan. I currently use Becker for my CPA exam preparation. Becker breaks up the section I am studying into weekly study hours. Because I need to plan my study sessions around soccer games and daily homework time with my kids, this tool is extremely helpful in keeping me on track. If I know that I have a busy week ahead of me, I can easily adjust my hours of studying per day.
2. Find a Routine
Our evenings can be very busy most days with cooking dinner, having family time, getting the kids ready for bed, and more. Therefore, the majority of my studying must get completed in the morning. When I was first starting to find a routine that worked for me and my schedule, I had the great idea of waking up at 4 AM to study, but I quickly discovered that schedule wouldn’t work for me. Still early in the morning, I now wake up at 5 AM and get one to two hours of studying before it’s time to take my kids to school. If it’s a day that I am going into the office and I know that I will not have time in the morning, I adjust my schedule to studying in the afternoon. Finding a routine that works best for you and being consistent will help you find some balance and stability.
3. Be Realistic
When coming up with your study schedule, try to set realistic goals. Whether its activities with your family, hobbies or volunteering, we all have other aspects of our lives that make it hard to find the time to fit in a study session. It would be ideal if we had the time to get everything that we wanted to do done but, sometimes things come up and our plans need to be rearranged. It’s a possibility that you may only have time to learn one lecture, or you can only get through one set of multiple-choice questions, but we can only try our best to stay consistent. Regardless of how little time you spent actively studying, seeing the information will give you a better chance of remembering and retaining it in the long run.
4. Take Care of Yourself!
One thing that has been somewhat difficult to manage is prioritizing time for self-care. At the end of the day, if I am not taking care of myself then I will not be able to do my best on the exam. Make sure that you are eating well, getting rest, and taking breaks when needed. It can seem impossible, but you must make time for yourself. If you don’t take that extra time, not only will your studying be affected but all other priorities as well.
Hopefully, these tips will give you some strategies to help you successfully study, prepare and pass the CPA Exam. We all know how difficult it can be to try to balance it all, but it’s only a short-term challenge that will yield great rewards in the long run once accomplished.
Good luck to anyone who has an exam coming up soon!