How to Study for the CPA Exam with a Full Time Job

June 12, 2014

Tracie Walker
Tax Staff

How to Make it Work…

After about 6 weeks of studying, I can say I’ve learned a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to studying for the CPA exam.  If you are coming straight out of school and are already in study-mode then I believe you are ahead of the game and can keep riding the wave.  If it’s been awhile since you’ve been in school full-time, then it might take some practice to get back into the habit.

Here is what I have found to be helpful:

  • Take a mental break from the time you get home from work (or class if still in school) to the time you start studying.  I find exercising and relaxing around the house for awhile help to clear the mind.
  • Set a goal.  Each day I tell myself I want to get a certain chapter or subsection completed and keep studying until this is done.  Once the exam date is scheduled, this helps to keep you on track.
  • Take regular breaks.  After sitting all day at work, it’s hard to sit still and study in the evenings.  I find taking small breaks every 30 or 45 minutes helps with my concentration level.  It is also good practice since the CPA exam allows up to a total of 3 breaks, one between each testlet.
  • Practice, practice, practice.  For me, repetition is the key.  I want to remember everything I’m learning, not just for the exam but for my career in accounting.  I find the more I practice problems and work through scenarios, the more I can retain the knowledge.

So, with a little strategy and much dedication, you can balance a full-time work week and a CPA study schedule.