7 ways to celebrate taking the CPA Exam

5 min read
Celebrating after taking the CPA exam

Taking the CPA Exam requires months of rigorous studying and focus culminating in four hours of exhausting testing. That commitment means foregoing your free time to make sure you’re rock-solid on your CPA knowledge, which can make it easy to fall victim to a cycle of stress, overwork and burnout from cramming without pausing to rest and recognize your hard work. This is especially common for professionally pivotal exams--like the CPA Exam--that can feel like a make-it-or-break-it moment in your career. So, after you take the exam, you deserve to reward yourself for how much you’ve already accomplished. Not only is it fun, it’s also good for your health. 

Why is it important to celebrate after taking the CPA Exam? 

We can thank the dopamine in our brains for giving us feel-good vibes¹ when we win a proposal, solve a hard problem or complete a big project. By celebrating these wins, you teach your brain to recognize and repeat the same actions that got you to this happy state. But if you dive right back into work, instead of giving into the dopamine release, you could create sustained, high stress levels and even get addicted to being stressed. Over time, this behavioral pattern can lead to health problems², such as a weakened immune system, hypertension or mental health issues. To stay healthy and prevent burnout, try rewarding yourself after taking each of the four sections of the CPA Exam and see how you feel. If you’re at a loss for how to acknowledge key milestones, check out the list we put together for some ideas. 

#1. Have a night out 

Whether this means going out to a fancy meal, drinks or dancing, letting your hair down can feel cathartic and good for the soul, especially after a long stint of hunkering down with your books. After you finish a section of the exam, it’s nice to put the books away for an evening to get dressed up and leave the comforts of home once in a while. 

#2. Or stay in

Taking the CPA Exam can be physically and mentally exhausting, so it may be better to prioritize your rest and relaxation. Catching up on much-needed sleep, bingeing your favorite shows and ordering takeout can be therapeutic. Picking up the book that’s sitting, half-finished, on your nightstand may offer you a chance to recharge your battery as well. . #3 

#3. Treat yourself 

If you’ve been waiting for the right occasion to pull the trigger on an item you’ve been eyeing, this is your sign to click “place order.” Or if you haven’t, put something on your wish list you’ve wanted, and purchase it after you take a section of the CPA Exam. Associating a celebratory purchase with your diligence and grit trains your brain to “work hard and play hard” again--a much healthier behavior cycle than “all work and no play.” 

#4. Plan a date night 

Having a motivating support system is essential to achieving your CPA Exam goals, so who better to celebrate with you on a date night than your partner or best friends? They’ve been your biggest supporters throughout your journey and would be thrilled to have a reason to hang out and toast your achievement. 

#5. Log off and get away 

Sometimes you need a hard reset after a period of stress and hard work, and a change of scenery may give you that chance. If you can, book a trip (big or small) for a long weekend or a few days away after the exam. Studies have shown that having something to look forward to can boost your mood and minimize stress³, which motivates you to push through the hard parts of studying for the exam. 

#6. Prioritize your hobbies 

Enjoying a hobby is often an underrated way to spend your time, particularly in productivity-driven cultures. But allowing yourself to paint, write, garden or play your favorite sports, for example, gives you the space to clear your mind and “fill your cup.” If you’ve put your favorite pastime on the back burner until after taking the CPA Exam, consider re-prioritizing it now that you have a break from studying. Like planning a trip, partaking in hobbies has restorative benefits⁴, such as lowering blood pressure and boosting overall life satisfaction. 

#7. Make memories with an experience 

For others, the best reward isn’t something you can buy at a store, but the memories you make from a unique experience. A few options for the more adventurous type include: 

  • An immersive live theater show where you can be a part of the story 
  • Escape rooms that test you and your friends’ abilities to work together and solve fun puzzles
  • A winery, walking city or food tour that shows you how the “sauce” is made (literally) and teaches you about your surroundings 
  • Sporting events where you can root for your favorite team 
  • Comedy shows that help you forget about your worries through laughter⁵ 

Becker is your equation for success 

You don’t need high scores to justify celebrating taking the CPA Exam. Becoming eligible, applying for the CPA Exam and then preparing for hundreds of hours to sit for the exam is a remarkable feat on its own. But if you want to be Exam Day ReadySM, Becker can help. You already have the commitment, drive, and discipline, and Becker has the tools, resources, and support you need to successfully complete your journey to earning your CPA license. 

Get a 14-day free trial of our leading CPA Exam Review today to see why students have been calling it essential to their success.




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