Mental Preparation Tips for the CPA Exam

10 min read

Studying for the CPA exam is a huge test of mental endurance and, unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. You have to put in the hard work. You will have good study days and bad ones and you may feel like giving up.

But in the end, it’s well worth it. Trust me. You will have conquered one of the most difficult licensing exams and be well on your way to advancing your career.

So hang in there and remember the three P’s—Patience, Practice, and Persistence.


You Won’t Get Everything the First Time – Don’t freak out when you don’t understand something the first time through the review, no one does. You are going to see things that were never or only partially covered in college. Follow your study plan and work the program, you’ll be covered.


Commit to a Study Routine – Formulate a realistic study plan and stick to it. Setting aside a dedicated time to study six days a week will help keep the information fresh. You’ll spend less time reviewing and more time learning the new stuff.

Study in 3-4 hour increments, this is the length of exams. Also, budget a break every few hours when studying. Get up, walk out of room, get some fresh air and give your mind a chance to breathe.

Give yourself one day per week off from studying and do something fun or relaxing.

Turn Off All Devices – Keep your study area device-free. It’s just too tempting and can easily distract you. Close down your Internet browser and email, and turn off your phone, iPad, iPod, and TV.


Understand the Exam is a Marathon, not a Sprint – I’m sure you’ve heard this analogy before, but it bears repeating. The test spans four different sections over multiple testing periods, and cover hundreds of questions.

Put in the work day after day and resist the temptation to slack off. You’ll find the mental toughness and dedication you devoted to studying will prepare you and give you great confidence come exam time.

Get Enough Sleep – This is not only true for the night before your exam, but it also great advice in general. Make sleep a priority as part of your daily study routine; it can play a significant role in your journey to passing the exam.

Not only does sleep give your body time to rest and recharge, it may also be crucial to your brain’s ability to learn and remember.

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