What to Do the Day Before the CPA Exam

10 min read

The months of preparation, endless studying, and time away from family and friends have all come down to this. It’s time to take your CPA Exam.

So don’t let any last-minute anxiety affect how well you do. Here are a few simple tips to ensure you are well-rested, alert, and ready to achieve a passing score.

Don’t cram

Intense, last-minute study sessions probably aren’t going to help. Trust that you have done everything needed by using the Becker methodology and are among the most prepared for the CPA exam.

If there are a few areas of concern you want to brush up on, read through your notes and/or flashcards. You may choose to read through multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations, but I suggest you read the correct answer only.

This reinforces the “right” answer rather than risk reinforcing the “wrong.” Whatever you choose to do, just don’t overdo it.

Get a good night’s sleep

A good night’s rest is critical to doing well on the exam. I realize this may be difficult because you may be anxious, but get as much rest as possible. Your body will thank you in the morning.

Eat healthy meals

What you eat the night before and the morning of the exam is important. Don’t let a grumbling stomach distract you halfway through the test. On the other hand, don’t be too full or on a sugar high.

Think high protein, moderate carbs, and low sugar. This will help keep you alert the whole time with minimal high and low peaks.

Map out your route

Map the route to the testing center the night before and have directions printed out or available on your GPS.

You might want to consider a “test drive” to the location in advance so you know exactly where you’re going. If you are able to do this, go the same time of day as your exam so rush hour traffic doesn’t surprise you. Also, don’t forget to scope out parking facilities.

Make sure you arrive at the exam site at least 30 minutes before your appointment time. Any later and you run the risk of being denied permission to sit and won’t be eligible for a refund of the fees you’ve paid.

Have your two forms of ID and Notice to Schedule (NTS) ready

Any of the following are acceptable as long as they’re valid:

  • Driver’s license
  • State ID
  • Passport
  • Military ID card

The name on your NTS has to match the identification you present. Without your NTS, you won’t be admitted to the test center, and you’ll forfeit all your examination fees for that exam section.

Layout comfortable clothes

Dress in layered clothing so you can stay calm, comfortable, and productive in any condition.

Relax and do something you enjoy

Try to take your mind off of things and force yourself to relax a bit. Go for a walk, watch a movie, or read a book. Do something to take a break from your intense study routine.

Last thing

Take a positive can-do attitude with you. You have put in a lot of time and effort so be confident you can and will do your best.

Good luck!

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