How to Create More Hours for CPA Exam Study?

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How to Create More Hours for CPA Exam Study

This is one of the most popular requests from my readers. Please share your experiences in the comment section of this page. I’d love to make this a lively conversation!

1. Get Up Early

This is (almost) cliché advice, but important. So I’ll suggest how you can consistently get up early to study for the CPA Exam.

One of my most successful methods is to put the alarm clock at the other end of the room. This means you must spend at least 5 seconds getting up, walking to the spot, and stopping the clock. You can overcome the inertia after 5 seconds, and you’re likely to stay awake.

2. Minimize Distractions

For those with a spouse and family, they are often the biggest distraction. So if you can, find a quiet place outside your home – either at your work cubicle or at a local library – so you can spend an hour or so focusing on your study.

If this is not possible (for instance, if you’re a single parent and you can’t leave your kids to go to the library), you can study after putting your kids to sleep. Still, you need to resist the temptation to clean the house, pay the bills, or watch TV.

3. Unclutter Your Workspace

Most busy people don’t care about tidying up their desks, but uncluttering is such a mentally refreshing thing to do. It also removes many distractions, making it easier to focus on the CPA Exam.

4. Combine Family Time and Study Time

Ignoring young kids so that you can study makes you feel incredibly guilty. If you manage to find a way to do both at the same time, you will feel so much better.

I wasn’t married when I took the CPA Exam. However, when my kids were 7 and 4, I had a book deal with Wiley that kept me really busy for a couple of months.

To make life a little easier, I taught my 4-year-old son how to shower on his own while I stayed in the bathroom and wrote on my notepad. For my daughter, since she had already started reading, I took her to the library every Saturday to spend the morning together — she flipped through story books while I typed away.

It wasn’t as efficient as studying on my own, but I felt psychologically healthier, happier, and more motivated because I didn’t feel like I was abandoning my family while working hard.

5. Prioritize Time Based on Your Long-Term Goals

At the end of the day, we cannot create an extra hour in the day. So if you need more studying time, it boils down to prioritization. Cutting idle time, staying efficient, and combining activities work to some degree. But to go deeper, we need real sacrifice.

For instance, let’s say there is a TV show you just can’t live without. Ask yourself — How does this show affect your life in 10 years?

And if you replace this daily routine with an extra hour of studying, what’s the impact? You get more studying done, and then you can pass the CPA Exam faster. One change helps accelerate your path toward your goals and dreams.

cpa far exam tipsNeed More Ideas?

I mentioned a book I wrote for Wiley. Chapter 6 of this book covers ten full pages of tips on how to be more efficient and effective in your studies, together with exam taking strategies (Chapter 7), overcoming the fear of SIMS (Chapter 8), and a lot more. Flip through the pages on Amazon if you are interested.



About the Author Stephanie Ng

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley), and I also passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam on my first try. Additionally, I have led webinars, such as for the Institute of Management Accountants, authored featured articles on websites like Going Concern and AccountingWeb, and I'm also the CFO for the charity New Sight. Finally, I have created other accounting certification websites to help mentor non-CPA candidates. I have already mentored thousands of CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, and CFA candidates, and I can help you too!

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