Studying for the CPA Exam While Working Full Time


I think we can all agree that studying for the CPA exam is exhausting enough on its own. Adding this to a full 40-hour work week can seem like a punishment…and studying during busy season sounds ludicrous. In todays day and age, you see every type of student working in public accounting. Some who obtained all 150 credit hours in 4-5 years and sat for the exam, and others who maybe decided to change careers later in their life. For those who are working in public accounting that are not currently CPA certified, but working towards it, here are some tips that can help you achieve the coveted comma and 3 letters after your name:

  1. Try to avoid studying & taking exams during busy season.

Unfortunately, studying and taking an exam during busy season is not completely avoidable, however, if you are able to it is suggested. Busy season is a grind. While working extended hours for those few months, its hard to focus on anything other than work. Trying to cram a few hours of studying after a 10- or 12-hour day is exhausting. After staring at a computer all day, the last thing you want to do is keep looking at a computer or read a textbook. The main thing to remember with studying for the CPA exam is consistency and efficiency. Maybe you will have the wherewithal to study one or two days a week during busy season, but after a long day of auditing or dishing out 1040s those study sessions will not have your full attention.

  1. Treat studying like it is a task at work.

The assumption for most public accountants is that you are either a CPA, or you are taking the necessary steps to obtain licensure, so in most cases it is a work task. Listening to lectures and reading a textbook doesn’t sound like most people’s day-day workflow, it sounds like more college! It is tough to be motivated to study when you have a college degree and put that mindset behind you. Keep that mindset behind you and treat listening to lectures like its another thing to mark off your work to-do list. Staying in the office after hours to keep that mindset can be beneficial. Putting in those study hours right after you finish work for the day can help avoid taking that “break” that never ends.

  1. Dedication & Consistency.

Find your groove and stick to it. Creating a study schedule and sticking to it will pay dividends in the long run. Studying the material on a consistent basis is crucial to comprehension and recollection when it comes time to take the test.

Everyone has a different style of learning, so most importantly do what is best for you. Stay on your grind and you’ll have that licensure and suffix in no time.

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