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CPA Exam Stress Advice: 8 Tips to Avoid Burnout

CPA Exam Stress Advice: 8 Tips to Avoid Burnout

Preparing for the CPA Exam requires quite a bit of time and effort. It’s common for candidates to devote hundreds of hours to studying. This exhausting schedule may help you learn the material, but it can also lead to serious burnout. 

Burnout is the aftermath of CPA Exam stress piling up as the days go on. Even if you’re dedicated to your CPA goal, you might still feel pressured and worn out when you think about trying to pass the exam. These negative feelings can interfere with your progress. 

Avoiding burnout revolves around taking care of yourself. Pay attention to your body and emotions so the feeling of being burned out can’t creep up on you. With the right steps, your CPA prep sessions will always be focused and productive. Here are eight tips to help you stay motivated and focused during your studies.

How To Deal with CPA Exam Stress

1. Break up your schedule

Studying for 12 hours straight every day is tempting, but it’s likely not sustainable as a CPA study plan. The CPA Exam is robust, and you need to understand some tough subjects. If you study too much at once, it can actually make it harder to retain the knowledge. Instead, break your learning into smaller, more manageable chunks. For example, if you want to study for eight hours, move around and take breaks every hour. Something as simple as a five-minute stretch can rejuvenate you.

2. Set goals

Managing CPA Exam stress might be easier if you set specific goals. Figure out how many sections you want to review every day and create a manageable schedule. Sure, you want to blaze through all the material as quickly as possible, but that could lead to burnout.

When you complete a goal, give yourself a small reward. For example, if you review four topics in one day, allow yourself to watch an episode of your favorite show. Having something to look forward to can help ease the pressure you feel while studying.

3. Create a support group

Many people feel isolated when studying for the CPA Exam. But you don’t have to go through the process alone. Find friends or family members who are willing to listen to you occasionally vent about your CPA Exam stress. If you can’t find anyone in your personal life, look for an online support group.

Talking to other people who are going through the same experience can really put things in perspective. You might even be able to offer advice to others based on what you’ve learned from your exam prep journey.

4. Get plenty of sleep

Don’t pull all-nighters trying to study. Sleep is essential for memory retention. Most people need around 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Consider going to bed a little earlier so you can get the rest that you need. You also might want to take a nap during the day. A 20-minute power nap can improve your alertness and help you feel refreshed. Make sure you don’t nap for too long, though, or you’ll feel groggy when you wake up.

5. Eat healthy meals

When you’re stressed, it’s easy to reach for unhealthy comfort foods. But junk food won’t do you any favors when it comes to CPA Exam stress. Eating a nutritious diet can improve your focus and concentration. Make sure to eat breakfast every day, and try to keep healthy snacks like fruit and nuts on hand in case you get hungry while studying.

6. Exercise regularly

Wondering how to ease stress from CPA Exam study sessions? Exercise may be the answer you’ve been missing. Even a short 10-minute walk can help improve your mood and clear your head. If you have more time, consider going for a run or taking a yoga class.

Regular exercise can also help improve your sleep quality. Just be sure not to exercise too close to bedtime, or you might have trouble falling asleep.

7. Set aside time for relaxation

In addition to exercise, there are other relaxation techniques that can help reduce stress. Meditation and deep breathing exercises can calm your mind and ease anxiety. Listening to soothing music or reading a book can help you relax and refocus when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Try to schedule some downtime into your study schedule. Allow yourself an hour or two each day to do something you enjoy, unrelated to the CPA Exam. This is essential to managing CPA Exam stress.

8. Make your goal known

When you’re preparing for the CPA Exam, most of your free time will likely be devoted to studying. This means that you won’t have a lot of time to hang out with friends and family. It’s important to set boundaries with the people in your life, so they can be supportive toward your career aspirations.

Explain to your loved ones that you’ll be busy studying and might not be able to participate in some social activities for a while. Let them know that you still appreciate their support and will make time for them when you can.

The CPA Exam is undeniably challenging, so studying is going to be taxing. However, by taking care of your physical and mental health, you can prevent burnout and maintain your focus during the long study process. Gleim offers a variety of resources to help candidates stay on track while preparing for the CPA Exam. Visit our CPA Exam prep page to explore our offerings and get started on your path to success.