Best CPA Exam Study Environments

cpa exam study

Studying for the CPA Exam is a long process. If you pass every section the first time, it can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months to complete the entire exam. When you’re making that much of a time investment, you’ll want to maximize every minute of your preparations. To keep yourself from wasting the one to two hours a day you spend studying, you should equip yourself with everything you need to make the most of your daily CPA Exam study sessions.


  1. Where Should You Study for the CPA Exam?
  2. CPA Exam Study Environment Essentials
  3. CPA Exam Study Environment Extras
  4. Best CPA Exam Study Environments
  5. Best CPA Exam Study Materials

Where Should You Study for the CPA Exam?

A productive CPA Exam study session has two key ingredients. First, you’ll need flexible and comprehensive CPA self-study materials. Next, you’ll need an ideal location. Find the perfect place for your review by learning about the best CPA Exam study environments. Then, get more information that will set you up for exam success by checking out our free CPA Exam Guide.

CPA Exam Study Environment Essentials

You’ll frequent your CPA Exam study spot a lot, so it needs to be a good one. A suitable study area allows you to focus on your review rather than get distracted by little things. Before you camp out somewhere with your laptop and books, confirm that your current environment includes these study essentials:

  • Comfortable seating

    The way your body is positioned for an extended period of time can either help or hinder your concentration. Even if just one small part of you is enduring pain, it can totally derail your study efforts. When you’re not relaxed, your mind starts to wander. Once you realize you’re uncomfortable, you won’t be able to stop fidgeting. Prevent constant re-positioning by selecting a study environment with plush chairs, plenty of legroom, space to spread out, a solid surface for your laptop in front of you, and whatever else you need to be at peace with your posture, thus allowing you to be free to focus.

  • Tolerable temperature

    Temperature is just as important to your study environment as seating. Being too hot or too cold can be equally bad. You want a heat setting that is just right so that you don’t have to think about it. If you don’t mind bundling up under blankets or basking in the breezy wind of a fan while you study, then use these materials to adjust to the climate as necessary. If the blowing air or constricting covers would consume any of your concentration, then try to relocate to a place where the thermostat is set at your heart’s desire.

  • Storage space

    A good CPA review course will provide plenty of study options that meet your learning needs. When putting in a prolonged study session in your favorite study spot, you should keep all of these materials close by so you have what you need to grasp the exam content. Therefore, your study environment should accommodate your materials with ample and easily accessible space. If you don’t have a desk to put your laptop on or a container that will keep your bag safe, you might want to reconsider that site.

  • Quiet atmosphere

    The noise level in your study location should promote your fixation on your review, not prevent it. Some of us can only concentrate in the midst of absolute silence, while others manage to direct their minds better when immersed in a gentle hum of activity or instrumental music. For most of us, nearby conversations, loud noises, or music with lyrics are not conducive to our concentration, so you should avoid studying in such particularly clamorous places.

  • Sufficient lighting

    Studying in a poorly-lit setting can not only affect your ability to see your study materials, but it can also inflict physical ailments, such as eye strain, headaches, and bad posture. Your productivity may suffer as well because bad lighting can leave you feeling sluggish and tired. Whether you prefer natural or artificial light, make sure that your study spot supplies an abundance of it.

  • Restroom facilities

    This criterion may seem obvious, but sometimes our drive to get the daily study session done can blind us to our basic needs. If your quest for the perfect place to study leads you to some idyllic but rather remote location, your subsequent search for a bathroom when the need arises can end up interrupting your extremely profitable study session for a ruinous period of time. Don’t become too much of a wilderness explorer for the sake of discovering a rustic study retreat unless you’re willing to forgo standard restroom amenities as well.

CPA Exam Study Environment Extras

If your CPA Exam study environment possesses the most mandatory features, you can assess it for these extras that may further benefit your situation.

  • Electricity

    If you’ll be using your laptop, phone, tablet, etc., away from home for a while, consider whether these items can hold their charge long enough or if your study spot will need to include electrical outlets so you can preserve the life of your electronics.

  • Seclusion

    Your dorm lounge or your home kitchen may be convenient, but they can also be crawling with people, so you should probably pass on having your study session in one of these places unless you’ll be studying with a group.

  • Nourishment

    Depending on when you study, you don’t always need your study environment to come with a full meal, but you may want some snacks on hand as you progress through your course for a few hours. Bring some food along or set up your materials in a cafe or near a vending machine.

Best CPA Exam Study Environments

Knowing the necessities of your CPA Exam study environment can help you evaluate nearby options, but you can also use this quick list of pros and cons for traditional study scenes to determine your ultimate venue for exam review. Consult this analysis before you venture out for your next study session.

Study Environment Pros and Cons

  • Bedroom
    • Pros: close, comfortable, familiar
    • Cons: potentially distracting and sleep-inducing
  • Living Room
    • Pros: more space and seating options
    • Cons: temptation to turn on the TV or talk with family
  • Home Office
    • Pros: secluded area and structured work space
    • Cons: issues of home life could possibly still creep in
  • Work Office
    • Pros: presence of other employees may encourage productivity
    • Cons: hard to stay a minute longer when you’re there all week
  • Library
    • Pros: peace, quiet, and plenty of places to sit
    • Cons: having to pack up all your stuff to visit the restroom
  • Coffee Shop
    • Pros: low-key vibe and hard-working students serve as inspiration
    • Cons: compulsion to buy lots of food and coffee
  • Hotel Room
    • Pros: everything you need to study
    • Cons: everything you need to procrastinate
  • Airport/Airplane
    • Pros: opportunity to study while you travel
    • Cons: crowded with a chance of turbulence

Best CPA Exam Study Materials

Now that you know what to look for, pinpointing the best CPA Exam study environment can be quite simple. Finding the best CPA exam prep can be just as easy when you want a course that offers exceptional coverage, cutting-edge technology, unparalleled support, and unmatched results. You’ll find them all in Gleim CPA Review, a truly adaptive CPA review course that detects your strengths and weaknesses and then guides you through the content so you can master the topics and build your confidence.