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CPA Exam Mistake #7: Not Focusing on the Ways You Learn Best

Strategy FAQ: One Day of Rest Before Exam

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Is it best to get a full day of relaxation to clear your mind for the exam? I always took a day off before the exam date but I don't know if I should relax until the exam time or study for a number of hours beforehand. - ews1949

Advice via CPAnet Forum

Time off before the exam? Not for me! I would take short walks if I needed a mental rest, but otherwise I studied non-stop the day before and the day of the exam. - AndrewCPA


I agree with Andrew. I completely organize every hour for the five days before I take an exam. I make sure I get 8 hours of sleep, and 3 meals a day, but otherwise I focus on specific topics and material. - mcannon1104


I never touched any of my review materials in the 36 or so hours preceding the exam, which usually meant not looking at anything (exam related) on exam day or the day before. It is my opinion that if you've prepared adequately then you should spend your final pre-exam hours resting and relaxing.  In my opinion, the benefits of a rested mind outweigh the benefits associated with cramming or reviewing any material prior to the exam.  But nonetheless everyone has their own styles and methods of learning. As a disclosure, I used to cram before every exam and then one day realized it was a terrible strategy for my own habits since you would rely on memorization (bad) rather than actual accumulated knowledge (good).  If I were you I would relax and do something you enjoy.  Of course relaxation means something different for everyone, but I spent my time reading (non-exam material), playing video games, and sipping on scotch. - stochastic


Interesting philosophy stochastic! My (hopefully) final exam is on the 25th at 8:30 AM, so instead of getting up early to study at 5 AM, I might just try not cracking a book at all that day, and focusing on getting to the exam in one piece. - Coastergenius


stochastic, it's obvious, given your scores (including non CPA scores) that you are a unique person and a great test taker. I say this without being facetious or wise and I truly salute you. 

Some people, like me, would not get those scores. I have never been a good test taker and it has never been from a lack of trying. I work hard at everything I do and get very passionate about reaching any goal whether its competing in marathon or passing the exam. I am two for two so far with REG and AUD left.

My point is, many of us, need that extra push to get us through and frankly there is no shame in that. At the end of the day, it's not where you start that's where you end up that counts.  Good luck to you in your future endeavors. - Ozzman


I tried both strategies. I pulled an all nighter for FAR because I wasn't prepped properly and knew it. I wasn't going to get any sleep any way. I squeaked by with a 77%

If I am properly prepped, then I do not study the day before. Doing that always gets me confused on something I had nailed down, then frustrated as I spend time nailing it down again, etc. I chase my tail. The only things I touched were the mnemonics, since memorizing is short term memory. Can't tell you how much a good night's sleep and good breakfast will do for your score.

If you are not going to get any sleep, or won't be able to relax, then study. But pick the topics you are consistently not scoring well on and, one at a time, pull it apart and figure out what you learned incorrectly and fix it. Don't spend all day or night thrashing, touching all the topics erratically, and ratcheting up your anxiety levels but not gleaning much clarity. - oldog new trics


I wish I had the guts to relax today before I take my AUD exam tomorrow! I just feel like if there's one topic that I can get a little more clarity on, I'll be better off for it. However, my studying stops at 7 pm tonight! I'm vegging in front of the TV to catch up on the DVR that I've neglected for weeks. Tomorrow morning I will review some flashcards I made, and then eat a good breakfast and take
the exam. Tomorrow night, I will partake in a couple, three, or 12 beers. ;) - Cathie


I like to go into exams well rested and with a fresh mind!!! - RustomRupand


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