Caring for Body and Mind while Studying for the CPA Exam

28 Jan 2014


Arthur is a NINJA CPA Blogger.


I hope everyone’s studies have been going well. Something that gets overlooked throughout the process of studying for the CPA exam is a candidate’s fitness and diet. To be able to endure the physical and mental punishment that one puts their body through from sitting for hours on end studying is to do the little things to help prepare yourself.

About a year ago, my doctor told me that I really needed to make some changes because I had very high blood pressure for my age. A lot of this can be attributed to my lifestyle as a high-stakes poker player that was constantly traveling on the road. The stress that comes with playing poker for a living takes a huge toll on a person mentally. The mental toll that the CPA exam takes on a candidate is no different.

I realize that many candidates do not have the luxury to be able to set aside an hour a day to hit the gym. However, I believe that it is imperative that one should at least get some form of exercise at a minimum of three times a week. Even going for a walk for half an hour will allow your body to feel better and clear your head.

Instead of watching Sportscenter or Big Bang Theory reruns on the couch when you get home, go straight to the gym after work and jog on the treadmill for a mile. Most gyms have televisions so you may as well be proactive while you watch your entertainment. You can also go over your NINJA Flashcards on your iPad or phone while you walk on the treadmill.

There are many ways to improve your diet as well. I was able to make some small changes that have given me great results over the past year. I completely eliminated soda and juices with sugar from my drink selection. I only drink water and coffee while I study. It is important to stay hydrated and drink water throughout the day.

I am sure many of you also like your coffee with cream and/or sugar. I just drink my coffee black and have actually grown accustomed to the natural taste. I also vastly reduced my salt intake with food as well. These are not impossible changes to make but it is important to develop a habit and overcome the cravings.

I have been able to lose 20 pounds over the past year while getting my blood pressure back to normal levels from these minor changes. My stamina during my CPA exam studies has progressively increased over the course of the past eight months.

Preparing for the CPA exam is extremely taxing on your body. Test day is also difficult and it is important to be able to maintain focus throughout the entire exam. This is especially true for FAR and Audit since they are four hours long.

Becoming physically tired should not be a variable you need to worry about during the test. Making these small life changes will go a long way in helping you during the studying process as well as improving your long-term health.

Good luck and keep up the hard work NINJAs!

Leave a Reply


Jeff 10 years ago

I have to say that I'm feeling pretty irritated today. I took BEC yesterday for the second time, (first time was about a year ago). I studied diligently for the past 6 weeks, then in an attempt to ensure I don't have to study for BEC again, I killed myself over the weekend, re-checking info., finding weak spots and making them strong; doing everything I thought to be correct in preparation. Monday, I was confident, very confident. I studied just a little, but thought it'd be wise to get some extra sleep because I hadn't gotten much over the weekend. Wake up Tuesday and I was struggling to keep my eyes open. Fearful that could happen while taking the exam, I got a few more hours sleep right before it. While I'm taking the exam, what am I doing? I'm falling asleep.... I've never had a worse feeling while taking any type of exam. How I did on the exam I don't know, I suppose time will tell. What irritates me right now is that I KNOW the information, and I know it well, but for the first time in my life I think I bombed a test in whihch I knew 95% of the material very well and 5% somewhat well. Then, I go home and try explain my frustrations to the girlfriend.....nobody gets it. I want this process to be over! I want that little peice of paper to be hanging in my office.

Adam 10 years ago

Jeff, I went through the same exact thing with BEC on Jan. 10--I just had a BAD day when I took the test. I'm waiting (im)patiently for a score to be posted today, knowing that if I squeaked by, I'm done with all 4. I understand where you're coming from on no one knowing what you're going through, too. Keep your chin up, man.

Jeff 10 years ago

Hey thanks Adam. The pent up rage has been extinguished and I'm back on studying for FAR. If I failed, I failed, and will take BEC again. Got a long road ahead of me and a short time to walk it. It's good to know there are others who know what it's like and how it feels. I hope you passed BEC and can be done with it; let me know how it goes. Thanks man.