Most people have difficulty studying with total concentration. In this day and age, we are always checking our smart phone or an email during our study schedule. Studying in this manner is highly ineffective, especially when trying to go through a mountain of CPA study material.
Here are some CPA study tips that I’ve learned over the years:
- First of all, disconnect the Internet on your computer. You need to remove all temptation to “look something up.” You need to physically remove the Ethernet cable from your computer or turn off your modem in order for this strategy to be effective. It sounds extreme but it works. Many studies have noted that it takes five minutes for one to concentrate on a task after being interrupted. If you are checking email every five minutes or walking into the kitchen every ten minutes, you are barely concentrating on the CPA exam material.
- When it comes to CPA studying, silence is golden. One strategy is to buy some earplugs that block out most noise. Give this strategy a try and you’ll be surprised at how even faint noises distract your mind. Other people prefer classical music and some believe that background music (without words) improves concentration. I find total silence to be more effective.
- Chew peppermint gum? Yes, there are recent studies suggesting that peppermint gum increases test scores. Baylor university conducted a study in 2009 where 62 students were given peppermint gum during study periods. Test scores increased for these students.
- Take regular breaks. It is generally recommended to take a ten minute break every 50 minutes. During your break you can stretch, eat or bounce a tennis ball which is highly relaxing.
- Drink tea instead of coffee. The caffeine rush from tea is generally considered to be smoother than coffee. Many people feel that the caffeine rush from tea is more mild and is released over a longer period of time.
It is always best to try out different techniques to improve concentration. Since the margin of failure is so small on the CPA exam, an increase in productivity of only 10% can be the difference between failing and passing.