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>75: That Time of Year Again: Balancing the Exam and Busy Season

Help!.jpgEditor’s note: This is the latest edition of >75, our weekly post on questions that you have related to the CPA Exam. Send your questions to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer as many of them as possible. You can see all of the JDA’s posts for GC here and all our posts related to the CPA Exam here.
Do you have a CPA exam question for >75? Send it in. I’ll be nice I swear. Possibly useful.
So it’s January and some of you are heading into a rough couple of months. With the 18 month clock ticking on the CPA exam, you don’t really have any options but to fight through it. Or argue with people on the Internet. Maybe that’s why you don’t have enough time to study?
Anyway. It’s not easy but remember it is also temporary so as long as you suffer through it a bit (oh please, is it really that bad?), it’s possible. Here are some things I’ve seen work:
Talking to management and partners – I know. You’re going to laugh me out of here (“wtf version of JDA is this?”) but stick with me. Have you asked? I’m not saying this is always a successful method but it can never hurt to ask or let management know you’re taking the CPA exam. Especially if you work in a smaller firm, just talk to someone above you with some pull. I’ve seen it so I know it isn’t impossible.

Cutting out the extraneous crap – You know exactly what I mean. Time management for studying is a lot like budgeting for chronic spenders. I used to burn through paychecks until I actually printed out three months worth of debit and ATM charges and saw how I was $2 and $7 and $14ing my way to $0 in no time. In much the same way, you have to figure out where you are spending your time in a week (or a day if that works better for you). Things that take “a few minutes” (Facebook anyone?) add up so count them.
Not doing too much – One exam is enough if you really are swamped. It’s fine. Just don’t let post April 15th suddenly turn into late August because you were “so wiped out” from busy season. Take a realistic break but don’t get too detached from your goal.
What works for you to get through busy season and the exam? And don’t say trolling accounting websites trying to pick Internet fights.
Good luck? As always, it has nothing to do with circumstance, it’s just discipline.