If you are someone planning to study for the CPA Exam during busy season, then this article is for you.

While it is not always recommended to try to study during busy season, for some of you the clock is ticking and you will have no choice.

So how do you find time to study during busy season?

I want to share with you three step-by-step study strategies that you can implement starting today that will be guaranteed to help you find time to study.

NOTE: Before you implement these strategies you need to communicate with your team your situation and work out a plan with your senior or manager to ensure that you are accomplishing both your work and study time.

Strategy #1: Busy season efficiency system

Before you can make time to study you need to eliminate all unnecessary distractions from your workspace which can be done using the Busy Season Efficiency System.

The two largest causes of distraction are instant messaging/texting and email.

Here is my step by step method for controlling the time spent on both of these distraction creators:

Instant Messaging/Texting:

Step 1: It’s okay to silence your phone and set your status to busy on your work instant messaging, because it’s true! By turning off notifications you can now work distraction free.

Step 2: Choose specific times that you will check your notifications and only give yourself 10-15 minutes to catch up. This allows you to batch process which is much more efficient than handling individual notifications as they arrive. You will immediately begin to notice that you will accomplish more real work during the day and less time messing with your phone or goofing off on instant messenger with co-workers.


Step 1: Turn off your phone email notifications. It is proven that distractions not only kill time but overall work quality.

Step 2: Don’t check your email first thing when you open your computer, look at your to-do list and complete your most important task FIRST before you even open your email application or check your work email.

Step 3: Set aside 3-4 specific times per day to check your email. This allows you to batch process and not be distracted by the continuous stream of emails.

Strategy #2: Morning study sprint

If you are a morning person you are going to love the Morning Study Sprint!

This study strategy is all about utilizing the 30-45 minutes before you head down to the hotel lobby or commute to the office.

Step 1: Set your alarm 30-45 minutes earlier than you would need to get up for work.

Step 2: Have a specific quantifiable plan for what you need to accomplish. For example, take a practice quiz, read your text or watch lectures over topics you don’t understand.

Step 3: Remember that the more studying in the morning you can accomplish the less you will need to do at night!

Strategy #3: Power lunch study system

A lot of precious study time can be found during the lunch hour.

Here is my step by step method for using the Power Lunch Study System:

Step 1: Try to bring your own lunch when possible. If you can’t try to study at the restaurant. Don’t worry, it’s okay to be a bit anti-social during lunch and stay at your desk so that you can study!

Step 2: Have a specific action plan for what you want to accomplish during the lunch hour

For example: Complete 50 flash cards (check out the free Surgent Mobile Flashcard App if you don’t have any) or complete 10-15 multiple choice.

Key takeaway

While studying during busy season is not easy, but it can be done with diligence and a bit of creativity.

Your primary focus needs to be on removing as many unnecessary distractions from your workplace as possible. Start with brainstorming where you feel you waste the most time and find a way to remove it from your routine.

Even getting one to two hours of extra study time in per day during busy season can make a huge difference.

Do you want more busy season study strategies?

You can read Bryan’s full article with 17 step by step strategies for surviving busy season here.

Thinking about using Surgent CPA Review? You can read or watch Bryan’s in-depth review here.
Bryan Kesler, CPA is licensed CPA in the state of Missouri and has 7 years of public and private accounting experience. His passion is helping CPA candidates pass the CPA exam on their first try. He can be reached at bryan@cpaexamguide.com or on twitter @CPAexamguide.