Spring break signals the end of a long winter and is usually filled with some much-needed leisure time for busy college students. However, if you’re planning on taking the CPA Exam, you may want to consider studying for the CPA Exam on spring break. Keeping your study momentum up during breaks is key, although it doesn’t have to be all books all the time.

If you’re planning on spending some (or all) of your spring break studying for the CPA Exam, check out these five tips to help you make the most of your spring break study time.

1. Be realistic about your expectations

Whether you’re planning on going on a vacation, visiting family, or enjoying a staycation, you need to be realistic about what you expect from yourself over spring break. Are you planning on studying the entire time? Are you planning on mixing study with fun? You’ll want to consider how much time you’ll have to study each day depending on what type of spring break you’re having.

If you’re going on a vacation or a “traditional” spring break, you need to set expectations for fun time and study time. Studying 8 hours per day probably isn’t going to be realistic, so consider how much time you’ll be spending on leisure activities and how much time you need to study to keep your momentum going.

Visiting family and studying don’t often go well together unless you set expectations early on. Be upfront with your family about your study plans, and let them know when you’re planning on studying and when you have free time. This will make the trip easier on everyone.

Staycations are a great way to keep the momentum going, but it may not be a good idea to burn yourself out on studying the whole week. You’ll still want to set specific study times for yourself to make studying efficient.

2. Create a study schedule

A study schedule is essential for all study time, but it’s especially helpful when you have a bunch of free time. Having a schedule will keep you on track each day.

You can pencil out a study plan for the week, or you can let your CPA review material software do the work for you. Thanks to A.S.A.P.® Technology, Surgent’s software lets you input what days and when you’re available to study, and it tailors your study material to that time. It’s a great way to keep your study momentum up over spring break.

3. Alternate studying with leisure time

It’s easy to think spring break is the ideal time to put your head to the books and not surface until the week is over. However, building in some leisure time can keep you motivated throughout the week and keep your brain and body in tip-top shape for studying. If you’re really diligent, you can even combine study time and leisure time. Listen to a video lecture while you lay by the pool for some combined time.

Physically moving your body, like going for a walk on the beach, rock climbing with friends, or swimming in the hotel pool, will help you feel ready to take on your next study session. Social time is also important. Go out to dinner with friends or spend the afternoon with your family to decompress from any stressful study sessions.

4. Use travel time to your advantage

If you’re going somewhere on spring break, it’s an inevitability you’ll be spending some time in cars, planes, airports, traffic or lines. While these often seem like wastes of time, they’re all great opportunities to get some studying in. Pull up your flash cards app or download video lectures to listen to during this free time.

5. Take advantage of an empty campus

If you’re not traveling but you’re staying on campus, take advantage of the quiet. While the library is often crowded during peak study times and buzzing with chatter, it’s going to be perfectly quiet during spring break. You’ll get the best study corners and the best computers.

If you live somewhere where the weather is relatively decent over spring break, you may even consider spending some study time outdoors. This will be a nice change of pace from your studying in the past, and you may even feel more relaxed and motivated to study.


Studying for the CPA Exam on spring break is definitely a possibility with some careful planning. By using these 5 tips, you can take advantage of your spring break for some optimized CPA Exam study time.


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Megan Bierwirth graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and passed the CPA Exam within six months of graduation. She worked in both public accounting and industry while becoming a CPA and now runs a virtual bookkeeping company focused on preventive, integrative and complementary medicine professionals.