Overcoming CPA Exam Day Intimidation.

This article discusses methods to control your CPA exam nerves and overcome exam intimidation. Exam anxiety can quickly send you into a tailspin, causing you to second-guess yourself, make simple mistakes, and forget your technical knowledge. Exam jitters don’t help. If you are stressed, chances are the stress will cause you to earn a lower exam score. Passing the exam requires a unique mix of knowledge, exam strategy, confidence, and stamina. Don’t risk losing control. Be aware of how your nerves can work against you.


A few days before you take the first exam section, visit a Prometric test site. Keep in mind that the CPA examination is administered using a high level of security. Don’t expect the Prometric center staff to allow you to preview the CPA exam. Tell them that you just want to look at the reception area to familiarize yourself with the check-in procedures. Locate the restrooms. Walk around the building and note various parking lots, should your preferred lot be full. Note the nearest bus or train connection. Try to travel to the site about the same time of the day you plan to sit for your exam section. Document your travel times. Note whether rush-hour traffic might create a problem.

Just seeing the actual examination location will help keep you calm. Later, when you visualize yourself at the exam, you will have an accurate picture of your surroundings.


When you reflect on what it will be like at the exam, always visualize yourself as a person who is in control of the situation. See yourself as calm, collected, and knowledgeable rather than as jumpy, fidgety, and stressed. Picture yourself so attuned to the exam material that you couldn’t possibly have time to be nervous. See yourself methodically moving through the questions, working one exam testlet at a time, staying within the time limits, and completing all of the questions. See yourself as successfully searching for answers to the research components. Visualize yourself writing the communication answers in complete sentences with correct spelling. Picture yourself showcasing your knowledge of the communications component. See yourself earning points.


Realize that you won’t know everything. Understand that the examiners will ask you some unexpected questions. No matter how much you’ve studied and practiced using previous exam questions, there will be plenty of new questions that will stump you. There is no need to get agitated. Make use of your practiced exam technique of narrowing down the answer choices. By eliminating one or two of the answers, you will increase your chances of guessing the correct answer. Also, don’t panic when you open a simulation work tab and come across a question that you know nothing about. Go through the question, and look for cues and clues that will jog your memory. Try to release tension by smiling to yourself. Stay in control by first reflecting on your overall knowledge. Don’t be afraid to take some risk. Every now and then, decide that you must go for it. Leave nothing blank. The CPA exam is positively graded.


Don’t study until the last minute before the CPA exam. Make sure that you have a clear mind before you enter the test center. It is highly likely that you won’t remember any of your last-minute study points when your exam starts. Leave your exam materials at home. The lockers at the Prometric center are small, so there will hardly be any space to store your review materials.


Pacing around the house or your hotel room on exam day will only add to your tension. Your heart will beat faster, adding to your nervousness. Keep your pre-exam activities to a minimum. Engage in peaceful activities to foster a peaceful state of mind. Eat foods that won’t upset your stomach. Give yourself the best possible chance to think clearly. Stress levels decrease when you take a rational approach to the situation.


The above article should help you overcome your exam day jitters. Hope this helps. If you have any queries, feel free to comment in the section below. Happy Learning!

Simandhar Education:

Simandhar Education is the official partner of Becker and AICPA - Largest Training provider for US CPA, US CMA , IFRS and EA courses in India with offices in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Gurgaon, Kerala, Cochin (Kochi), Trivandrum, Kottayam, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Chennai, and Mumbai.

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  1. suma

    Great Blog.... Thanks for Sharing....


    very nice… i really like your blog…

  3. Rama Krishna

    Thanks for precautions. Really very helpful.

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