How did you get yourself to focus?

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  • #2572851

    Hi All! I’ve been studying for about 4 years now. I passed BEC first try, but lost it, then passed REG and have 6 months left before it expires. Each year after busy season I get in the mindset that I’m going to crank and just get the exams done, but then after a month or so I can barely get myself to sit down and look at my study materials and when I do I have horrible brain fog. Now if I were asked to work 100 hours at work I could do it just fine, but work 40 hours and study 10…..never happens. Has anyone experienced this? Any tips on how to push through? I’m in this horrible cycle of cancelling exams 5-10 days before I’m supposed to take them because of not being able to focus. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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  • #2572866
    Biff Tannen

    Neuro-ignite – it’s a brain enhancement supplement. It helps you focus for long periods of time. Also make sure to eat healthy and exercise. Living a healthy lifestyle has positive effects on brain health.

    AUD - 78
    BEC - 84
    FAR - 79
    REG - 85
    “An investment in knowledge pays the best dividends” - Benjamin Franklin

    Thanks! I recently started exercising and generally do eat pretty healthy. Have you noticed pretty significant changes from taking Neuro-Ignite?

    A big problem I have is that I'll work 9-10 hours at work, then should study a few hours, but I come home tired then leave it all for the weekend. I expect myself to study all day both days of the weekend and I don't know that it's reasonable to do so. I used to be able to do that in college, but I'm too far out that I lost that ability I think.


    It's really all mental and attitude. If you study, you will pass. Just see the finish line and realize the sooner you get it over with, the happier you will be. I put off my CPA for the first 8 years of my career (got other certs as I didn't think I'd need the CPA for consulting), but I dedicated 6 months to studying and I have 1 exam to go. Sacrificing hours on the weekend is rough, but I can't wait to be done and look back with a sigh of relief.

    Bottom line is you just need to create a study plan and stick to it. Luckily, most of the review programs have study plans. I personally like Roger's study planner as it breaks it down into daily lessons.

    But, yeah… excercise definitely helps, and to LIFO The Party's suggestion, some nootropics may help, too. haha.

    AUD - 84
    BEC - 83
    FAR - 76
    REG - 79
    DONE! For anyone still going--- keep pushing! It will be over soon!

    Why don't you try studying early in the morning?

    AUD - 86
    BEC - 87
    FAR - 87
    REG - 84
    "The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want badly enough." - Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture.
    Biff Tannen

    I began seeing benefits within the first 5 days. After 2 weeks I noticed my memory improved significantly. I’m usually drained after work also, but I usually do 45 minutes of cardio after work. It will help me unwind and recharge, then I come home and study for 2-3 hours. I follow this routine Monday through Thursday. I take Friday’s off from studying. I usually study on the weekends too

    AUD - 78
    BEC - 84
    FAR - 79
    REG - 85
    “An investment in knowledge pays the best dividends” - Benjamin Franklin
    Jimmy Dugan

    I don't know if you can do this or not, but I made myself study before leaving work in the afternoons. I knew that if I got home, ate dinner, and sat down, I was a goner. I was far more alert and had less distractions when I studied at the office. Even when I studied on the weekends, I usually came into the office.

    AUD - 95
    BEC - 87
    FAR - 84
    REG - 90
    You're killing me Smalls



    If you're having trouble focusing, your “why” isn't good enough or nonexistent.

    What's the reason you want to be a CPA? Why do you want to pass this exam? Find your “why” and that will help you focus.


    I got my wife pregnant… sure lit a fire under my ass (not recommended as motivation, however being a dad trumps 3 letters after my name)

    F – 87
    B – 85
    A – 84
    R – 79


    4:00AM in the morning studying stopping at 8:00AM. Always ending the day with a 1 mile jog – even if you failed the MCQ's that day. During the run, I think about all the people who pushed me down, becoming proud of myself on how far I've come, and how I'm going to squash all of them once I pass (I did btw).

    Your body will build a rhythm, and with life picking up, your schedule falls into place with your body, and focusing becomes really easy.

    Every 25 minutes, I took a 5 minute break too.

    AUD - 75
    BEC - 78
    FAR - 81
    REG - 77
    The Real Slim Shady

    IMHO, just because you’re having difficulties focusing doesn’t mean you don’t want it. I was having issues and started counseling and learned I had underlying medical issues. How did I get through it, mostly acknowledging I needed to focus and setting a plan…Pomodoros helped and limiting distractions.
    Pomodoro method, you get in a mindset saying you’ll focus and put 100% effort into studying for 25 minutes. Focus on nothing else (turn off phones etc) and have an alarm set. Once the alarm goes off give yourself a 5 minute break. Do this four times. There’s nearly 2 hours. After four, give yourself 30-60 min break and go again if you feel like it.
    Setup a calendar. Commit to a certain amount of hours a day, be realistic. For me it was 1 hour m-th, 2 hour fri, 6 hours over the weekend. Once I started pomodoro, I mostly did 2 hours per night. It really made my study sessions effective.

    Once I made sure things were balanced it worked out. For me it was mentally preparing, telling myself I needed to stay focused and reminding myself why I wanted to be a CPA.

    Last tip, on your background of your desktop, cycle through flash card images. Write a question/definition and every time you have a down minute at work, glance at your desktop and review your flash card.

    Good luck!!

    I'm going to be the person who says "I finished even though..." not the person who says "I didn't finish because..."

    B - 77, 76

    A - 57, 64, 72, 76!

    R - 78, 72, 78!!! DONE

    F - 54, 73, 71, 64, 69, 76!


    This post is 18 months old…..thanks for the replies but I’m long done with my exams. Not sure why @Fresh made it active again.


    This is a very important topic, as you need focus to do well for studying. I myself am currently studying for the CPA, using UWorld Roger as my CPA review course. I cleared the room of all unnecessary items (read: clutter) so I have a clean desk with plenty of room to spread my papers. Also, I bought a pair of earphones so I could block out the familys' noise. I also made sure the door was closed when I studied. I study at night, which is hard for my circadian rhythm, so it's all about focus.


    Mom of Two, studying for the CPA Exam

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