It’s the time again…first round of midterms is coming up! There are many different views on what makes the perfect study playlist so I thought I’d explore those today.
1. Brain-stimulating/calming music: Everyone has heard rumors/stories of psychology studies that prove classical music has a brain stimulating effect. I haven’t done enough research to know if this is actually true, but I know from experience that a calming playlist full of classical pieces is one of my favorites to study to. In this category, besides the classics, I often find myself listening to artists like Fleet Foxes or Mumford and Sons. These artists’ folk/rock sound has such a calming effect on me and they aren’t too distracting when you are trying to focus.
2. Familiar music: I think it is important to make sure that you aren’t listening to music that is going to cause your mind to wander away from the task you are trying to complete. I read a few years ago in a NYTimes article that listening to music can actually increase productivity. The author says that, “In biological terms, melodious sounds help encourage the release of dopamine in the reward area of the brain.” And if you are in a more pleasant mood, your productivity will increase. For this category I would suggest the 90’s pop Pandora station. These songs have a tendency to increase my mood, but at the same time, I do not feel the need to focus completely on the song and divert from the studying I am trying to accomplish.
3. “Pump-up” music: I know I have talked about Beyonce before (can’t help it!) but sometimes you just need a good pump-up song before an exam. I am a firm believer in my “pre-test playlist” which is full of embarrassing, yet confidence-boosting tunes to inspire me before I take an exam. Listen to Katy Perry’s Roar right before your next exam and tell me that it doesn’t inspire you. A little cheesy confidence never hurts.
4. No music: This is a view by many that the best study music is actually no music at all. In my experience, when I am trying to analyze a problem or memorize a list, no music is the right way to go.
Of course, most people, like myself, probably utilize all 4 of these during the course of exam studying. Good luck on exams, everyone! And an extra bit of luck to the MPAs taking CPA exams this semester!
As the semester is quickly coming to a close, I thought I would give another CPA exam update and describe the end of the semester.
So I took my first section of the CPA exam, and I won’t sugar coat it – it went pretty badly. It was my first section and it definitely helped me learn what I did well and what I didn’t do well. I definitely need to change my study method for the next one. Doing more practice questions is key, as I concentrated more on learning the material than practicing questions. I also need to realize that the tests are pretty hard and requires probably more studying than I put into it. For the next section, I plan on doing more practice questions throughout my studying to make sure I am on track and that I don’t feel as unprepared on the day of the test as I did for this one. Continue reading CPA Exam Update + More→
Well now that finals are over, I can say that I’m very excited that I have completed my first semester! It was definitely a challenging week studying for all my finals but now that it’s over I feel accomplished and proud. Kind of like what Paul said – the more effort you put in, the larger the result. I am just hoping and encouraging myself that all of the effort I put in will give me the results I want.
Anyway – not much else to report on right now. Most people (including myself) have left Austin for our month long winter break. I am excited to be home but at the same time, I already miss my MPA friends 🙂
I just wanted to mention that although it may seem (from our last slew of posts) that finals are insane, it isn’t really a bad thing. This is probably the most I’ve studied (at all or at least in a really long time), but honestly I am really happy and feel very accomplished. You are not coming to the best accounting program to be a slacker. You are coming to work hard, learn a lot (get your money‘s worth), and get what you can out of your opportunities. Having said that, I’m glad I spent my free week studying to really get the most out of these tests. Finals are just tests. And having almost a week to study for it is a gift – most tests you have to study for in the midst of doing 100 other things.
Also during this break I plan on starting the process of applying and studying for my first CPA section, so I will keep you updated with that process as I get it underway.
Finals week, unarguably, is one of the most stressful weeks for MPA students. Fortunately, UT and Austin provide a vast number of self-care options for students when things get a little stressful. The city boasts enough diverse activities that there are options for everyone. Whenever my brain needs to take a break from accounting or from anything school-related, here are some of the things I do to rejuvenate:
1) Cooking. Austin has to be among the best cities to get the freshest ingredients to the dishes you are making. I frequent grocery stores HEB on 41st and Red River, Central Market on 38th and N. Lamar, and Whole Foods on 6th and N. Lamar, all of which are a 10-minute drive away from campus. I also go to the Austin Farmers’ Market downtown on Saturdays and at the Triangle on N. Lamar on Wednesdays. Local farmers from the Central Texas area sell fresh produce and other local products that you would not find elsewhere. Not only are their goods fresh, but they are fairly cheap, too! Continue reading When Things Get Stressful…→
My last post and subsequent rebuttal were quite intense. So were finals. As such, I will keep this column short and puff it up with some conversationalia. After all, break is here.
What is great about the MPA is the intensity that I get the opportunity to bring to the table everyday. There’s really no way to survive the program without this type of effort. And, frankly, it’s a privilege to get to compete for grades with other great minds.
But gosh, is it draining!
As of a couple days ago, I realize just how emotionally, mentally and physically drained I am. Like a great workout, it has been worth it. I know that after some rest, I will realize how much I have learned—both in class and in life—over the past semester, be able to reflect upon it, rejuvenate and return to classes in the spring recharged for my final semester.
Until then, it will be nice to return to being the Paul that is a cousin/nephew/uncle/brother instead of the student/corporate robot. Stated another way, for at least a couple weeks, it will be nice to be hot chocolate Paul instead of coffee Paul.
I wish all well with their finals and pray that professors will grade exams mercifully. Until grades are released, here is some conversationalia…