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!
One of the biggest struggles I’ve faced during my time at the University of Texas is figuring out how to get more involved on campus. There are tons of opportunities to get involved in student organizations, volunteer work, internships, and even academic research, but my problem has always been finding a balance between doing well in my classes, getting involved in extracurricular activities, and having enough free time to relax once in a while.
My inherent inability to find that balance is pretty obvious when you consider that I added an entire extra major just because I like to read and write and wanted to take some non-business classes. Doing Plan II was a lot of extra effort for something that I didn’t initially think would have a huge impact on my career, but it ended up helping me a lot with the research and writing aspects of tax.
Beyond academics, I’ve had to learn to say no to a lot of great opportunities, such as being a TA, helping on research projects, and getting involved in too many of the student organizations on campus. One thing that has helped me decide whether I should get involved in a new activity is figuring out how much time it would take, and then going through a typical week (or thinking through it, if I don’t have time) and seeing if I can spare that much time, but obviously that’s not foolproof. Another great way to reach that balance when I’m short on time and energy is to participate in one-day events like Project Reachout or Project 2012, where you can spend a day volunteering without a semester-long time commitment.
So far, I’ve come pretty close to finding a good balance, but I’m always looking for new time management tips!
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→
Hey everyone! A lot of my friends are starting to sit for the CPA exam and I realized that I probably don’t know enough about the exam or what it entails. There is so much online about the CPA exam and I will share some of my findings with you!
First, you have to qualify to sit for the exam. The AICPA does a great job at covering anything and everything you would want to know about qualifying for the exam in their Uniform CPA Candidate Bulletin.
Next, be sure to know the specific rules that your state requires. UT does a great job at helping MPAs to meet the Texas exam requirements. Some of which include: 150 semester hours and a BBA degree, 30 upper division accounting hours and 24 related business hours as well as a 3-hour ethics course. What is great about McCombs is that when we graduate we have met the educational requirements- even the ethics course!
As far as preparing for the exam, I haven’t started since I am just a third-year, but I know it takes a lot of disciplined studying. There are many different prep courses and I would definitely recommend talking to the 5th-year MPAs to see what they have used to study.
Lastly, there are 4 sections of the exam; Financial, Regulation, Audit, and Business. Since MPAs love acronyms and abbreviations, you’ve may have heard the sections referred to as FAR, REG, AUD, and BEC, respectively. FAR and AUD both contain 90 multiple choice questions and 7 task-based simulations. REG has 72 multiple choice questions and 6 task-based simulations. And finally, BEC has 72 multiple choice questions and three written tasks. It is quite a lengthy exam which is probably why each section is taken separately.
The CPA exam seems so far in my future, but it is good to be prepared before starting the process! Good luck, everyone!
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…