Now that March is here, you might find yourself sitting around waiting for the next testing window of the CPA Exam for 2011 to open up so you can get back to focusing on studying for the exam! What should you be doing during the off month, you ask?

BLACKOUT MONTH= NO EXAMS!

Blackout months allow NASBA and the AICPA "maintenance" time to make sure the computerized exam is doing what it is supposed to, evaluate candidate performance and sometimes throw in new CPA exam questions. For candidates, blackout months can be frustrating as it feels like your study momentum has hit a wall if you're ready to test but can't.

But blackout months can be a huge bonus for candidates as it allows you to take a little more time to study, schedule some much-deserved time off or plan important events in your life that have been put on hold because you are pursuing your CPA. If you need a break, by all means take one!

Depending on the section you are studying for, it can take you between 60 and 150 hours total to be prepared to take a section. So blackout months provide the perfect opportunity to focus on studying without having to worry about an exam coming up immediately thereafter. Take advantage of this by freshening up on some study tips during blackout months as it can be easy to get distracted if you aren't scheduled to actually take an exam during this time.

Hope this helps and we'll see you in April when you emerge from your own study blackout!