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Everyone studies for the CPA Exam in different ways.
Most instructors or educational programs suggest that students study in the traditional manner: quiet room, comfortable chair, books, notepad, highlighter, etc. They suggest that it's more efficient to concentrate without distractions to interrupt focus. Some go so far as to suggest using music or light background noise to stay awake while studying particularly boring topics.
But, there's a growing number of people who seem to study best in busy, active environments. For them, studying in outdoors or in public places -- specifically coffee shops -- is much more effective than studying at home or in a library. Let's examine some of the reasons for this trend.
The temptation to break from studying is too great while at home.
To begin with, studying at home is not always as peaceful or quiet as one might assume. Along with the presence of family or roommates, students also have TVs, phones, video games, or other hobbies to resist. There are always chores to be done, and, for most people, even doing housework is preferable to studying S-Corporations, or deferred taxes. Also, while at home, it can be hard to get back to studying once you've stopped.
The coffee shop noise helps.
Unlike a quiet place, like a library, noisy places full of activity make it difficult to nod off or doze while studying. In fact, some people feel that the buzz and commotion at their neighborhood coffee shop actually energizes their brain, opening it up to outside stimulus and making it more receptive to learning.
Coffee, tea, study.
Having immediate access to your favorite snacks and caffeinated beverages is a huge benefit. Many students use caffeine to great effect while studying. However, not every student can make a half-caff caramel macchiato with no whip at home. And, there's something to be said for keeping your blood sugar and brain power up with a tasty scone or muffin.
Comfortable, but not too comfortable.
Many coffee shops have sofas, loveseats, or armchairs that are a cut above what's available at a library. Big, soft furniture that's inviting to sit in for hours, but not so plush as to induce sleep. Plus, no matter how comfortable the furniture may be, it's not socially acceptable to show up to a coffee shop in your pajamas or bathrobe, curl up on a sofa, read a little and pass out. You can't really stretch out on a coffee shop couch because there are other patrons there, probably studying like you are.
Usually, the coffee shop environment also includes some light background music, natural lighting and mellow color schemes. All of these elements add up to a relaxing study setting that can be difficult to find elsewhere.
Free Wi-Fi Access FTW.
More and more often, coffee shops are offering customers free internet access over their Wi-Fi networks. Like bars, restaurants or dance clubs, coffee shops are often social gathering hubs. The addition of Wi-Fi to that formula has broadened the potential for social gatherings, including study groups. You just order a cuppa joe, ask for the access information, open up your laptop or turn on your iPhone, and... voila! You're accessing your Roger CPA Review Online course, chatting with fellow students in the online CPA Exam Review forums, and accessing your online flash cards.
To sum up, even if you're used to studying at home or in the library, it might be worthwhile to try a change of scenery. Studies have shown that environmental factors such as light, space, sound and smells all contribute to the efficacy of a study technique. Take a trip to your local coffee shop and see if it "perks" up your study routine!