It’s 7:00pm. You just got off a long day at work, are unsure of what to have for dinner, your cat just threw up, there are 3 missed calls from your mom, and you still have to somehow go over an entire chapter on governmental accounting (complete with practice problems) before you hit the hay at 10:00pm to get enough strength to do it all over again tomorrow.


Sound familiar? If so, you’re definitely living the life of a CPA Exam candidate. While it can be stressful studying for the CPA Exam as a full time student, working professional, or both, there is a bright side to all the tension you feel on your daily grind. In a new study performed by researchers at the University of Berkeley, they tell us how stress can actually be good for you. 

Stress is normally viewed as a negative thing, when in reality it doesn’t always have to be.

Dr. Daniele Kaufer, associate professor of integrative biology at Berkeley states, “Some amounts of stress are good to push you just to the level of optimal alertness, behavioral and cognitive performance.” 

Kaufer’s research with rats discovered that significant and brief stressful events that rats experienced caused their stem brain cells to develop into new nerve cells. These new cells that matured about two weeks later actually helped improve the rats’ mental performance when they were faced with challenges. Kaufer believes that “intermittent stressful events are probably what keeps the brain more alert, and you perform better when you are alert.” 

The research reinforces the idea that stress hormones can help animals adapt and prolong their lives.

This makes sense since remembering the place or thing that caused a stressful reaction will help them deal with future situations involving the same place/thing better, further preserving themselves. 

You can probably already see how stress can play a significant role in being successful on the CPA Exam.

If you have found yourself in a less than ideal spot during your journey, whether it’s failing a section, juggling your work/life/study balance, or finding different study techniques to help you understand and retain information, it’s important to view this type of stress as a good stress. 

Learning from your past mistakes or missteps helps you improve your performance the next time you find yourself in a similar situation. Or, what will hopefully happen, is that remembering the type of stress associated with an experience can help motivate you to do everything necessary to conquer the situation. 

As Kaufer concludes, “Stress can be something that makes you better, but it is a question of how much, how long and how you interpret or perceive it.”

We hope that the next time you feel stressed out during your CPA Exam journey, you interpret it in a positive way and that will make the process to licensure more enlightening! 

Source: Researchers find out why some stress is good for you