I was asked in a comment from last night's post about my study schedule and a full time job. The comment box was a little tiny for what I wanted to say, so here comes the response to that inquiry.
First off, studying for this exam on the schedule I am while working full time sucks. It requires a ton of self-discipline. At the onset of this torturous journey I knew it would be painful. In college I worked full time and took a full course load (5-6 classes 15-18 hours for undergrad 4 classes @ 12 hours for graduate work) each semester. I pretty much hated life back then as well. However, I knew if I could do that for 6 years before that I should be able to tolerate it for 6 months now.
While the CPA exam studying has be very similar to college it is much more intense. Every part of my studying for the CPA exam has been like my hardest college classes. Most of my college classes were pretty simple. They were time consuming, but not overly difficult. Only in my hardest classes did I have to have any intensity to my studying. I was tired enough that I would fall asleep from time to time in some of my college classes. I could listen to music or do other things while studying typically. With the CPA exam I pretty much have to have complete silence in order to focus enough to get through my studying. My wife watching something on her computer with headphones being extremely quiet in the same room is enough to destroy my concentration. Some days our dog wants to play more than sleep (not often thankfully). When she gets like that it breaks my concentration and I have to stop and play with her until I wear her out and she goes back to sleep. The level of focus this exam has required is intense.
As to my actual schedule: I hate mornings. I have always hated mornings. I roll out of bed with just enough time to clean up, dress, pee of the dog, and run out the door to work. Thankfully I work in a relaxed atmosphere and 8:20 is the same as 8:00. I usually get out of the office by 5:15-5:30. Pre-exam I would usually work until 6-6:30. I am home around 6:00. It takes me 30 minutes or so to change, take care of the dog, read email, go through the mail, etc. I am usually in the care studying by 6:30-6:45. I don't usually get up aside from to let the dog in/out once and maybe to take a bathroom break and refill my water cup. In the course of 3-4 hours I really do not have more than 5 minutes of non-study time. I do not study on Fridays during the weeks of class. My wife is going through college (finishing community college level in a few more classes) and we both come Friday and pretty much collapse from exhaustion. We make the attempt to watch a movie typically, but we both fall asleep during it every week. I do study on Fridays after classes are over and I'm into my final reviews. Saturday & Sunday mornings I try and get up around 8-8:30 and be studying by 9-9:30. I try to do no more than 5 hours on Saturday & Sunday (only one weekend has blown that limit). This typically leaves me 6-8 hours on Saturday and 4-6 hours on Sunday to do other things like take care of the house, grocery shop, and have personal time. I'd love to say I get to spend time with my wife, but she typically studies both the AM and PM hours on the weekends (she has classes most every night so she doesn't get study time in during the week).
Those weekend hours to myself are the hours that I live each week for. Others say they study 10-12 hours on each weekend day. Good luck to those people and I think they are insane. My mind goes to mush after 5-6 hours. Typically any studying I've done beyond that is not very productive (exception of last Friday's 11 hour marathon which was actually productive). I would also go crazy with absolutely no time to myself. It is not enough time to myself, but it is enough to keep me going another week.
I have also taken a couple of days off in addition to test days. I took one extra day off in January during REG that I got a quick 5 hours of study in and then had the rest of the day to myself (an extra Saturday schedule basically). I also did the same thing last Friday for BEC, but that turned into the nightmare study day. I am most definitely in burn-out mode at this point. This is why you can see my study time during the weekday nights drop to 3-3.5 from the 4-4.5 they were during AUD. I've tried to make up some of that time on the weekends, but even my weekend study time per day has come down. This stares me in the face each day in my hour totals. AUD had the same number of classes as BEC yet I'm almost 20 hours less than I did for AUD. I felt good for AUD and I feel like crap on BEC. I think those 20 hours are a good chunk of my problem.
For those that are looking at doing this exam while working. Know that it is a life changer. This exam is the whole of my life right now. I think about how I'm going to study that night during the day and dream about the exam many nights. This exam is an obsession at this point. I hate having to get up feeling exhausted knowing that I have a full day of work and a night of study. On class days knowing that I'm only halfway done with my day at 3pm is depressing. Those negatives are actually what drives me to study like I do though. I would rather go through this pain and suffering once. If I don't study and fail an exam that is another 3-5 weeks that I will have to live like this again. I am about 2/3rds of the way through this process by content (almost 3/4ths by test sections). I just have to stay focused for another 2 months and I can have my life back.