Tips for Studying Accounting
In the words of a wise professor “Accounting is like learning a language”.
You master a language by repeated practice until it is second nature to you.
Read the assigned chapter before class.
Read the chapter more than once. Here’s how.
Step 1. The first step in reading a chapter is to skim it. Skimming means going through the chapter and reading only the first sentence of each paragraph. This step does not require much time and acquaints the student with the content of the chapter.
Step 2. The next step is to read the chapter, once, all the way through, reading every sentence but without trying to understand everything. This step will acquaint the student with more information about the topics in the chapter.
Step 3. Read the chapter again. This time, read with the intent of understanding the material. You may reread certain parts but do not reread anything more than once. If you cannot understand a certain paragraph or section of the chapter, make a note in the margin and go on. Do not worry about what you did not understand and be sure to listen to the instructor as he/she explains that point in class.
Step 4. After the lecture, you may want to read certain parts of the chapter again, if you need additional clarity.
Print out the Powerpoint presentation before class to make notes on.
Rewrite your notes after class while they are still fresh in your mind.
Outline the chapter.
Do it in bullet points.
Restate key points in your own words. This is a very good learning step.
Develop a notebook binder organized by chapter for all homework done in class for review for exams, and for the CPA Exam later.
Use note cards for formulas.
Use cumulative study (review old material along with the new).
Make sure you understand the “why” not just the “how”.
See if you can explain what you are doing to someone else. If so, then you probably understand it.
Use a buddy or study group, if it fits your learning style (see below).
Over-shoot your target. If you want a ‘B’ in the class, try for an ‘A’.
For writing projects, proofread your work.
Have someone else proofread your writing. This is the best approach. The writing lab in the academic support center is a good resource for this.
Put it away for a day or so and then proof it. You will find more mistakes than if you proofed it immediately after writing.
Understand what the question, writing assignment, etc requires you to do. If you don’t know, ask your professor to clarify before the project is due.
Do problems, problems, and more problems until you can solve them without referring to examples in the chapter or the solution. If you can’t do it without the book open or the solution in front of you, you do not yet understand it.
Take on-line quizzes from the text’s website.
Attempt the assigned problems early so you are prepared with questions.
Know vocabulary. To do this, you may have to memorize.
Set aside enough time to study – do not over commit.
Start studying for the exam in advance. Do not delay and attempt to cram. You will run out of time.
Study in an environment where you can focus totally on your work.
Study at a time of day when you are most alert. Your mind will absorb much more than if you try to study when you are tired.
Set up special time and place to do homework.
If you don’t understand something, ASK someone for help.
Use the learning assistance available to you:
Accounting Help Lab,
SOS/TRIO (if you qualify), Academic Support Center, and/or
A tutor (fee involved).
Know your learning style (see attachment).
Visual (V). The student who learns best by seeing will benefit from visual learning aides:
flash cards or note cards,
hard copy of the Powerpoint presentation for the chapter, and
illustrations written on the board.
Reading (R). The student who learns best by reading will benefit from-
Reading the chapter,
Taking notes, and
Outlining the chapter.
Listening (A). The student who learns best by hearing instruction will benefit from –
Class discussion and lecture,
A buddy or study groups where the student can get together with another student(s)from the class and discuss topics covered by the professor.
Doing (K). The student who learns best by doing will benefit by –
Participating in class,
Repeat homework exercises or work additional problems (practice, practice),
Taking on-lines quizzes pertaining to the chapters of the text,
Using tutorials to work problems similar to those in the text (Debby’s website).
Special thanks to the Accounting Professors at MSU-Billings for their contribution to this handout.