By this point in your career as a student you probably have your learning routine set. Life up to this point has been spent successfully navigating your way through the styles of hundreds of teachers, instructors, coaches, and textbooks, but when was the last time you adapted your learning style? It is easy to get stuck in the same routine because, well, it seems to be working and there is no need to fix something if it is not broken, right?
Learning is About Constantly Adapting.
Your style may not be broken, but it could probably be more efficient. It is natural to do things differently. Think about it. Elementary school brought about repetition of writing in upper and lower case and doing times tables. Middle school consisted of learning basic concepts about government, history, and science. High school showed how equations and systems make the worlds of math and science spin. Finally, college allowed the freedom to choose what you want to study and truly dig into what you wanted to. You found your favorite professors, the best study spot, and a great pre-exam ritual. By the time senior year rolled around you had the routine down. But was it perfect? Probably not. Becoming an adult in every sense of the word often leads to the myth that you have done it, you are who you are, there is nothing left to change, and all that is left to do is to go through the motions. Really, you are just getting started... again. Now is the time to do an overhaul on your study habits, routines, and learning style. This does not mean everything has to change, but you are about to learn what it takes to pass the CPA exam, and it makes sense to make it easier on yourself if at all possible.
How to Make Good, Better.
Let’s take a step back for a second and think about what we could possibly improve on. Unless you find yourself too bored to focus, completely mixing up your learning style is probably not necessary, and might cost you extra time or stress. You might get into diet changes, yoga, sleep management, or the thousands of other ways to could improve life in general, and there is a time and place for that, but those are the type of things which have to line up with your ideals as well as lifestyle and resources. A good thing to think about is what you have heard from every teacher, professor, and phone call home before finals week... “Study hard”.
Now, I am not saying this is wrong. If you are planning on passing the CPA exam you should and will “study hard”, but take a second to wonder why no one has ever said “study smart” or “study efficiently”. Wisely studying for two hours might be much more productive than hours of studying in the only way you have ever known, or only in the ways which have worked before. Think about it, if you kept the same study habits from elementary school to middle school, middle to high, or high to college, you would be miserable. Not everything has to change, but adapting during this time is a must. What to do and how to do it are never the real question. Why you do it is what we want to address. Why did you write out all those practice sheets of lower case, why did you draw the timeline which stretched from wall to wall in social studies class, why did you learn the pythagorean theorem, and why did you take that lab in college instead of just reading another book? The reason is because you are learning how to apply the knowledge you are attaining in more challenging and at the same time practical ways. Being a CPA is going to be largely based on learning the Why behind the what to do and how to do it in order to apply it appropriately. Your study habits, as well as the material you study, should focus in on understanding the concepts behind the answers.
You Are Going to be Better Than Before.
Take a breath and know you should probably prepare yourself for another round of change, but relax because it is going to be a good thing. Of course, you want to make this as easy on yourself as possible, and we want to help. So for the next blog post, we are going to take what is working and try to make it work better. This will help your transition into another stage of education and life be as efficient as possible.