Sunday, September 29, 2013

8 tips on studying for the board exam when you're a mom :)

Hi there mommy students

Hats off for you who can juggle between studying and home making. Cause it's never an easy feat, right?

A few years ago, I took a vacation leave to fully prepare for the cpa board. Though I knew I had to set aside such free time for my review, I can't help but get addicted to super mom duties right away. Work absence made me able to fix my kids' baon - complete with TLC and all. I'd send my kids off to school at mornings. Would fetch them by afternoon before I head to review school. I'd come home at night feeling super tired yet productive. 

Surprisingly, I managed to stretch the night by reading my notes. Right after my girls are done with their homework. 

These were the times I felt most fulfilled as a mom.

Anyway, I thought of sharing a few tips on studying cause my sister will be taking up her board exams pretty soon. 

"The exam is very passable but only for those who did their homework.", they say.

The preparation is tough but lo and behold, the exam's quite easy!

So go pick your courage, mommy. 

After all, accounting is not that brain-wrecking, nose-bleeding study of exact science. It's an art!

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It's a medium of how you can:

1. Manage your time. Set your schedule. 
Allocate your 24 hours. There's no ideal period of time allotted to this and that. It depends on your sets of priorities. Let's assume you spend eight hours for sleeping, two hours for personal necessities like eating and grooming, one hour for prompting your kids to eat (seriously), one hour for prompting them to bed (again seriously), one hour okay make that two quality hours with your husband, five hours for review classes including the commute. Add them all up, subtract from 24 and voila, you still have remaining 5 magical hours for studying. Yay!  :)

2. Get a household help, for your own sake.
Once enrolled in a reputable review school, make sure you have someone trustworthy enough to fix your home and look for your little rascals while you're away. Yes ma'am, go get some helper if you want to maintain your sanity. That helper will keep a clean environment conducive to your study. Don't forget to secure a good study area in your home. Preferably, like, a locked room.  Free. From. Any. Distraction.

3. Take care of your health. 
Eat your breakfast too mommy. Try to avoid sugars and not to consume caffeine just before bedtime. Cause you need to get an adequate hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation can affect hormones in our bodies and may not bring us to perform well in studying at all. Have your supplements if needed. And get a doze of energy boosting hugs from your husband and kids.

4. . Make a bible notebook before classes begin.  
Before review classes began, I jotted down the accounting principles in a handy notebook. Cause I find accounting books as good as sleeping pills. I resorted to doodling. Made my notes interesting and fun. Created my own tools, my personal formulas that help me solve problem anytime. Alas, I tend to recall things easily when the key notes are in vertical order. I used pnemonics  and association of ideas. I related the concepts to real-life situations. I found myself easily reading my outlines- a flowchart, a table, a diagram, a map - in my handy notebook. My bible notebook. It was all I needed to get my extremely poor memory activated.

5. Pick accounting problems. Know them cold.
There are thousands of problems in a hundred of books so don't you ever! And I mean never try solving them all! Choose and solve only the best problems in an updated book. It's better to be a master of few, than a neophyte of many. Understand the why and how of accounting principles. Don't fall into the habit of passive reading. Recite. Reflect. Review. Master the general principles and their exceptions. Be ridiculous. Study in advance and answer the assigned materials before going to your class. So that you'll know what to ask your instructor. Engage in group study. Don't leave the lesson unclear. Internalize and recall the solution. You will realize you have fully understood the concepts when you can apply them in problems using your tools listed in your bible notebook.. 
And oh, before touching other review school's materials, finish your own materials first.

6. Remember these 3 D's
       Discipline - Stick to your routine. Experts say, our brain doesn't retain that much if pressured. So take a bit of rest in between studying. Study over short time intervals. As for me, I relaxed by watching scary movies. For one, Walking Dead did me the tricks :) And well you can get a break for Clash of Clans. Just a bit of adrenaline rush, smashing those dragons. And afterwards, you go back to reality. :)
       Determination - If you can't seem to solve problems right, don't get discouraged. They say real learning comes from making mistakes. Mark your wrong answers. Jot down corrections in your bible notebook for you to recall them later. Never stop until you know the problems like the back of your hand. :).
       Divine Intervention- Ask for it. Pray to God always.

7. Go for it!
When you're feeling down, imagine your future license cold in your palm, and recite with conviction as many times as you like, the following lines I got from a book: "I can do it. Now I am achieving my goals. Learning and remembering are easy for me. My mind moves efficiently & effectively. I am supremely calm and confident. I remember all I need to know. My memory is alert. My mind is powerful." ...And then you imagine your adorable kids smiling from ear to ear and yelling "You did it Mom, you're the best!" Your kids can be your most powerful motivator.. :)

8. Be early on your exam day. Prepare for the battle.
Kiss your husband and kids for good luck. Never be intimidated by smart looking fellow examinees. Look smart too! :) . Be familiar with the exam format beforehand.  Anticipate the exam content. Monitor your time. Skip difficult problems, easy ones first. Read carefully the questions or requirements of the problem. Work efficiently, double check your answers, finish it. And pray again. You give your best, God will do the rest.

I'm not an expert adviser but I hope this can help.....Lotsa good luck to you future mommy board passers! ;)

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