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Stephanie, I read my review book 3 times and still failed. What should I do?
Many of my most diligent readers use this CPA exam study strategy: reviewing the materials over and over again, day and night.
According to a research conducted by Washington University in St. Louis, this type of repetitive reading and reviewing is the most common study strategies among students.
Research has shown that repetitive reading enhances a sense of familiarity on the review materials, but since the information is not “processed”, it often fails to store in our long-term memory.
In other words, we thought we know the materials so well… but we are not. A very dangerous thing to do.
The Effective Way Is…
What we should do instead is to repetitively “test” our knowledge on the subject. Reflect on what we have read and learned. Ask yourself: does it make sense? How can this apply to my daily life?
Try testing yourself in different ways as well. 2 examples:
Should I create my own set of questions or make use of the provided ones at the end of each chapter? Let’s find out in the following research.
Participants were asked to read 3 articles based on 3 different study strategies:
After this exercise, researchers asked the participants to take a test and assess their level of comprehension.
Performance was the worst in Article 1, implying that repetitive reading is not the best study strategy.
The group did equally well in Article 2 and Article 3, meaning there is no noticeable difference using self-prepared questions and third-party questions.
Conclusion: feel free to use the ones provided to save time.
Research has shown that repetitive testing of your knowledge is the most effective to study. Yet, only 10% of students follow this approach on a regular basis.
This explains why so many readers told me how they read the entire review book multiple times and still failed. When I asked them to focus on “active” (vs passive) studying, most passed on the next attempt.
What is Active Studying?
Any study strategy that involves the materials “processed” in your brain is a type of active studying. Examples include:
The Importance of Online Test Prep Software
If your budget is tight and you can’t afford an integrated review course, then get yourself any of these question sets. Practice, practice and practice until the concepts become part of your long-term memory. For best result, focus on your weakest area when using this strategy. Good luck!
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites
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