An accounting exam can be tricky to prepare for. You cannot get by through memorization and ordering of individual bits of information, as you might be able to in a history class.However, you also cannot rely on a few axioms or theorems and practice by working a bunch of problems, as you might be able to in mathematics.
Keep up with the lessons. Many of the lessons in an accounting class build on each other. Being sure that you are keeping up with concepts and how they relate to one another will help with your overall understanding of how each process works together. Review notes after each class to be sure you don’t have any questions about the lesson. Look back at any practice problems in the book. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. For example, if you are having trouble with debt-to-equity ratio, ask your professor for help.
Understand why. Accounting terms and processes are set up to be as logical as possible. Understanding why certain things are done in certain ways will give you a stronger insight into what to do to tackle each individual problem. Create flashcards that define terms AND what circumstances you would use them or see them in. Answer any discussion questions in your text book and come prepared to ask questions in your class. It can also be helpful to talk problems out with a classmate or tutor to be sure you understand why it gets solved a certain way.
Work practice problems to understand how. Once you can see why things are done, it’s time to focus on learning how to do them. Review old homework assignments. Rework problems you may have missed or may not have fully understood at the time. Work through problems with a partner, discussing the methods you used to solve it to help each other understand more deeply how the process works. Familiarize yourself with key terms and what they mean.
Organize your thoughts. Before you start to workout a problem, take a moment to think about how you will organizing the information to best help you come to a solution. Having a clear method for solving problems can help you keep things focused and relieve stress during an exam. Some longer task based questions are giving in long paragraphs and can have several sections. Practice identifying the relevant information and listing it in on a separate piece of paper. Make sure you understand all the parties involved, the length of time, the situation being described as well as contract or payment terms. Make a list of related facts or amounts. Some questions will contain information that is not needed and simply there to throw you off.