Completing Chapter 1 and Settling into a Routine

After registering for the Comprehensive Course, I promptly received the hard copies of the course materials. The course is primarily delivered online which is extremely convenient, but supplemental printed copies are definitely important since I like to take notes on and/or highlight important sections. They do give you PDF access to the course materials even if you have online access only so that you can print your own but having everything printed and organized for you is definitely a time-saver.  I have already completed Chapter 1, which covered the overall tax filing process. So far, the chapters have done a good job of pointing out or clarifying potentially tricky rules or exceptions through additional note boxes. After working through this chapter, I have decided to structure my study sessions as follows:

  • Read the chapter
  • Do the reading assignment (usually a section of an IRS publication)
  • Go back through the chapter and re-read all the additional chapter notes
  • Re-read and rework the examples in the chapter

This method helps to keep me focused on the most important topics while keeping everything fresh in my mind for the test at the end of the chapter. Even though the tests are open-book, I do try to keep in mind my goal of preparing taxes for people at some point.  With that in mind, I make sure to memorize all the basics of the chapter so that I will be able to answer common questions on the spot when I start preparing taxes.  I know that I will need to research more complicated topics, but would like to be able to move through straightforward returns without constantly double-checking myself.  Even though this early material was pretty heavily covered on the CPA exam, I still want to make sure that I don’t miss anything that has changed since I sat for the exam 3 years ago.  It is also a good refresher since my career has been and will continue to be audit/accounting focused rather than tax focused.  I’m looking forward to seeing how the course handles more complicated issues and can’t wait to get started on Chapter 2!