As I run the final lap on Module 1, I am already feeling a lot more confident in my ability to prepare a tax return. This module has been a solid review and because of the helpful preparer tips, has taught me a few new things as well. The variety of situations in the tax preparation sections of the learning activities has given me an improved comfort level in dealing with tax situations outside of my own. Instead of just reading about these forms and schedules, I’m actually filling them out and have already begun to find a preparation workflow that seems to work for me. I really like doing the hands-on assignments since they are a great way for me to gauge how well I’ve learned the material. Those assignments are also a good reminder to come to each new client with a blank slate and to not assume anything because a small detail can greatly affect a tax return. On these assignments you get to complete the tax return and then check to see if your answer is in one of the multiple choice answers. That’s a luxury that won’t be available once you’re doing it for real. To mitigate this temptation somewhat, I actually complete the entire return and then answer the multiple choice questions. It might be tempting to check each answer as you go, but I think that getting used to the flow of completing an entire return is important. The main trouble spots on the tests are failing to choose the appropriate filing status and/or glossing over birth dates! If you read each situation thoroughly and get those two things right, everything else tends to fall into place. One module down, 3 to go!