Students who major in accounting need to work very hard throughout their course. This is because in most accounting units, students need to learn complex accounting functions in a short amount of time, and then apply them to real world scenarios.
By following these 11 Powerful Strategies, you will give yourself the best chance to become a successful accounting student.
1. Pay special attention during the first week of class
Having a strong start to every accounting unit is the best way to begin. Some students may say that the first week of class is not such a big deal, however, this is definitely the wrong approach. Accounting units can be hard because they move through the concepts and materials so fast. Therefore, it is critical that you read everything you can to become familiar before the first week of class, and be ready to absorb all the information your new lecturer and tutors give you.
2. Always be prepared for your lectures and tutorials
Do not wait until the teaching begins to know what is happening in class. Most university accounting courses are too fast for that. Instead you need to be actively prepared for each class. Make sure you study in advance of class so you are fully prepared for the new information that arises during class discussions and activities.
3. Attend every single class, no matter what
Accounting requires students to learn new skills that are taught in a specific order. In other words, each of the skills will build upon the previous skills. Keep in mind that this is different from other study areas, such as management, where it is not essential to teach units in a strict order. Therefore, when studying accounting, you simply cannot afford to miss a single class. Otherwise, you will start to panic and be left behind your classmates who will fly straight past you.
4. Always read the scenario and question very carefully
Accountants need very strong skills when it comes to attention to detail. The ability to read carefully is therefore tested thoroughly during an accounting degree. Therefore, make sure you are clear on what the question is asking you to do before jumping in with your solution. Does the question require analysis of a report? If so read very carefully the details of what you need to produce. Otherwise, you may be leaving easy marks out of your final grade.
5. Use critical thinking skills when you get stuck on an accounting problem
In the real world, accountants will often face situation where they need to come up with innovative solutions. In other words, they will need to ‘think outside of the box’. This requires critical thinking skills, so make sure you think carefully for yourself before automatically looking up the answer.
6. Always ask questions in class when you don’t understand
While you should use critical thinking by yourself, class time is the perfect opportunity to ask specific questions. Keep in mind that students will have different areas of weakness in accounting, so questions that you have may not be asked by other students. Remember, you are paying for this accounting course, so get the maximum value for money by asking questions of the lecturer or tutor.
7. Keep trying until you reach that ‘aha moment’
For many students, accounting is the type of subject where concepts can be tricky, until an ‘aha’ moment is reached. In other words, you may find yourself struggling until you have an overwhelming moment of clarity. This magical moment may happen when you least expect it, like when you are driving to college or when you are eating dinner. Suddenly it makes perfect sense. And when it does, you will experience a feeling of flow and control which will be very rewarding. So even if you asre uncertain of what you are learning, keep going because you never know when an ‘aha’ moment will arrive.
8. Get a personal accounting tutor if you require serious help
Sometimes accounting concepts just don’t come as easily as you want them to. If this is the case, consider getting a private tutor, who has experience in teaching the type of unit you are struggling with. You may find you only need three or four sessions with an expert in a one-to-one situation to get to the point you need to experience success. If you are really struggling you may need a personal tutor for the whole term. However, if you are still completely lost you may need to consider whether or not accounting is the right fit for your personal skill set.
9. Always ask your tutor for feedback
Often students are so concerned with the final score they receive on a particular assessment or test that they don’t ask for specific feedback on where they went wrong. This is an opportunity wasted. Make sure you are clear on the errors you made and make sure you don’t repeat them. This is what learning is all about.
10. Always submit your work on time
Never wait until the deadline before submitting work. Be organised with strong time management skills so that you are prepared to submit your work at least 24 hours ahead of the deadline. This will give you the feeling of being organised and in control, which is exactly what a good accountant should be in the commercial world.
11. Prepare thoroughly for exams
Most units will offer previous exam papers as a way to review the subject matter. Make sure you do as many of these questions as you can, ahead of time. This will give you the extra time you need to revise concepts that you didn’t quite grasp the first time.
So that’s it. By following these 11 Powerful Strategies you will give yourself the best chance to succeed in your accounting courses.
Do not waste your opportunity for a great education. Embrace the hard work and before you know it you will reaping the rewards of high grades and the confidence that comes with being a top accounting student.