Written by Guest Blogger Amy W.
I’m still deeply embroiled in Partnerships and moving slowly. No rush, I keep telling myself. Better to learn it slowly and deeply, than quickly and shallowly. With that in mind, I have adopted a technique that served me well when studying for Part 1 of the EA Exam, which I call “Fill-in-the-blank sheets”. This is a study tool that helps me memorize pesky little details like the tax rate for built-in-gains (35%), the excise tax for lobbying limits for tax-exempt entities (25%), the rollover penalty for SIMPLE funds (25% for 2 years and then 10%), and so on, ad infinitum. There was a ton of this sort of memorization for Part 1, and guess what? It doesn’t get any easier in Part 2.
The fill-in-the-blank sheets have sentences with blanks that I write in. For example, a fill-in-the-blank sentence might read: ”To avoid a distribution penalty, a loan from a Keogh plan must be the lesser of ____% or $____.” Or “No self-employment tax on distributions to ________ partners.” Of course, this can be done with flash cards, BUT the actual writing of the numbers helps memorization. There is even a muscle memory effect; I was able to sit at the Prometric computer and my hand would automatically write out the number I was looking for.
It’s time consuming to create and go through these sheets, particularly at this point when it feels like I’ll never master all of the details. But I know from prior experience that this valuable study technique will serve me well if I just stick with it. So I take a deep breath every morning and fill in the blanks, forgiving myself when I still can’t remember, applauding when I finally get it right, and looking always to the goal of getting control over the material. Happy studies, everyone!