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Ten Study Tips

Prior exam questions can be useful for your studies, but don’t rely on them as the sole source of study material. While some questions repeat from year to year, a question may be slightly changed from one exam to the next, or a law or procedure change may have occurred, so a full point answer for one exam may not receive full points for another year. The exam tests on current law, not what was appropriate for a prior exam cycle answer. Our text and other course materials use updated answers.

Answers should be concise and be sure you answer the question asked. Using lists or bullet points can save time.

Your long-term memory is enhanced by working with material in different ways, so we recommend that you read, write, hear and say the information as you study.

Some students find it useful to memorize material using mnemonics, and our text includes a number of them. Others make their own flash cards for quick study opportunities while standing in line or waiting for appointments; you can write your own on index cards or use commercially available flash card templates/products that you can create and print.

The past two exams were given remotely, and it’s possible this trend will continue. Practice keyboarding your answers if your skills are not as strong as they could be. Handwriting answers can still be a valuable way of learning and retaining the information. Remember to focus on reading the call of the question and answering the question actually asked on your exam.

Some individuals find that group study is useful to share information and keep you motivated and committed to a study schedule. Technology makes it possible to study together using electronic means even if no one is located near your office or home.

Get in the habit of regularly checking the Tax Court opinions (available online daily at 3:30 pm Eastern at Reading cases helps you understand the procedure and language of the court plus the exam often tests information from cases. You do not need to cite a case or use an IRAC analysis in an answer, but having a basic understanding of important rulings in the exam cycle is helpful.

Tax Court sessions are returning to in-person (the schedule is published at Attending a live or remote session is useful in understanding the process and may aid your studies.

Test taking strategies and time management are critical to your success. Before exam day plan which sections you’ll take in what order during the remote sessions as announced. Plan how you’ll monitor your time as it is easy to lose track of time during the stress of the exam. Remember that if you fail to complete a section because you run out of time, you will not succeed, even if you pass all other parts.

Take one or two prior exams under timed constraints (prior exams from 2000-2021 can be found on our website). If you enroll in our program, our review session includes a 2-hour timed practice test to simulate exam day conditions. Previous practice exams may be used in our assignment modules.