Study Tips

Ten Study Tips

  1. 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, a question may be slightly changed from one exam to the next, or a law or procedure change occurred, so a full point answer for one exam may not get 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.

  2. Grammar and spelling are not graded, but answers should be concise and legible.  Use lists or bulleted items to save time along with common abbreviations.

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

  4. Some students find it useful to memorize material using mnemonics, and our text includes many you may find useful.  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.

  5. Build your handwriting skill and stamina so you can write for the requisite 4 hours.

  6. 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.

  7. 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 helpful.

  8. Visit a Tax Court session in person to watch calendar call and/or a trial session (the schedule is published at

  9. Test taking strategies and time management are critical to your success.  Before exam day plan which sections you’ll take in what order and keep track of your time during the exam.  One suggestion is to use the provided scratch paper to write down the time you start and when you should end each section.  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.  It’s easy to lose track of time during the stress of the exam.

  10. Take one or two prior exams under timed constraints.  You can find prior exams on our website (2000-2016).  If you take our course we provide a 2-hour timed practice test to simulate exam day conditions as part of our November review class and previous practice exams may be used for our One Year Study Class assignments.