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CPA summary notes or index?

Prepare your CPA summary notes quickly and effectively using this method, and let KnowledgEquity help you with your CPA studies.

CPA summary notes

CPA summary notes or index?

Students ask whether they should create an index (or just grab one from another student and use it) or if they should prepare summary notes.

I think both are valuable, but the first step should be to create CPA summary notes for each module.

We have prepared a detailed guideline with examples based on Ethics and Governance Module 1 which we think will be helpful for you. Only once you have created your summary notes should you consider index creation.

 

Overview of preparing CPA summary notes

We often advise CPA students on how important it is to prepare module summaries – using your own words, not just borrowing notes from someone else. The benefit of summarising comes from:

  1. Spending time carefully reading and thinking how to ‘reduce’ the content into a summary
  2. Reviewing the summary at a later date to help remember all the knowledge

This is a key difference between ‘reading’ and ‘studying’.

To help you start preparing your own summaries – we have produce an example based on Ethics & Governance Module 1, so you can see what to do, and how beneficial it will be.

 

Steps to follow when preparing a summary of a CPA summary notes for a module

Step 1: Put some key facts about the Module at the top of the summary.

  1. Module title
  2. Brief description of the purpose of the module (get this from the ‘subject outline’)
  3. Length of the Module
  4. Exam weighting and estimated study time
  5. Number of objectives and estimated number of marks on exam

Step 2: Prepare the sub-headings in your document, based on the Module contents listing.

Step 3: Prepare objectives sub-headings. This is where you can put down your notes on these objectives – to demonstrate you have summarised them properly, and understand them.

Step 4: Read a paragraph. Think about what the key point of the paragraph is. Write it in your own words. Aim to do it in only one sentence, with a maximum of 2 or 3 sentences.

EXAMPLE – CPA Ethics & Governance MODULE 1 – Accounting & Society

Purpose of Module: Consider what it means to be a professional accountant, and the skills required. Understand it is more than technical ability – there is a social and ethical impact as well. Consider criticisms of accountants and the responses by the profession.
Length: Approximately 50 pages + solutions
Exam weighting & estimated study time 15%

16.5 hours (15% of 110 hours)

Number of objectives & estimated questions: 5 objectives and approximately 13 / 85 marks

(i.e. expect 2 or 3 marks per objective)

 

Preview & Introduction

[Here is an example of a short summary of the half page Preview/Introduction]

Focus is on ‘what is a profession?’, the nature of the accounting profession, our links with society, and significant challenges that have harmed credibility.

 PART A: Accountants as members of a profession

[Insert all the topic headings – to guide you with remembering and understanding content]

Key point: Accountants help people make decisions, so they should act in a professional and ethical manner. So – we must understand what it means to be professional.

Public interest or self-interest?

Here is an extract of 3 paragraphs from the CPA Australia Ethics and Governance study Guide (2016), page 19.

CPA summary notes

There are 120 + 46 + 27 = 193 words. Below is an example of how to summarise this into just 58 words:

Society and economies need financial information. The accounting profession is very important and could cause significant harm with poor reporting. Great benefits arise from reporting well. If we are deceptive we will have no credibility. Accounting serves the public interest by providing information that is objective, accurate and useful so people make better decisions about important economic items.

To take the example further – here is an example of 1 CPA Page summarised (page 19) = now only 166 words

Preview & Introduction

Focus is on ‘what is a profession?’, the nature of the accounting profession, our links with society, and significant challenges that have harmed credibility.

 PART A: Accountants as members of a profession

Key point: Accountants help people make decisions, so they should act in a professional and ethical manner. So – we must understand what it means to be professional.

 Public interest or self-interest?

Society and economies need financial information. The accounting profession is very important and could cause significant harm with poor reporting. Great benefits arise from reporting well. If we are deceptive we will have no credibility. Accounting serves the public interest by providing information that is objective, accurate and useful so people make better decisions about important economic items.

Altruism is linked to integrity, objectivity and being without bias. It links with ‘public interest’.

Altruism = action that brings no benefit to an individual, and may even be at their own expense.

However – self-interest may be the driving motivation, not altruism.


Now over to you…

So the aim for you is to try and summarise Module 1, which is about 50 pages long into some that is only 10 – 12 pages long.

PREPARING CPA SUMMARY NOTES WILL TAKE YOU QUITE A LONG TIME. But, this is ‘studying’ not ‘reading’ and this is how you end up learning the material really well and not ‘forgetting’ it as soon as you put the book down.

 Then – when you start revising for your exam – you will have about 70 – 100 pages to read – in your own words, and it will sink in much deeper than ever before.

I hope you found this useful. Please check out our Full Focus support resources which include 2 practice exams, 10 live webinars, over 50 video tutorials and practice quizzes.

Regards, Courtney Clowes

knowledgequity.com.au

KnowledgEquity

We are an independent provider of support resources for your CPA studies, and have highly qualified CPAs creating and delivering innovative content including live webinars, video tutorials, PDF resources to download and practice exams.

Courtney Clowes CPA and Russell Clowes CPA are the directors and have many years experience teaching the CPA program, authoring CPA study guide materials and providing expert forum responses to CPA students.

This clip outlines what we do and why we think our CPA support resources will be helpful for you, and you will be impressed by our low CPA Tuition Fees:

Sign up to CPA Assist – 10 hours of free content in your chosen subject to get you started. You can view our content and you will be convinced that our support resources for your CPA studies will be a valuable way to improve your results. Click the button below and select your CPA subject, then register for the subject CPA Assist. It’s really that easy!

February 20, 2017

3 responses on "CPA summary notes or index?"

  1. Thanks for that Courtney. Having just completed an MPA, I have a study routine that is quite similar and it’s nice to know that I don’t really have to change the way I work as I approach this next level of study

  2. I want to join class for gsl for semester 1, let me know fees

  3. Hi Neha, you can sign up for Exam Ready which includes 2 practice exams (1 based on the CPA GSL Pre-seen) and also access our case analysis template, which will include sections filled in based on the CPA GSL Pre-seen cases. This is only $295 at the moment. Here is the link: https://knowledgequity.com.au/global-strategy-leadership/

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