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Studying for CLEP, DSST, and Other Exams and Classes

Updated on September 24, 2014

No matter what route you take to fulfill college credit requirements, you will have to study in most cases. Oh no! Aside from the recommended textbooks in the case of exams for credit, or the textbook for regular classes, there are other resources for you to study from. No lie, I completed two advanced accounting classes recently (one with an A), and never opened the textbooks!

Videos can actually be better for learning some subjects. It also appeals to certain learning styles more effectively and reduces boredom. Anyone who has ever taken classes in accounting can probably tell you how much of a struggle it can be to read several chapters a week and actually stay engaged in the reading. If you're not absorbing the material, then what is the point of reading it to begin with?

First and best resource is YouTube. People make some amazing videos on so many subjects....yours is probably on there. In fact, I have yet to not see a subject I searched for on YouTube. Even completely random subjects I searched for had something. You may have to peruse different videos to find a good one, but once you do, stay with that poster and finish out their series until it suits your needs. YouTube has some amazing videos that really cater to all learning styles.

One great example of this is Khan Academy. I took a class while deployed and in charge. His videos broke down everything so well that I was able to squeeze in my homework into my tight schedule and still make an A. He uses a virtual blackboard with different colored "markers" to actually work out problems step by step. Beats the heck out of the "work out" in a textbook, right?

I am not saying just do the videos. You may be unpleasantly surprised in an exam if you solely rely on the videos. With subjects like math you can probably get away with mostly videos. After all, the concepts will be the same. However, other subjects may require memorization. You will do well to complement your video viewing with a well-reviewed exam preparation book or website.

Another resource is Dummies Guides, Cliff Notes, and Complete Idiot's Guides. This is the other side of exam preparation I mentioned in the last paragraph. I especially love Cliff Notes for subjects that require memorization and knowledge. I actually read a Statistics Cliff Notes book a half inch thick on the beach in Pensacola, FL, took the test the next day, and blew it out of the water. These books can really cut the fat and teach you only what is truly important to remember. For Statistics, it came down to memorizing terms and formulas. It wasn't any more complicated than that....which begs the question....why would you read through a fluffed up textbook, much less take a class, when the concepts are just that cut and dry? Don't discount these gems for really breaking down the concepts and saving you valuable time.


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