When studying tax, you might be finding it frustrating because you seem to be forgetting what you read. This is natural and normally after an hour, you only retain 44% of the information. This is referred to as the Ebbinghaus Effect and happens because your brain protects you from overloading useless information. By focusing on application to exam scenarios, your brain views the information as useful and retains it better.

In the few days before the exam, focus on regular spaced repetition which is what we used in school to ‘cram’ subjects like history. It takes a minimum of 4 repetitions to memorise quickly.

So, once you have learnt a topic like BPR, apply it in an exam question. Then repeat it again.

Use mnemonics and images which help you visualise and trigger your muscle memory.

Take a bit of time to understand what you have learnt as this helps you memorise 9 times faster.

Focus on the key points or ‘triggers’ so when you learn that specific point, it automatically makes you think of an associated topic. These trigger points are referred to as ‘nail words’ as they link one learned thing to another. So, when you hear nil rate band, you automatically think of savings, dividends, and inheritance tax.

Your brain finds it easy to learn opposite things like income or capital, small or large, taxable, or exempt.

 Similarly, you will remember what you study first and last and probably forget the bit in the middle. This is called the serial position effect.

Finally, interference theory states that your brain mixes up similar memories which is why students always get CGT and IHT mixed up. The way to prevent this is to keep each tax separate and engage your brain to approach things in a methodical logical fashion.

Make sure you are using up to date tax reference books based on FA2020 and innovative materials that use accelerated learning techniques like my Advanced Tax Condensed notes. This streamlines the whole memorising process so that you can quickly recall key information under exam pressure.

You can purchase them from this website