Professor Rosilyn Overton | Success Tips
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Success Tips


No one ever got to be a star athlete or a financial success without practice, practice, practice. Self-discipline and attention to detail are the keys to success in all endeavors, not just in school. It takes work to succeed. No matter what course you take, these tips will help you be more effective and successful.

  1. Read your lesson BEFORE the class lecture. In pedagogical studies, students who read the material before hearing a lecture retained significantly more information than those who read the material after the lecture. I work to make the material more meaningful for you with examples from real life. I also work some of the homework in class. Small changes in study technique such as this can make the time you spend studying more productive.
  2. Plan on reading the material twice. The first time, read quickly, not stopping to underline, take notes or go back and re-read anything that is confusing. The purpose of this initial skimming is to get an idea of where the chapter is going. Once you have gone over the material quickly, go back and read more diligently.
  3. Underlining in the book is usually less helpful to learning than taking notes on the material. The physical act of writing down the important points helps you remember them better. Think about the implications as you take your notes.
  4. Your textbook has Study Aids that are extremely helpful. Read the Learning Objectives prior to reading the chapter. Work the Self-Test problems and check your answers. Just before going to the lecture, read the Chapter Review to put your mind in a receptive state. The textbook web site has e-tutorials, and self tests to help you learn.
  5. Make flash cards of any Key Terms that are new to you, and review them while riding the subway, waiting in line, etc. (An important part of every discipline is to learn the language of that field.) By using flash cards and taking them with you, you can get 10-20 minutes of study done during otherwise wasted time almost every day. Over a week’s time this can give you up to another two hours of study time without taking time away from your family or job.
  6. When your homework is returned to you, re-read any topic on which you scored poorly, and try answering questions about that topic for which you have solutions or answers. If you do this as you go along, you will do better on your quizzes and exams since the topics tend to build over the course of time.
  7. If you can find a study buddy or form a study group, do so. You can help each other figure out problems, and can argue about things that call for an opinion. Years later, you will remember those arguments. However, don’t just copy — write out your own homework! Writing it or typing it on the computer will make you remember what you have learned. DO NOT just divide up the homework. It’s dishonest, you won’t learn what you need to learn, and you will suffer at exam time.
  8. Use the Internet to make your class topics more real to you. The internet site has material relevant to our textbook. Click on the picture of the textbook, then on the student center. Use the Google search engine ( to find articles about the topics in your text. Sometimes an explanation on the Web will make more sense to you than the textbook.
  9. If you don’t understand something, try to specifically identify what is confusing you. Instead of saying “I don’t understand this,” try to pinpoint or quantify it. “I don’t understand WHY a CEO would do this,” or “HOW does this action profit the firm?” The right question will get you to the right answer.

This course is right on target in today’s financial markets. The Enron, WorldCom, and ImClone scandals are about finance topics such as the problem of agency that you will study in this class. You learned the mechanics of finance in Accounting. Here you get at the heart and soul of what financial statements and financial management are all about. Have some fun with the course!

How to Analyze A Statement Problem

Word problems are difficult for many students who can work the problems if they are set up for them. I always have to give homage to my 10th grade Plane Geometry teacher, Dr. Jareziewski, who taught all of us at Lamar Consolidated High School in Rosenberg, Texas, this method. It has served me well, through math, economics and finance courses in college and grad school, and I use it even when looking at difficult problems in business.
Write down “To Find: “. Read the statement problem and figure out what it is that you need to figure out to get the answer. Write that down. It will usually be a value, such as Quick Asset ratio and Inventory. I am often amazed students who get only the first part of an answer, simply because they hadn’t identified what they were supposed to find. In management, this is sometimes stated as “What Do We Want to Achieve?” or “What is our goal?”
Next, write down “Given:” go through the problem, figuring out what facts are given to you. Sometimes the givens are subtle and implied by the statement. This step ferrets every possible thing out. Write down all the things that you are given.
Next, write “What Do I know?” What you are looking for here is the relationship between what is Given and what you need to find. For example, if you know the definition of the Quick Asset ratio, and what are the denominator and the numerator, write that down. If you are given the items in the numerator and denominator, the rest is just arithmetic.
Once you have found the link between what you are being asked to find, what you are given, and what you know, solving the problem is simple.
Try it! It always works.