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5 reasons to join an Enrolled Agent study group

The benefits of joining an Enrolled Agent study group

So you’ve decided to take the Enrolled Agent (EA) exam. You have your study plan, a complete and comprehensive review course, and the support of a whole team of exam experts on your side. What else could you possibly need to succeed?

one
Keep yourself motivated to study

Whether it be a salary boost, the ability to better represent your clients, or perhaps the opportunity to attract new clientele, you won’t be lacking a reason to get your EA as a tax preparer. However, becoming an EA takes time, dedication, and maybe even a little bit of sacrifice. While you know the benefits of becoming an EA, sometimes it’s hard to remind yourself why you’re studying for a test as opposed to almost anything else.

Connecting with others who share your struggle makes it easier. Not only can your fellow candidates remind you why you’re studying for these exams, they can also share personal milestones and tips to help you overcome obstructions in your own studies.

Especially after the worst of the pandemic, many candidates are looking to socialize again. Even if you’re only meeting your fellow candidates in a virtual space, seeing faces and hearing voices can be uplifting, breaking up the monotony of studying by yourself.

If at all possible, try to coordinate your meeting times on days when you know you can make it, but would otherwise struggle to make the time to study alone. Even if you’re not looking forward to studying, you can look forward to seeing your fellow candidates; that positive reinforcement can be the push you need to achieve your study goals!

Remember, these aren’t formal classroom settings. Have fun with your study group; crack jokes, chit-chat, and have a great time—just don’t forget you are there to study. If needed, set a timer to designate when you will be “seriously” studying and when you can relax a bit more.

two
Beat procrastination

One of the hardest parts of studying for the EA exam is getting started. There always seems to be something else demanding your attention, and having the “free time” to study seems like something always just out of reach.

We have years of experience helping candidates create the perfect EA study plan, but even the best plans need to be backed up with actions! It’s much harder to put off studying or make excuses when you have a group of people expecting you to participate in the discussion. Having a hard deadline will help you meet your study goals when you might otherwise procrastinate.

three
Reinforce concepts

Joining an EA study group is more than just a routine or an obligation; you can reach a higher level of mastery and understanding of the material by studying with others. Collaborating with your fellow EA candidates can help you solve more complex problems, and having discussions on the topics you’re trying to learn can give you different perspectives into the material.

We’ve all had moments when we’re struggling with a concept or a topic only to have someone explain it in a slightly different way, and suddenly it clicks. Even tax professionals with years of experience will occasionally struggle with a topic. Having people you can ask questions of can help you achieve those eureka moments sooner.

If you are giving the tips, it will reinforce the concept even more. One of the best ways to learn is by teaching others. You’ll be answering questions and solving problems you might not have thought of, giving you a chance to internalize topics in a different way. With a non-disclosed exam like the EA exam, this can be invaluable, as you will be that much more prepared for the questions you’ll see on the exam!

four
Get study tips and learn new study skills

We all learn differently. Some people are visual learners, and others are auditory, kinesthetic, etc. Most people have a combination of styles that help them learn best and have developed techniques throughout their schooling to accommodate their preferred learning methods.

For example, some take to writing comprehensive notes and using highlighters while following a video lecture. When you’re studying for the EA exam, regardless of how you find it easiest to study, consistency is key; it will serve you well and help you master EA exam topics.

However, if your usual method isn’t working for a particular topic, it’s time to raise your hand and ask others how they best learned the material. Maybe they created their own flashcards, learned a mnemonic, or practiced additional MCQs. Having a group to run ideas by can help save you time and effort when trying new study methods. You might just be able to add a new study tool to your repertoire!

five
Network and build a support system

After studying for months with the same group of people, you’re bound to develop some relationships and lasting friendships. Knowing there are people who are there to help you through the more difficult topics will keep you on track. They’ll be there to celebrate with you after you put in the effort, and likewise, their successes will help motivate you.

Remember, once you’ve become an EA, you can still reap the benefits of participation in your Enrolled Agent study group! These friendships can lead to professional advantages later on. Whether you’re looking for a new position, looking to hire new talent, or just looking to collaborate with other certified Enrolled Agents, it’s helpful to know others in the business.

Should you join a virtual or in-person Enrolled Agent study group?

After studying for months with the same group of people, you’re bound to develop some relationships and lasting friendships. Knowing there are people who are there to help you through the more difficult topics will keep you on track. They’ll be there to celebrate with you after you put in the effort, and likewise, their successes will help motivate you.

Remember, once you’ve become an EA, you can still reap the benefits of participation in your study group! These friendships can lead to professional advantages later on. Whether you’re looking for a new position, looking to hire new talent, or just looking to collaborate with other certified Enrolled Agents, it’s helpful to know others in the business.

How to find an Enrolled Agent study group

If you don’t know anyone else currently studying for the EA exam, it can be daunting to find others to study with. However, it’s a lot easier than you think!

one
Join your provider’s forums or groups.

If your provider has an active Facebook group or other forum or hangout, be sure to check it out. Not only will you find other EA candidates who are currently studying, they will also be studying with the same materials. They can help troubleshoot problems and show you exactly where in the materials you can find certain information.

two
Ask your local professional organization.

Organizations dedicated to furthering the EA profession, such as the National Association of Tax Professionals, will have opportunities to network and meet fellow tax preparers. If you have an active local chapter, there might already be a group in progress you can join!

three
Ask your coworkers.

With all the benefits of becoming an Enrolled Agent, it would make sense that your coworkers would also want to pursue the EA designation. If your employer allows, you might even be able to have your study group meetings during work hours, freeing up valuable time throughout the week for other obligations!

Tips for effectively using study groups

one
Don’t have too many people in your private group.

Though you should partake in available social media study groups, you should also have a smaller, private study group. For that narrow purpose, studies show that five people is the ideal number for a successful group. Too many students makes participating difficult for all members and will reduce the overall effectiveness of your study group; too few students means you will miss out on the benefit of varied perspectives. If your group gets too large, consider splitting up into smaller groups, which will allow for greater flexibility and engagement.

two
Have regular meet-ups.

Whether it’s every week, every other week, or once a month, make sure you have a routine. This will make scheduling your studies easier and ensure each member can participate regularly. There will be times when some or all members can’t make it to the meeting, but having a set time will reduce those occasions.

three
Be prepared.

This might seem obvious, but you want to make sure you use each minute of meeting with your group to its fullest (even if it is just chit-chatting for stress relief). If everyone in your group spends five minutes finding their notes, book, or other supplies, you’re looking at a half-hour of time not spent productively.

Make sure you know what your goals are for your upcoming meeting. Whether some members will be presenting or you’re just going over some practice problems, make sure everyone knows what is expected of them. This will make getting started easier and will help keep your group on track!

four
Stay positive!

Study groups exist for members to provide support and build each other up. Preparing for any professional exam can be a stressful experience, and sometimes you may want to vent. But adding negative comments to your study group can make it harder for everyone to stay positive and focused. Instead, ask for help, reflect on how you can improve, and try to identify your personal impediments to success. Remember, we are here to help!

Study efficiently with Gleim

As the most comprehensive EA Review System, we know a thing or two about helping candidates prepare for the EA exams. Whether or not you decide to join an EA study group, our Premium Review System has the tools you need to succeed, including access to private study groups!

You can get started studying today by trying our free EA exam questions! Our private study groups can be a great way to experience the type of questions you’ll see on the EA exam. From there, you can develop a plan to meet and review all of the topics as a group.