Monday, September 26, 2011

Survey of Accounting II

The second accounting class I took was more interesting than the first class I took. We had gotten past the endless writing of debits and credits on T charts and started doing some interesting things. It covered topics such as cost accounting, budgeting, and standard cost variances.

Sure those topics sound boring, but this is where you start getting to a point where the accountant can actually help a business make important decisions. By breaking down fixed and variable costs to determine the true price of, let's say, an item you are manufacturing, you can determine the price you need to sell it at to cover all your costs. The accountant becomes a key member of the management team who helps everyone else understand where the money is coming from and where it is going. If I had to be an accountant, I would go into cost accounting.

Something I remember from this class was going to my professor's office to review my tests with him. I was always able to get a few points back by going in and talking to him. I would write notes all over my test paper, but the scantron only records if the bubble you selected is right or wrong. I would go look through the questions I missed, look at the notes I had written to see where I went wrong, and show him how I had maybe just flipped something right at the end, so I was really close to getting it. He gave me back partial credit on several questions like that.

It was in this class and the Microeconomics course I also took during my second semester as a business major that I would hone my craft of estimating my grade on a test. I take multiple choice tests relatively quickly. I'm pretty good at figuring out that type of question, generally. One testing technique I learned early on is that the longer you spend on a question, the more likely you are to miss it. Just answer it and move on. Your first guess will more often be right. If you get through quickly and have one of those professors who likes to lecture after the test instead of just letting you go, you sit around with nothing to do for several minutes while the over-analyzers are working hard at changing their correct answers to the incorrect answers, so you have to find something to do.

The technique I would use is this. Go through the test and count the answers that I just straight up felt confident about. I know it. One point. For questions that I didn't feel as confident about, I would count a percent for how sure I felt I had it right. If I totally guessed, 25%, assuming 4 potential answers. If I had ruled out 2 possible distractors (test item analysis lingo for wrong answers) and guessed between the remaining 2, I counted 50%. Add up the points and divide by the number of questions, and there you have it.

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