Upon finding this thread again I thought I would do some follow-up. Here are some observations on what has worked for me.
First, for a beginner in mnemonics such as myself there is too much material per section of the CPA exam to put a memory trigger to every jot and tittle. If you’re a beginner as I am you run the risk of making the mnemonic so complicated that it takes more to remember the mnemonic than it does the material it was supposed to help you remember. But that’s precious time going down the drain. Using the software I purchased for review I first ran through all the practice questions, and in my reviews I am using mnemonics for concepts that were obscure or am likely to forget. I decide on mnemonic-worthy material based on which review questions have proved most difficult for me, or what I am most likely to forget. Hey, why use a mnemonic for something you already know?
The next step is figuring out a proper mnemonic. I decided to use the Loci method, and I chose the Fountain Place tower in downtown Dallas, TX. Outside the tower I have Joseph Stalin holding two fishing nets while smoking a cigar, which I use to remember macroeconomic principles (not that I think he makes a good economist… and I will be discussing politics in this thread).
- The cigar is how I remember that Consumption + Investment Spending + Government Spending + Net Exports is the expenditures approach to aggregate Gross Domestic Product.
- I watch one end of the cigar fall off, which to me represents the allowance for capital consumption, I have Net Domestic Product.
- I chose Stalin because there is another way to calculate GDP called the Income Approach. It begins with national income, which is calculated by Salaries + Rents + Interest + Proprietary/Partnership Income + Corporate Income. A mnemonic to remember that formula is Stalin’s Red Influence Promoted Communism.
- “I Bought Two Nets For Fishing Income.” Another mnemonic to help you remember that you must add Indirect Business Taxes + Net Foreign Factor Income to get Gross Domestic Product using the income approach.
That’s one mnemonic, and it encompasses a handful of needed material, but because I knew a few mnemonics already from my study material and I was able to think of this loci imagery I just had to picture Stalin in front of the Fountain Place tower with his two fishing nets.
That’s enough for now, but key point is I had to know when to use the mnemonic techniques, and when not to use them because of time and capacity constraints. Being a beginner I can’t make the applications of the techniques that others can, but I can at least make some. Mnemonics aren’t the magical solution for passing the exam, but they are definitely useful. No doubt I’ll get better with time too. Very thankful for this site.