I’m a deadline person, so I scheduled all of my exams either before I even started studying or at the very early stages of studying. That pressure was my motivator; otherwise I would have tended to put off studying.
The hardest part of studying is not the actual studying part. It’s the part where you have to make yourself sit down and get it done. I studied for FAR and BEC first, planning to sit for both in one day. Starting with FAR, I allocated a certain number of hours each day for a certain number of days per week. Generally, I would map out which chapters had to be completed and by when. I also prioritized where to focus my attention. Using Bisk, which gave me an outline of where the exam concentrated material, I could focus on those sections first, constantly reviewing that material for 10-20 minutes prior to beginning a new section.
Everyone studies differently and everyone learns differently. The best thing you can do when strategizing your approach is understand what works best for you. It took me a while to figure that out. I found that I benefited in later exams having learned what works best for me, as I was better able to focus and get through more material because I better understood how I absorbed it. Bisk afforded me the flexibility to review material at my own pace, in my own way.
There are certain areas of accounting that are interesting to me and others that I find to be tedious. If I felt myself struggling I would proceed on to a chapter that better held my interest and return back to the one difficult one in the next study session when I was refreshed.
The single most common strategy I have heard for effective studying is to answer practice questions - a lot of them. That is the best way to get familiar with not only the exam material, but also with the way the exam approaches the material. I found early on if I just studied the material without reviewing questions, I would get questions wrong, only to realize I did know the answer and fumbled on the question’s approach.