Learning Strategies Blog

CPA student writes about how he uses PhotoReading

January 14th, 2010 by Pete Bissonette

After Monday’s recording from Paul, I thought you would enjoy reading Lance Lindstrom’s story from this past fall:

Dear Learning Strategies,

This is the first time I have ever sent a message concerning any kind of study method. But I have to tell you, the investment I made in your PhotoReading course is one of the best investments I have ever made.

I am a full-time accountant working for a CPA firm in Tallahassee, Florida. About six months ago I went back to school to work on my Master’s degree in tax so that I could sit for the CPA exam. I graduated in 1990, so it’s been 19 years since I was in school. The voluminous amount of reading material and homework has been overwhelming. I am attending the Florida Institute of Technology (online), which is a highly rated private university. Their program is tough. After six months, I was just about ready to throw in the towel. I have maintained a 4.0 GPA since being back in; however, it’s been increasingly difficult, as each class has been progressively harder and has required much more reading time.

One business law class has between 100-150 pages of reading every week. The pressure was really beginning to get to me. If you missed one day of reading it would throw you off for the entire week, causing you to scramble to meet deadlines and take tests. I was really sick of it. I started searching online for some kind of assistance. I even posted my comments about drowning in homework on a message board at school. All I received in response was, “Don’t give up. Work harder.”

Then I found your PhotoReading course. It has virtually saved Florida Tech from losing a student. I no longer feel the pressure of not being able to meet reading deadlines, and I no longer feel stressed about not having covered all the material prior to a test. PhotoReading has increased my self-confidence in taking these courses. And your learning strategies have been extremely helpful.

I’m now experiencing about 87 percent retention of the material I PhotoRead. My test scores are inching back towards “A” level again. I was so disappointed when my grades started sliding after maintaining a 4.0 prior to PhotoReading.

Your course has completely changed the way I study. I feel like I’ve wasted about 40 years by studying the wrong way. I apply your methods to the study materials for school, and I even apply them to the tests. I used to sit down to take a test and start on question one. Now I go through and review the questions first to become familiar with the data. Familiarity with the questions removes a lot of stress because you’re not surprised, plus it gives the subconscious mind a chance to get the data ready for the answer.

Since I took your course and applied it, I have used PhotoReading virtually on a daily basis. I’ll never go back to the old traditional way of absorbing data again. Feeling fully prepared when I sit down to take a test, I don’t feel like a student, I feel like a peer. Although you are taking a test, it kind of puts you in the mode where you are evaluating the test at the same time. You feel so confident in your knowledge base that you feel like an expert. This has led me to disputing questions and answers with professors. I’m sure they think I’m a pain in the a_ _.

Anyone who returns to school, and does it online, better be ready for tons of homework. All those ads on TV about becoming a “Phoenix” all make it sound like it’s going to be a piece of cake. And the University advisors grossly understate the amount of study time when they are giving you the sales pitch. They should really make every new student take your course first, before they start taking degree courses.

Thanks, you have virtually saved my sanity.

Lance Lindstrom

Tallahassee, Florida

P.S. I am turning 54 next week. I bring this up because “you can teach an old dog new tricks.” I think anyone could do this. I have a 9-year-old and a 2-year-old, and I fully intend on sharing PhotoReading with them when they reach a reasonable stage of understanding.

(Posted on January 14, 2010)

5 Responses to “CPA student writes about how he uses PhotoReading”

  1. Hochi says:

    Very inspirational story of yours! I love it! Everybody should follow this example and start from here instead of the traditional, old-school way of studying. I am also an adult student who is struggling for a little bit with the reading.

    I am in a online college who demands a lot of reading, writing and taking a test right away. So, I have this question for you. In order to go trough the high volume of reading with a very short period of time, what technique did you use? SuperReading? Rapidreading? And how was your level of comprehension? Do you mind map? What are your procedure for your readings? To give you an example, this is what I do. (Please, any help from anybody who read this post is very well accepted it)

    1. First, I Preview and PhotoRead the whole book and make annotations.
    2. Then, Preview again every chapter so I can get more familiarized with the lecture.
    3. Next, I SuperRead and/ or RapidRead depending how difficult is the lecture. (Sometimes I catch myself on regular reading because I want to “grasp” ideas for the test. Very specifics ones).
    4. And last, and only if I have time, I mind map, which is time consuming when you have a very limited time.

    I feel overwhelmed with all the lectures and I need some “tricks” for this kind of specifics rather than the general idea. Thank you for your help!

    Hochi Rosario

    • alex says:

      One of the best things you can do is set a timer. It stops you from trying to do more than you can and it helps you keep your focus on the outcome you desire.

      I also recommend mind mapping more in the early stages of using the system. It also helps with getting clearer focus on our purpose and goal for the time you have.

      Textbooks treat each chapter as a book in itself.

      Alex K Viefhaus

  2. Jeff says:


    Great story. I am a CPA in New England. I’ve been practicing for about 15 years. However, I did not have a background in or training in accounting when I started in the business. I have a liberal arts eduction.

    To my great satisfaction, I was able to reeducate myself and sit and pass the CPA exam in a single two day marathon testing session (I understand it is not done this way any longer). I was able to do this using skills I learned attending a Photoreading training.

    Best of luck to you!


  3. karyn says:

    HI I am an Aussie and I love your photo reading I passed my exam to stay in the UK by photo reading …everyone should learn the skill changes ones life forever!!!!

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