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It is that time of the year again. It is exam time, bringing with itself, anxiety and apprehension that is always associated with any exam. A fraction of this edginess is unavoidable, however a large part of this anxiety can be avoided as well as it is possible to bring down its intensity with judicious strategizing and systematic planning of the study schedule
Many of you may be appearing for the first time, and then there are those who have appeared before and have not been able to get through. First and foremost one needs to comprehend that life and time is transient. Nothing is forever and all past proceedings and happenings are only lessons in experience, teaching you how to conduct yourself in the present as well as future. Reflecting and contemplating on past trials is in fact advisable, but only to the extent that it assists one to head in the right direction.
A step in the right direction will lead to pre examination preparation and efficient execution during the exams.
CPT, IPCC, CA Final – Pre-examination Preparation
1. Learning from Past
Success rate in the Professional Examinations is not the same as that in most of the undergraduate or post graduate courses and majority of students, in order to pass the professional examination, may have to appear more than once either in the entire set or at least in some papers.
Failure in a final examination may cause a fear psychosis in the minds of students. It is therefore of utmost importance to analyze the failure objectively and critically to be able to overcome the shortcomings and to be prepared effectively for the exams.
It is said that one should live in the present moment. It is true but at the same time the past should be utilized for analytical purposes so that the result of such analysis can help in setting the direction of present movement for reaching goals in future
Life is a series of rich experiences and a lesson to be learnt by each episode. It offers you an opportunity to revisit your approach and bring about changes that are required to help you grow Examination: Preparation and Execution and evolve. It also forces you to delve deeper into your conscience and question yourself whether you could have handled a particular occurrence of your life differently
A good number of us do not have the courage to step out of our comfort zones and sit and reflect as to why things went wrong if they did and start blaming someone or something for the breakdown as it is more painful to attribute it to our own inefficiency. This is because deep down we know it was a slip up that we made but it will lead us towards a guilt trip that we wish to avoid at any cost
It is imperative to own up and blame without remorse or recriminations because there is no time for such things, especially in your life as a student.
It is usual to blame an undesirable or unpleasant outcome on others or on destiny. The outcome may actually have depended partly on others or the destiny but the fact remains that as humans we cannot control or guide either of the two. We can only control our own actions, it is therefore critical to concentrate on that.
Be courageous to accept the significance of taking charge of your own life and being accountable for your actions or inaction for that matter.
As aptly said by Winston Churchill, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
2. Taking the Initiative
The first step towards a positive and effective plan for study is to design and formulate a strategy of preparation that works best for you, or so to speak, is customized for you. There is no single approach or magic formula to apply; however, it is prudent to combine an array of measures to work out a study schedule.
Following steps can be followed to ensure smooth and effective preparation for the forthcoming examinations
Do Not Procrastinate:
It is rightly said that “You cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind.” The month preceding the exams is actually the time for a comprehensive revision of the content already learnt. To give a concrete shape to the studies leading to well written exams, it is essential to prepare a blue print of the strategy and actions to be taken. There is no time to procrastinate and immediate action on the following lines needs to be taken.
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Set the Study Schedule:
There is no universality about the best time to study, morning, noon, evening or night whatever works best for you has to be adopted but it is absolutely mandatory to follow the study schedule or pattern religiously that you have devised for yourself. As far as possible do not deviate from it or else you shall lose your focus
The schedule should divide the time among theory and practical subjects in such a way that maximizes the output. For example theory subjects may be taken up at the beginning of studies, when the mind is comparatively supple and fresh. To maintain alertness, practical subjects can be studied during dull periods, such as after meals.
Mark the Content:
Highlight or mark content that is important and needs to be revised during the exams. It is important to highlight or mark with flags, certain selected essential topics that you definitely wish to go through on the day preceding the exam. Highlighting and flagging helps in budgeting time, as well as ensuring that you do not skip vital information.
Ensure Quality Study:
Ensure quality study, not quantity: During revision time, never try to quantify your study, whatever hours you put in, should be quality time, no matter how short it is. You should be able to absorb the content and if you put in too many hours at this time, it will result in frustration and anxiety as you will feel short of time. This can be avoided easily by ensuring that you revise all your subjects by allocating study time judiciously as per your requirements of individual subjects.
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Simultaneous revision of subjects:
Take up at least three or four papers at a time for revision. This helps in retention and parallel preparation and is useful to help remember important details. If one subject is studied after a long duration then you are most likely to forget what you read earlier, say a week ago. It is human mind and continuous reinforcement is required to memorize and retain information. This technique is similar to the way you studied at school, every subject, every day, each period lasting for 35- 40 minutes
Strengthen your Strengths:
Each one of you has your own strengths and weaknesses. Weaknesses should be strengthened, to the extent that you are able to pass that paper. If there is something that you always have trouble comprehending, it shall be futile to press all your efforts and energy on it. Spend just enough time to get through it comfortably. On the other hand, it is very much possible to strengthen something that you are at ease with, and focusing on this shall more than compensate for your weak areas.
Study Material, Revision Papers and Suggested Answers published by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India: Lay emphasis on ICAI study material:
It is advisable to not undermine the importance of ICAI study material issued to you. The course material is comprehensive and defines the scope of the syllabus. Practice manuals and suggested answers, revision test papers are an absolute must and you should be well advised not to ignore it. In addition, you can strengthen your preparation by accessing the free online e- learning facility as well as appearing for mock exams. It is an effective method of instantly gauging your performance and preparation and lets you understand as to where you stand.
There are a number of other factors to be kept in mind that may appear trivial but considering the complexity of the examination that you shall appear, may play an important role too:
Get enough sleep:
Sleep disorders at this time are common but the same can be avoided if the study schedule is formulated in such a way that it allows time to study as well as ensures adequate sleep. Lack of sleep will make you dull and drowsy throughout the day. Lack of sleep gives rise to rigidity of mind and it fails to absorb the information properly
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Meals should be light, non oily and full of fluids to let you feel active and nourished. Fruit intake and food full of vitamins are a must, Avoid street food if possible, to avoid any sickness or stomach disorders.
Light Exercise and Short Walk:
This will revitalize the body giving it energy and power of concentration.
Avoid Social Media:
It is immensely essential to keep aside your cell phones and needless communication on social media. It is a good idea to forget about face-book friends or recent posts for a short while. Keeping away will ward you from any untoward rumors or unnecessary messaging that may affect your mind, or be harmful for your study and push you away from your immediate goal of faring well in exams. It is easy to be swayed by other
people’s opinion and at such a crucial and critical juncture; it will do you good to be totally away from all this.
Assign a place of study:
Try and assign yourself a cool and comfortable area of study, be it at home or library, and stick to that place for the entire duration of study. Sitting upright using a table and chair is advisable, as reclining or incorrect posture shall make you drowsy and tired