The battleground @ the Exam…
The examination is a battle-ground. To translate your talent into success, you need to keep a few things in mind.
When Boeing decided to manufacture the 747 and chose to sink all its money into the venture, a visitor asked Boeing`s chairman William Allen, “You know, Mr.Allen, Boeing has a lot of riding on that place. What would you do if the first airplane crashed on take-off?? “After a long pause, Allen replied, “I`d rather talk about something pleasant-like a nuclear war. “Yes, at the exams never think of failure. Ask any captain of ODI team and he would say, “today is another day and another game.” Do not recall how many marks you scored in the Model Test or in the last exam. The attitude is:”Let the past bury the dead.”
Don`t panic: it`s the cool cat that wins!
If you are writing a professional exam for the first time it is possible that you might get that nagging fear, “What will happen if I do not know the answer to any of the questions?” The answer is simple: do reasonable justice to your studies and this situation will not arise. And by ‘reasonable justices’, we mean if you have covered your study materials, revised your class problems and done an honest tow-month revision during the study holidays, you will be able to crack at least 50% of the paper.
Quite often, about three questions will be from the topics that you are familiar with (like questions that you have worked in the class or an illustration from the book). One or two could be modestly tough and just one will be real difficult. Why bother about the one question that you unable to crack? Look at it positively and tell yourself, “I know the answer for 5 out of 6 questions!”
Something like this could happen at the exams. You pick the question paper and suddenly you see the stars. Question 1, the compulsory question, appears out of your depth. So what do you do? Panic? No way. Just stay cool. Read the questions slowly. Whip the ones that you know and, finally, come back to the ones that you don`t know.
Don`t get excited; it kills
When you see the question paper don`t get excited if you find that the questions are the ones that you are familiar with. Showing undue emotion is not the hallmark of a professional. Remember, Harshvardhan Navate, the IAS aspirant, who picked up a crore on the game show KBC? When he cracked the 1 crore question, there was no war cry, no frills, no histrionics from his side. It`s the cool cat that wins.
Don`t bluff. And now tricks please!
As in life, in exams too, it is advisable not to bluff. If you do not know the answer to a question, it would make sense to keep your pen shut. Of course you might argue that by not taking the question you are scoring zero, and that if you attempt it, you might pick a mark or two. But then, things can back fire at times.
Also don`t play tricks. Answering the same question twice, hoping that the examiner won`t notice it, is simply unacceptable. There are others who when writing a theory question write in points. Like,1,2,3.. And when you turn the page you find 7, 8, 9.. The examiner is sure to get cheesed off by this approach. For one, he would presume that you are thinking that the examiner does not know how to count. Why antagonize the judge?
It`s quality, not quantity that counts
When it comes to answering theory questions, few examiners are impressed by its length. You get marks for what you write and not for how much you write. A well structured specific answer will always get you better marks than shot-gunning i.e., writing down everything you know in the faint hope that you will actually hit something. Use short sentences, short paragraphs with paragraph headings and keywords underlined. Examiners may not shout about it from the roof top but, believe us, they will give a few more points to a paper that is neat and clean.
No lengthy introductions and conclusions are called for. For example, a question that asks: “what are the differences between the LIFO and FIFO methods of inventory valuation?” Should be answered with, “The following are the differences between LIFO and FIFO methods...” Don`t get into a detailed introduction on why valuations are important, how different methods of valuation act as an incentive to window dressing.. blah.blah…
As far as question that involves application of law, standards, etc are concerned:
Briefly state the facts.
Next, state the legal position.
Then. Give an analysis and back that up with case laws, if any.
Finally, give your conclusion.
Don`t change the sequence. Yes, don`t kick-off with your conclusion. Because if that is wrong, examiners may not be inclined to read further. But if you have put up all your arguments and then concluded incorrectly, you could get credit for the argument. We know it is not fair, but that is how examiners work. Again on the issue of whether Sections and Case Laws should be quoted, Rule 1 says, “Quote them if you know them correctly. “Rule 2 says, “If you don`t know, don`t quote.” We believe that at the final level, it pays to quote, for, after all you are expected to have expert knowledge on the subject.
Space out your answers well. Wherever appropriate, illustrate it with help of examples, charts, case laws etc.
Budget your time wisely
We have read so much about managing time that it would be a shame if we couldn`t manage it during the exams. This is an idea we picked when we wrote our school finals. Use the first 15minutes to read questions and the last 15 minutes to revise the answers. That leaves you with balance minutes for 100 marks. In cricketing parlance, it is 1.5 minutes per mark. So, a question that carries six marks should be answered in 24 minutes. Of course if your 24-minute slot is up it does not mean you should go to the next question. If you think that you can complete the question in the next five minutes, by all means go ahead and do it. But if you think that you are nowhere near the final answer, scoot and pick the next question. The test in exam is how much you score, not on which question you score.
Select your questions
During the first 15 minutes of the exam, read through the questions carefully. Then tentatively decide the questions that you would want to answer and the sequence in which you would answer. A word of caution: Beware of question that appears too innocuous. They may have a twist in the tail.
It is easier to earn the first 50% of the marks for any question. Unless you are working in while answering complete ignorance, you will always earn more marks per minute while answering a new question than while continuing to answer the one that is more than half-done. So you earn many more marks by half completing two answers than by completing either one individually!
Make sure that you have selected the right number of questions. If six questions are to be answered and by mistake you answer only five, examiners are not going to shed any tears for you. You just lose. If you are to answer six, but you answer seven, there are pluses and minuses. Examiners are told to evaluate all the answers and select the best six. That for sure is a plus. But the flip side is that you don`t get extra marks for answering the extra question!
Keep the answers legible
Needless to say, your handwriting has to be legible. Not all of us are blessed with a great handwriting. A great handwriting definitely helps, but the absence of one will not hinder much-provided it is legible. But after a few days if your handwriting keeps you guessing about its content; you must do something about it.
Be there till the end
Resist the temptation to handover the papers before the allotted time. Imagine the pain of sitting in a bus while everyone else is writing the exam and you suddenly remember a few things that could have been added to polish your answer.
Read all directions carefully. Ignore what others are doing. Focus on your work. Forget about how many additional sheets the girl / boy next you is taking. Ignore what boy / girl nest to you is doing.
Bunch of answer together
The working notes, the assumptions and the final answer must all find a place. Do not write “turn to page no 3 for more”. All calculations should be shown the answer book. Index all workings. Remember, the examiner is less intelligent than you; for he has a guideline answer and you don`t! So offer him more guidelines. Lead him by the hand.
Conclude your answer
Present the final conclusion clearly. The challenge of cracking a chain-holding question can be pretty exciting. We must nattily work out the myriad working notes on goodwill, minority interest, etc. this might cap up 30 minutes of our time and in a hurry we may forget to post the figures from each working note into the consolidated balance-sheet. Result: We win battle but lose the war.
THE EXAM IS A MIND GAME.
Third part will come shortly.( After the exams)
Best of luck guys..