First I would like to thank all of you for sharing your wonderful thoughts on my earlier article titled Towards Professionalism published on 29th November. Out of the responses received, majority of the readers asked the most common question on PRESENTATION SKILLS. So, I would like to share some of the important points which every student should inculcate in them at the time of writing answers in Professional Exams.
First, let us understand what the meaning of PRESENTATION SKILLS. I dont like to explain this by giving dictionary meaning or some HR definition rather; I would like to explain the meaning with simple example. Lets assume that you are invited for a birthday party of a small kid, then definitely you prefer to take with you some gifts which kids usually likes may be chocolates, beautiful toys etc.. This means that while making a decision of selecting gift you are actually looking at what is useful for kid and then deciding on it. Now, lets try to relate the above example with your exams. So, here we can co-relate Examiner or paper valuer to kid and the person who gives gift as students appearing for exams. So, students need to gift the answers in such a way that it should be useful for Examiner at time of valuation. The gift what you give is called as Presentation Skills. So, in simple PRESENTATION SKILL is an art to express your answers in such a way that the person who looks at it gets impressed and interest to value it.
Know the Examiner?
It is important to know something about the person who will be valuing your papers. There are some criteria on basis of which Examiners and Head Examiners are selected and it is very important that each and every students know about it. Below, are some of the criteria which institutes adopts while selecting the Examiners and Head Examiners
- Basic qualification is that the person should be an Associate or Fellow member of profession institutes, management graduates from reputed institutes, Master degree and Doctorates with relevant teaching experience etc.
- Minimum post qualification experience will be at least 5 years and there is no maximum limit.
- Publications, research work, books authored, teaching experience etc will be given weightage at time of selection.
- List will be presented to the board and it will be finalizing the names of Examiners and Head Examiners.
- Examiners work will be supervised by Head Examiners.
It is clear now, that you know who will be your Examiners. Question yourselves and tell me now have you ever thought about these things at the time of writing exams? Do you think that the quality of answers what you wrote in exams convinced the Examiners? If your answer is no or confused then practice the below skills which will help you our in improving presentation skills
- Read and Understand the questions properly
- Main question and sub question numbers should be writing neat and visible. For eg. If you are answering part b. of question number 1, then mention clearly Q 1 b)
- Start your answers for questions preferably from new sheet. If there is any space after end of the answer you can strike it off. Always start the new answer in fresh sheet. (you can use PTO where ever it is required).
- Use good quality pencil and scales to draw lines for margins and also at end of each answers.
- Start up to answer those questions which you have more confidence in. Remember, first impression is always best impression. To some extent you can win over the interest of Examiners by presenting correct answers in the beginning.
- While answering questions kindly keep in mind you start up with main answers and working should be at the last as it is only part of the answer. Dont ever start your answers with workings. Eg. In accounting, if the question is on purchase of business and they have asked journal entry , then you need to start the answers with journal entries and calculation of purchase consideration which is a working should be at end of main answer under the heading Workings.
- Where ever there is an assumption, kindly put it bold at end of answer and underline it.
- In theory type of answers, restrict it to bullet points. Avoid paragraph writing.
- In case of papers relating to auditing, taxation, law etc. quote relevant case laws, sections, subsections, clause etc. only in case you are 100% confidence.
- Present the answers in such a format as it is generally accepted according to act, rule, practice or law. For eg. Ifyou are answering costing problem then if you want to prepare cost sheet as working then follow the standard for preparing cost sheet and you should clearly highlight the totals with respective headings like Prime cost, Factory Cost, Administrative cost etc.. In Accounting, if you are asked to pass journal entries, then you need first start up with heading as to Journal entry in books of ---, for the period ----,columns like Date, Particulars, Debit,Credit,Amount (Rs. In paisa) etc similarly follow for preparing ledger accounts. So, you need to follow the standard which is already set and should not deviate for any reasons.
- If the question is about writing differences Eg.
State difference between Standard cost and Estimated Cost? Then your answer should be presented as below
Basis - Standard Cost are planned costs and determined on Scientific basis.
Estimated costs are based on average of the past figures
Use - Standard cost is meant to be used for a concern operating on Standard costing system.
Estimated cost may be used in concern operating on historical Costing system.
You need to highlight the points where your are finding difference. By looking at it examiners will know that you are making correct point of reference.
- Dont ever manipulate figures, especially while preparing balance sheet. If the balance sheet doesnt tally then dont tally balance sheet by manipulating figures. Leave it as it is by totaling asset side and liabilities side.
- For CWA/CS students where ever there is an objective question like fill in the blanks, dont write the questions only write the answers. For true or false answer should be short, max. 3 sentences.
- Marks will be allotted based on steps, so dont miss important steps. You need to follow each and every step while answering (look at the marks while answering).
- There is no half marks which will be awarded. Half mark will be rounded up to next 1 mark and quarter mark if any will be rounded to previous mark.
- If there is choice to questions. For. Eg. Answer 4 out of 5 questions and if you answer all the 5 questions then maximum marks which you score in any 4 answers will be considered.
- When ever it is mentioned on the question paper avoid unwanted discussions in answer, please understand to mean warning message and avoid too much unwanted and irrelevant discussions in the answers.
- Use additional sheets only if it is necessary.
- If u have some time left out, try to revise the answer scripts and highlights the definitions, points, words etc with the pencil.
- Dont ever use markers, colour highlighters, post sticks etc. on answer paper.
Hope, now it is clear as to what PRESENTATION SKILL means for you. So, all the best for your exams.(Especially for CWA/CS students who are going for exams in next one week.)