Exam Strategy

You have studied for months and you wake up on the day of the exam. Will it end up being a great day that will give you hopes of passing the exam? Or will you end the day in tears after a disastrous day? Of course, most of what will determine your success is the months of studying, your crunch week, and the last week. But there are still several things that you can do to maximize your chances of moving on to the next level. Here are a few key things that I always felt were important to make the day as efficient as possible.

Time Management

It’s always a good idea to have a watch on your desk so you can keep track of time. This will help you figure out how things are going. You should always have a good feeling of how you are doing time wise. Why? Because this will dictate how you do on the exam. If you are not doing great time wise, you should skip questions that are taking too long and leave them for later. There is NO excuse for not finishing the exam. Spending 20 minutes on one question instead of answering the last 5 or 6 is a losing proposition. Always know how you are doing and adjust as the exam goes by.

Follow Your Order

Questions start at #1 and end at #120 in each exam. There is no  rule that says you should do them in order. Personally, I always preferred starting with sections that would help me build confidence. Usually, that would be asset valuations. So I would start reading the set and move to the next one if it didn’t seem like a set that I would do well on. Why? Because confidence is key. Wait until you have some confidence to tackle the trickier parts.

Lunch Break

You have a lunch break between the morning and afternoon sessions of the exam. I think you should plan how you want to spend that time, who do you want to eat with, do you want to discuss the exam or not, where and what should you eat? There are as many answers as there are candidates but I think it’s better in general to have lunch with friends or family, to eat something light and, as close from the exam site as possible.

Read Questions Carefully

It sounds obvious but there will be many traps in the exam. Some are voluntary and others are not. You have to read the questions carefully. You know as well as I do that one word can alter the entire significance of the question. Take a few more seconds to read the question slowly but surely. It can make a major difference.


Use a page somewhere to note questions which you are unsure about. Be sure to start off by revising these questions but if you have free time, take a look at others too. You might have misread a question and re-reading it will make a difference. When doing a revision, always start over instead of assuming that you understood the question the first time around.

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