How should you be mentally conditioned to write the ACCA exam?
What is mental conditioning? Exam anxiety can quickly become a tailspin, causing you to second-guess yourself, make simple mistakes, and forget your technical knowledge. Exam jitters don’t help. If you are stressed, chances are the stress will cause you to earn a lower exam score. Passing the exam requires a unique mix of knowledge, exam strategy, confidence, and stamina. Don’t risk losing control. Be aware of how your nerves can work against you. Here are some tips to help you mentally condition yourselfYOUR NERVES
The power to pass the exam resides in you. Only you can walk into the test centre and answer the questions. No candidate earns points by being nervous. Points are earned by applying knowledge. Nerves of steel are not available for purchase. No store sells them. Just like the much-desired abs of steel, you must work to develop nerves of steel. No one can expect a flat, muscular stomach without hard work and exercise. Simply buying the exercise equipment and leaving it in the box will not help you. The same situation applies to maintaining the nerves of steel during the ACCA exam process. Purchasing study materials is not the answer. You must use those materials to learn. Knowledge reduces fear. The more you learn, the less fearful you will be. Open the materials and study. Work on those questions.VISIT THE EXAM CENTRE PRIOR TO THE EXAM
Just seeing the actual examination location will help keep you calm. Later, when you visualize yourself at the exam, you will have an accurate picture of your surroundings. Trace your route to the exam. If you are taking the exam in a town other than where you live, travel the path to and from your hotel. Be sure the hotel is quiet. Avoid staying at hotels near busy roads and/or railroad tracks. Note the locations of restaurants where you might sit and review your notes before arriving at the test centre.VISUALIZE YOURSELF IN CONTROL
When you reflect on what it will be like at the exam, always visualize yourself as a person in control of the situation. See yourself as calm, collected, and knowledgeable rather than jumpy, fidgety, and stressed. Picture yourself so attuned to the exam material that you couldn’t possibly have time to be nervous. See yourself methodically moving through the questions, working one exam question at a time, staying within the time limits, and completing all of the questions.DON’T CRAM or MUGG UP
Don’t study until the last minute before the exam. Clear your mind. Leave your exam materials at home or in the car. Last-minute study points probably will not remain in your mind throughout the exam. Hastily learned concepts could confuse you and cause you to forget critical concepts you previously mastered.STAY CALM, NOT ACTIVE
Pacing around the house or your hotel room will only add to your tension. Your heart will beat faster, and you might become more nervous. Keep your pre-exam activities to a minimum. Engage in peaceful activities to foster a peaceful state of mindFORGET THE OFFICE
Your colleagues know it is exam day. Don’t call them; they will just remind you of the many looming issues and deadlines. You can’t do anything now about a troubled client or project. Save those concerns for your return the next day.WATCH WHAT YOU EAT AND DRINK
Eat foods that won’t upset your stomach. Having greasy chicken curry or an aloo paratha for a pre-exam breakfast may lead to trouble later on. Stuffing yourself at a breakfast or luncheon buffet leads to a drop in blood sugar levels a few hours later. Stick to your normal routine as much as possible. Now is not the time to experiment, diet, or overeat. Do what you normally do.
Try to eat at least ninety minutes before taking the exam. Give your digestive system a chance to work before you enter the test center. Avoid alcoholic beverages—save them for after the exam. Give yourself the best possible chance to think clearly. Stress levels decrease when you take a rational approach to the situation. This is just one exam. It is not a matter of life or death.DON’T TRY TO SHOW OFF
If you plan to take an exam with another person, don’t try to impress other candidates by reciting concepts out loud. You just might make a mistake and become really flustered. Keep your technical thoughts to yourself. Clear your mind. Engage in light conversation about the weather, a person’s outfit, or the colour of the walls. If a candidate asks you about a technical concept, say you don’t remember. You could become more confused. Once you have arrived at the centre and are sitting in the reception area, there is no time to go back and check your notes. Now is not the time to be helpful. Now is the time to concentrate and focus on the exam.FORGET ABOUT WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW
So what if you see others at the test centre who appear to know more than you? So what if there are areas that you did not study? You can’t do anything about that today. You are at the exam site and must perform with the knowledge you have today. The exam will begin in a few minutes. There is no time to improve the situation. Go ahead and admit that you don’t know everything. Yes, there are content areas where you still feel your knowledge is weak. That’s to be expected with an exam of such technical breadth. You are ready to face the exam. Predict that you will respond to every question to the best of your ability.AT THE CENTRE
Release the tension before you enter the exam room. Once you enter the room and sit down in front of the computer terminal or paper sheet, you must stay calm. See the computer screen/ paper sheet as your friend. Silently say: “Hello, mate. Today we are going to kick some butt.” This may not sound professional, but it will help you release some of the anxiety.BE MENTALLY STRONG
This exam is your event and no one else’s. It is up to you to do your best. A calm, cool, and collected candidate has a much better chance of performing well than a flustered, shaky, and nervous person. Sit up tall in your chair, read the exam questions carefully, and answer those questions with confidence. You are mentally conditioned to write the exam.