In our second postgraduate student insight blog, Finance Masters students share their highlights from their first exams.
Eleanor Davidson, MSc Financial Mathematics:
My undergraduate degree didn’t have any January exams, so it was a bit of a shock for me having to revise over the Christmas vacation for the first time, alongside all the obligatory family commitments and New Year celebrations! My saving grace was the work I had put in during Term 1.
A number of my modules had bi-weekly tests throughout the term, each of which counted for only a small fraction of the overall module mark, and so at the time seemed a little insignificant and were tempting to neglect.
However, taking the tests seriously, and using them as an opportunity to keep up with the material and identify areas of concern early on, was invaluable for me when it came to intensive exam revision over the holiday.
Yide Song (Derek), MSc Finance
For most students like myself, it is always the upcoming exam season that peaks the desire for studying. Efficiency is crucial if you want both distinctions and summertime chilling. So here I want to share with you a few exam preparation tips I found useful.
Firstly, read through the lecture slides and take notes before attempting any seminar questions or past papers. Whilst understanding the fundamental knowledge will enable you to solve any variations of questions related to the topic area, practising is just to make sure that you can apply the knowledge learned. The lecture recording system that WBS provides is also a great supplement to be used during revision.
Secondly, always ask if you are not sure. Don’t simply skim through the topics that you don’t fully understand. Email lecturers and ask your bright classmates in the mean time to get instant explanations.
Lastly, complete past papers before looking at solutions. Although it is necessary to check the solutions and correct your mistakes when doing past papers, this should happen after you complete the whole paper. You will not be able to experience real exam atmosphere and time yourself if you check the answers after each question.
Robert Palasik, MSc Finance & Economics:
For me, the most useful trick for preparing for exams was to start preparation exams well before the break before actually starts!
Having to take exams on app. 40 lectures worth of materials per term can seem daunting. But it can be made easier by going through whatever is covered during classes with the question of “How can this be examined on?” immediately after class, and making a separate collection of revision notes and reading notes after each week.
Thus when exam term comes around, you will have a neat collection of notes listing all concepts useful for exam, and memorising what you need to remember and seeing the connections between topics will then be much easier.
Habib Hinn, MSc Finance & Economics:
Prepare well and relax! My experience with exams is to solve many problems and exercises as time allows. This gives you better insight and understanding of the material at hand, as each question comes with a new idea and a trick that you are now aware of.
Time is very scarce during exams; you don’t want to waste it figuring out small tricks or rewriting your answers. Needless to say, exams are very challenging, but so are all our great achievements. It takes dedication and sacrifice but once you are done you get to enjoy that satisfying feeling of accomplishment.
I have to stress that your worst enemy is distraction. Turn off your mobile phone, move your laptop away (if you are not using it to study), and stay away from all those little things that keep you distracted and waste your time.
With each distraction, your mind is occupied with thoughts that move your attention away from your studies. Your exam date or assignment deadline will not change but that Facebook notification or WhatsApp message can wait an hour or two.
Despite everything I have said so far, always remember that exams are just a systemized means of assessment.
Failing or passing is not the end of your journey, you still have your whole life to achieve whatever you aim at. What matters the most is your ability to interpret the world around you and come up with genuine solutions and innovations. Always remember that you can achieve all your aspirations through dedication and effort. Success is not cost free.