Everyone has various styles of studying and you need to find the best way that works for you. We would share what has worked for us in these five points:
1. Have a schedule for study
– Working full-time and having a family full-time, we needed to stick to a schedule, which is studying while the kids are in bed and on weekends.
– You need a dedicated partner/family/friend to be able to study on weekends, to take care of other things for you
– It may require that you say no to some invitation for dates and parties with friends and families.
This was one of the most challenging things for us. Imagine having to say no to almost all playdates or have your partner take the kids for playdates and events while you sit in front of the screen/screens studying. It requires such sacrifice; in the end it will pay off.
2. Have a friend/study partner:
– This should be someone whose goal aligns with yours, not someone who is half-way in and out. Otherwise, they will pull you down with them.
– You should be accountable to each other. Discuss difficult topics and research together.
FT and I were study partners from PREP to PEP. We tried taking the same courses at the same time but this was not always possible due to various life events. For example, I needed to take one semester off when I had a baby. There was also a time when I had planned two important trips in a semester and needed a break. We had a goal to write CFE at the same time, since it requires lots of study time and having a partner would be helpful. However, sometimes things don’t turn out as planned.
There are people that do better without study partners, if that worked for you in the past, you may want to stick with that.
3. Take time off for exam prep, where possible
– Re-attempt some of the questions from week 1-6 in Preparatory and week 1-8 in PEP within suggested time. We found re-attempting some of the questions to be one of our key success factors (KSFs). It gives confidence and helps identify areas where we need more work.
– The initial goal of our study is usually Level A and B competency level. We make sure that we are familiar with level C, just so we have an idea in case they get tested.
We always take at least 4 days off before the exam day. When we did Preparatory courses, we took one week off most of the time. There is usually about a week break after the module for exam preparation during the Preparatory program.
Some people may not be able to take a lot of time off due to the nature of their work. However, you should ensure you clear your evenings and weekends a few weeks leading to the exam to be able to study and re-attempt some of the questions.
4. Rest the night prior to exam
– You need this to help you function well during the exam. It may seem unimportant but this will help you feel more confident and easily remember what you have studied.
5. Do your best during the exam
– Sometimes after all this, you may still come across questions you are not prepared for, but you should try to attempt those during exams. There is no negative marking, you may end up being correct. Marks may be awarded for trying, but no mark will be awarded for questions not attempted.
If you are preparing to write PREP, PEP or any other professional exam, we wish you success and hope that you find these tips helpful in your preparations.