Barden Focus: Get the inside track on the FAE Core exams from Lisa Hughes (ACA)In Summer 2014 I was in your seat – only a few weeks to go before my FAEs. I was always good at taking exams but the FAE Core exams were like nothing I had studied for before. Give me a technical question and I would have no problem with it. However, the Core felt like a whole different ball game; and it was. I got my FAE Core exams 1st time round. It wasn’t just luck; it was preparation and planning. August will come around quickly. The FAEs are not an exam you can cram for – you have a challenging few weeks ahead. Here are a few things that I learned in 2014 that might help you out over the next few weeks: The build up to the Core exams:
- It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t procrastinate on getting started – time is not your friend.
- Practice makes perfect – look at mock papers, sample papers throughout the course of study leave and do past papers in real time in the last 2/3 weeks before the exam. Be strict with yourself. Time yourself. Bring snacks which are quick to eat, allow yourself a toilet break half way through, but mimic exam conditions exactly. Getting used to working at pace in a real time setting and figuring out the little times savers that work for you will be critical for the day itself.
- Be able to spot an indicator from a thousand yards. The faster you are at spotting them, the faster you can get to the crux of the case study.
- Get sleep
- Go for a walk to clear your head
- If you don’t know it by now you aren’t going to pick it up by cramming (sorry!)
- Arrive with ample time – you will have to unpack before you get started. I even heard of someone with an Ikea book shelf in the exam on the day – that took a while to construct!
- Know your folders inside out – don’t change it up the day before. Bring in what you are used to working with.
- Make sure you allocate time appropriately to the number of indicators identified – if you are not strict with yourself on this, you will end up not having enough time for another indicator and stress levels are likely to rise.
- It is not all about Day 1. You can make it up on Day 2 so the most important thing is not to panic.
- Do a review of Day 1 with a trusted friend that is at least as smart as you are. If you missed an indicator/subject, do not write it off. You will know what indicators/subjects to focus on in Day 2 and the indicators which you should do first.
- If one area of a subject is covered on Day 1 it is less likely that it will come up again on Day 2. This does not always hold true but it is worth considering.
- Bring your highlighters, make sure they are inked-up and use the same colours as you are used to.
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