Golden 15 minutes before exam.

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The 15 minutes that we students get just before the exam decide our fate in that entire paper. It is up to us as to how we should utilize those 15 minutes and there is no straight formula for that. I’ll break down in points regarding what I do in those 15 minutes and that how it helps me :

  • We all know that the first question is compulsory and there is no way we can escape it. If the first question itself is tricky, we start panicking from that moment onwards. This has 2 repercussions :
    • We lose track from that moment and are unable to read the rest of the paper with patience and focus.
    • We forget answers to even those questions which we would have been confident about had we not panicked at the first place.

To avoid such situation, I always start with the remaining 6 questions, out of which we are supposed to answer any 5. Even if a question seems tough or tricky or it is something we are coming across for the first time ever (ICAI always gives at least one Extraterrestrial question), we will know that we can skip it and attempt the others. This keeps our mental state in perfect balance and helps us to move forward.

  • While reading questions in theory papers like ISCA, as soon as we read a question and 8 points suddenly start floating right in front of our eyes, we can jot down those 8 headings beside that answer with a pencil (and make sure that the teacher is not looking) and move ahead. When I usually come across an alien question, I forget about the rest of the paper even if the point did come to my mind while reading the paper earlier. The same goes with Section numbers, AS, SA’s, Clauses and a combination of all in papers like Audit, Law, Direct Tax, Indirect Tax. If I’ve written the relevant short point beside every question, it provides me with some clarity while actually writing the paper. In papers like SFM, we can do the same by writing formulas beside every sum. When our minds are fresh, we can recall points much better than when we are actually under the pressure of finishing off the paper. Our minds are headed in just one direction rather than wandering off under pressure.
  • After going through the remaining questions and following point no. 2, it is very important to prioritize the optional ones that we are going to attempt. We should try attempting those which we are fully confident about and which would take lesser time as compared to others so that later we don’t have to go through the moment of realizing that we have attempted only 16 marks in the first 1:30 hours and have only 50% time left for around the rest 80 marks.
  • After following the first 3 steps, if there is any time left (doesn’t usually happen in papers like Audit and DT), I move on to the first question with a calm mind, read it and follow bullet no. 2.

These are certain points that I follow before every 15 minutes that I get in any paper during any exam. However, I would like to repeat that there is no formula for utilizing those 15 minutes. I’ve even seen people sleeping during that time to calm themselves. And then I have seen those who are on the verge of jumping off a cliff. How we utilize this time depends on how calm and composed we are mentally.

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