Friday, 26 August 2011

While sitting in the exam...

It was 8.30 in the morning and the hall was partially filled with candidates. The administrative staff was moving here and there, clearing out the students, guiding them to their seats and inspecting the arrangements. I had relatively captured my seat earlier and was sitting with hands closed supporting my head. I had placed the identification documents and the lead pencils on the table and was observing the environment. Every one seemed terribly excited and concerned. A strange smile was exchanged whenever I had an eye contact with my peer or someone I knew. It was my fourth experience with such exam environment as The British Council was conducting the exam and prior to appearing in the CFA Level I exam; I had initially appeared in O Level then A Level and then in IELTS. I was relatively confident and was exposed to the operating procedures. It was a strange and relatively knew blend of feelings. The day for which I had practiced a lot had finally come! I had two options to either overcome the fear or let the fear govern me! I was in a continuous strive to eliminate any possibility of the later. I had put in hard chocolates in my pocket and surprisingly before starting of the exam I ate all those. Though I was suppose to utilize them in the final half of the exam roughly after six hours as the core idea of utilizing them was to enhance my energies and its awful that it was the moment when I required a 'power booster'. I had vivid ideas of the exam. My mocks were good with an average score of 78% which is way above the danger area but its really hard to compare the mock with the exam not due to any differences in the questions but due to other phenomenons related with the exam.

My feelings geared up when the clock hit 8.50 and the instructor started to distribute the answer sheet and the questions booklet. As I got the material, I went through the instructions and filled the required fields. A well dressed lady with a sharp voice and a clear accent read the instructions on the mic. As she asked to clear the memory of the calculators; I reset my calculator. It was a terrible mistake and If I had failed to figure it out the consequences would have been drastic. Two minutes before the initiation of the exam; I closed my eyes and waited for the next voice. As the clock hit 9, we were instructed to open the questions booklet and I immediately went to the Corporate Finance section. It was in my plan to start with my strongest area. I completed that section in 5 minutes.

When I attempted the 10th numerical questions it was revealed to me that my calculators decimal points have been set to 2 and we are advised to set it to 4! I quickly configured the calculator and repeated all my numerical questions. I had put in my best to avoid any panic but unfortunately I was experiencing one. Without wasting any further time I controlled my emotions, overcame my feelings and regained my pace. I fizzled out all other things from my mind and attempted my 2nd strongest area to gain confidence. It was Portfolio! As I went through it my confidence retained and I started feeling relaxed. After that a journey of smooth sailing began and continued till the second half of the exam.

I believe there are always moments in the exam when you need to control yourself. If you are able to pull them off, the rest becomes an easier job. The exam is a well thought combination of difficult and easy questions. The questions which we know and the questions which make us think in multiple dimensions. I took each question as my last hope for making me pass. The fear which I controlled in the morning gave me energies to sit in the evening session and complete the exam before time. Before leaving the hall I was happy. I think that happiness was due to the confidence that I would pass the exam. I looked at the hall, prayed for myself and the rest of the candidates and told myself "The next time I be here......It will not be for Level I"

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