Half the year is almost behind us and the entire world, reeling under the after effects of the pandemic, is hoping that not only normalcy will return but also offer opportunities to recover lost ground. Students across have been hit hard due to the uncertainty surrounding their educational and professional future. Those in their academic years will see adjustments that will bring academics back on track in some time as the pandemic faces. The real problem is with those who are looking to take up professional examinations. Re-calibrating to the schedule that has shifted a couple of months away can lead to higher anxiety for those pursuing competitive exams.

Financial services as a sector has been home to many professional aspirants. Within the financial sector, banking has traditionally, and, will in future too witness a huge demand of good quality human resources given the fiduciary responsibility involved in the job of bankers. That is probably why exams for banking aspirants are among the toughest to crack.

The delay in exams due to the pandemic hence comes as a blessing in disguise. Aspirants now have some extra time to prepare, which will help them scoring well. So, what should students, aspiring to be bankers of the future, do in order to successfully get through the competitive examination? Here are some guidelines –

Read a lot more than you do

A section of the banking examinations focuses on general knowledge. Hence, it is quintessential that one is aware of what is happening around. Be certain that you follow daily news, know simple yet tricky facts like country capitals, currencies, central banking headquarters etc.

Understand what is required

The first step to successfully crack competitive examinations is to thoroughly understand what is expected to be known by the aspirants. Getting a grip of the syllabus is very important to be in sync with what to prepare for. Analysing your strengths and weaknesses after a scrutiny of the topics and grading them as per weighted allocations based on importance will help in setting priorities and time commitments to each of the line items in your list.

Build on the basics

Before you start attempting questions and mock test papers, always clear your doubts and concepts. Remember, “No question is silly”. It is important to understand the basics thoroughly before proceeding further on complex theories and problems because every concept is born from the basics. Time is the most important factor Every exam is about speed as much as it is about accuracy. It is necessary that you maintain good speed to complete the paper on time and with utmost accuracy since you only have 36 seconds per question. While practicing to have speed, you must also train your brain to move to the next question when you realise you are spending too much time on a question and come back to it later. Thus, it’s important you practice with a timer.

Take mock tests

Once you think you are reasonably prepared, sit down to take a full-length mock paper or previous year question papers. This will help you face the challenges and give you an idea as to how prepared you are and what requires more attention. With each mock paper you take, you will be more confident and gain more speed and accuracy. Fifteen days prior to the exam attempt as many papers you can to get hold of your knowledge and analyse the short comings. Utilise the last days to brush up subjects and improve concepts to maximise output.

To summarise, whatever be the mode of preparing, the effort that one puts into needs to be at an all-time high to survive and face the competition. Hence, regular practise is the way forward to boost confidence as well as feel prepared. You can devise your own shortcuts or methods to prepare and attempt questions in the given time frame. And most importantly, do not think you are under-prepared, that is only the nervousness talking.

(The author is Co-Founder and CEO, Testbook)