How to Approach a Difficult Exam Paper

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes



A difficult examination is coming up. This can feel overwhelming and stressful to you. Don’t worry, it’s normal.

You need to remind yourself that this is simply a challenge which you can handle with persistence and determination.

Your approach should be gradual instead of seeing this as one insurmountable mountain you need to get through.

Most importantly, studying smart is the best strategy you can incorporate in these times. In this article, we’ll be talking about ways on how to approach your upcoming paper.


Cut off all distractions

This should be at the top of your list if it isn’t already. You can’t expect to have the right mental focus and clarity if you’re surrounded by distractions such as phones and video games.

Your distractions can wait;

  • Don’t leave your phone near otherwise, you’ll constantly be tempted to bring it out whenever you want.
  • Log out of your social media accounts, if you have to. Those things will still be there after you have finished your studies.
  • Go into a room or place that does not have a television or game console. You can catch up on whatever you missed later on.

We live in an era where disturbances are everywhere so this is more challenging than it seems, but it’s the one thing on this list that will help you in your tests.


Absorb what you’re studying

There’s a huge difference between studying and just reading through what you’re seeing. Everything you’re reading and memorizing should be something you can explain even without notes or a guide.

This is how you know that your studying was effective.

It’s fairly easy to memorize facts, but it doesn’t guarantee that you were able to comprehend the concepts behind them.

Make sure that your hours of studying were about comprehension and understanding, rather than just gliding through to the end.

This will take more effort, but this kind of studying is what will lead you to success.


Study smart

Studying smart is a great decision you can make in the preparation phase. You can study hard all you want, but it won’t guarantee that you were able to process all the information and knowledge you need.

When you study smart, you can focus on the right strategies and tips that will help you along the way.

This also means that you don’t have to spend entire days studying and agonizing, no matter how difficult it may be.

If there’s a chance you equipped yourself with everything to get ready in less than your expected time, then you’re already studying smart.

Many students make the mistake of spending all their time studying when there isn’t a guarantee of the quality of what they’re doing. Make sure you prioritize studying smart over studying hard and you’ll do okay.


Use the Pomodoro technique

If you aren’t familiar with the Pomodoro technique, this is where you focus on studying for 25 minutes (or so) without any breaks or distraction.

Afterwards, have a 5-minute break afterward where you’re free to do whatever in that short interval.

It’s an effective studying method that’s been used throughout the years as it gives you enough motivation to keep yourself focused and get things done in your studying in those 25 minutes.

Since there’s a 5-minute break afterward, it also avoids the feeling of being burned out.

Your mind is extremely complex and hard-working, but even your brain can get overwhelmed with all the new information it has to process.

With the Pomodoro technique, you can be productive and focused throughout a significant period before having a short break to fuel your mind.


Don’t procrastinate

Unfortunately, a lot of people tend to procrastinate when approaching almost any difficult exam.

This is because since the challenge seems overwhelming and close to impossible, procrastination seeps in as a delay tactic.

However, not only will you become more stressed when you study at the last minute, but your results will be negatively impacted as well.

If you’re striving for the top, you owe it to yourself to start as soon as you can.

We encourage you to give more than enough time to prepare for everything that may come up. This also gives your brain the space to absorb everything it needs to.


Use the 80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule, otherwise known as the Pareto Principle, is a strategy you can incorporate in your studying life. Although often used in the workplace, this is also effective when dealing with an exam.

To summarize this concept, it’s about achieving 80 percent of the results with 20 percent of the effort.

Similar to what we’ve talked about in studying smart, you can use this rule to accomplish massive results with minimal time.

Studying doesn’t always have to necessarily take up your entire day because, for all you know, you’d be drained by the end of it.

Instead, focus on the most important topics you need to study on and focus on just that for the day.

This way, you end up focusing on those massively important things upfront and leave the minor parts for last.


In conclusion

We hope this article was able to shed insight into how you can approach your upcoming FRM paper.

Just knowing that it is going to be difficult can be a real obstacle, but you must remember not to get ahead of yourself.

Remember, if you put your focus on the right things and keep distractions away, you’ll find the challenge bearable.

All it takes is the right motivation and strategy to deal with it, and you’ll be okay.

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