Dealing with the Exam Stress

peugeot Registered Posts: 624 Epic contributor 🐘
I have a read couple of threads where students are panicking quite badly about next week - in particular panic attacks.

I have gone through exactly the same thing and I found that the best way of dealing with the stress of exams is to do the following:

- remember the reason why you're doing the exam - it's for you to enhance your profile and to develop your skills.
- you've gone through studying for the paper - the exam is the last hurdle.
- if you get questions wrong during the revision process - it doesn't mean you don't know what to do. A lot of questions contain, what I call, "prizewinners" marks i.e. hidden marks which aren't immediately apparent but if you don't get them, you won't necessarily fail the question.
- remember you can only be penalised ONCE for a calculation error. If you carry the error down, you aren't marked down again.
- the exam isn't designed for you to get 100%. As long as you know the basics, you'll be fine.
- just remember you're not on your own - hundreds (if not thousands) will be sitting the same exam and will be going through the same thing.
- in the exam get some easy marks in the bag. Be neat, presentation marks can be available. If you are asked to write a report, do that - you may get credit for doing what the assessor wants.
- try to keep as calm as possible. I know that's easy for someone to say who's done all their exams, but if you panic you may lose focus. If you feel like you're going to panic or hit a question that throws you into a panic, just take a minute to reread the scenario/question. If you reread the question/scenario you will pick up words that you didn't take in the first time, which will trigger your memory. Simple things, like reference to an accounting standard, may make the question seem like "child's play" once it's re-read.
- stick to the time allocation. The exam is designed to be 3 hours long (with 15 mins reading). If you finish a question before the suggested time allocation, go back and see how you can "add value" to your answer - if you finish before the time allocation you may remember something else when you reread your answer. Time allocations are given in the questions for a reason and therefore it should take you no more and no less than the full exam time to complete the paper.

Finally one thing I will say about the exams are that they are testing your competence - they are not testing your ability to get 100% in all the papers you are sitting. Technical excellence is not being tested - it's your application of knowledge to scenarios. Technical papers like DFS, BTC, PTC, FRA etc are testing your ability to, not only calculate numbers but to comment on the numbers. A lot students, I found, when I produced my suggested answers in June to DFS had seemed to have directed their revision moreso towards the computational aspect of the paper - and failed on the discursive aspect (a lot failed on section B). It's easy to lose track of what the paper is all about - you need the ability to (a) calculate and (b) to write. The AAT is testing your ability to calculate numbers and comment on what the numbers represent - this is a crucial part of an accountants job and that is what you are training to be.

Finally - good luck. It will all be over in a week's time.

Best regards


  • jackie
    jackie Registered Posts: 81 Regular contributor ⭐

    Thanks Steve,

    I feel better for reading that :001_smile:

  • Lin84
    Lin84 Registered Posts: 12 New contributor 🐸
    I feel better reading that too! Just got to stay focused!

    Thank you!!!
  • King of the Mountains
    King of the Mountains Registered Posts: 66 Regular contributor ⭐
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