Myth 1: Practicing under exam conditions at home will help during examination.
It is impossible to replicate exam hall experience, the brain actually knows what you are writing is a real exam or a practice exam and you can’t fool it. Tension in Exam hall is normal for any average student which can’t be avoided.
Myth 2: Attending courses and doing pilot papers, past papers and mock exams will help students to pass exams.
As each exam is different and just like any other project, professional stage advanced exams are unique hence doing past papers will not help much except providing learning experience of form and style of exam.
As we already know about learning curve which is only applicable for repetitive processes and as every exam is different hence we can easily say that practice will not make you pass.
So what we get by practicing past papers or doing mock exams is to get familiar to exams to some extent which certainly helps us to get close to pass and are not just enough to make us pass. What is required to pass exam are analytical skills which are unfortunately different for each exam.
Myth 3: We have 1.8 minutes per 1 mark or 1.95 minutes per each mark if we take 15 minutes reading time.
This is the most dangerous assumption which we make, which I realized during my last P5 exam
The concept of 1.8 minutes per 1 mark or 1.95 minutes per each mark if taken 15 minutes reading time consists of not just writing answer, but reading, analyzing, thinking for its application with interrelation to other aspects and writing.
If you have 30 marks for a particular case which is having 3 requirements, don’t make conclusion that 18 minutes or 19.5 minutes are available for each question.
First remove reading time, analyzing time and thinking time, i.e., if it takes 25 minutes, then you have left with only 10 minutes for each question.
Also remember that you have to reread repeatedly for each question if you have not clearly read the case and noted important points first, this further changes time set for each subsequent questions.
So it is always recommended to read question first and note important points while reading the case, but still we have to reread scenario for next question.
Myth 4: Writing more will help me in getting more marks.
From the above we can clearly say that reading time, analyzing time and thinking time is inversely proportional to writing time, i.e., with more thinking you can write less and vice versa, and you can score more by writing less with more analysis and scoring poorly with more writing and less analysis.
At professional levels what is required is more analysis, it is once stated by P3 examiner (if I am right in examiners report of December 2011) that he personally valued one paper where the student scored 94% by writing just 18 pages.