Many people are surprised when they walk into their exam room for one main reason – they are not the only ones there! With the exception of the exams held in rural and small city centers, there can be quite a few people writing at one time. This December, Winnipeg is expecting over 100 students alone that day! This includes everyone from our discussion classes as well as students who chose the self-study option and are working on rewrites. That is why we always tell people to arrive early to get their choice of seats and to help us get everyone registered by the time the exam starts. We will have the full team out from IBAM to get everyone settled in time but that number of people can definitely be a challenge.
But what is everyone writing? Many of the students are writing their CAIB exams but a few are writing their CPIB exams and even their CCIB exams. That is a lot of acronyms to keep track of!! I always would caution my students to never gauge how you are doing on your exam with how others in the room are doing. You will notice when you open the exam booklet that everyone has different colored exams – these indicate which exam everyone is writing. So do not panic when the person next to you is writing a 2 page essay while you are only answering short form questions… your book might be green and theirs yellow indicating you are taking completely different courses.
The exam will start at 9:00am with students asked not to come any later than 8:45am in order to get everyone seated in time. You will have from 9am until 12:30 to write with no extensions for time. Be sure to use the entire time given to you. Even if you finish early, check and see if everyone else around you is done, if they are not, you probably missed something, or they are checking their work!
What to do if your mind goes blank – most students fear this happening. If it does – put your pen down, take a deep breath, sit back and relax for a moment. If you’re in the middle of an answer, read through what you have written so far – what happens next? If you have to remember formulae, try associating them with pictures or music while revising. If you really can’t progress with this answer, leave a gap. It will probably come back to you once you are less anxious.
If you are running out of time – don’t panic. Look at the questions you have left to answer and divide up your remaining time to cover them all. Be very economical – make one point support it with evidence and then move on to the next point. If you really can’t finish in time, briefly list the points you wanted to make – they could pick you up a few marks.