Finance is a subject picked only by a select number of individuals. Having to deal with numbers to such a massive extent is something that only interests some people. To put this into perspective, in 2016-17, two million students in the US graduated with a bachelor’s degree. Of these, only 37,000 or less than 2% had a specialization in general finance. However, fast forward to 2022, and nearly every 1 in 4 students take a course in personal finance because of state requirements that have come into effect across the country.
Finance is important to study for every individual, but for those who pursue it as a major, the levels are different. Specialized finance education draws on numerous subjects like data science, math, business, accounting, and even marketing, to name a few. It may come as no surprise then that students can struggle at times, especially with exams. Still, if you want to become a part of the developed market that provides lucrative jobs to finance professionals, acing exams with flying colors may be imperative.
Here are a few tips for finance students to perform well in their exams:
1. Start by collecting and getting your resources in order
Getting a good grade on an exam is a process that starts with a strong foundation. This involves ensuring your study material is in proper order. Fortunately, with modern programs like an online bachelor’s degree in finance, it is much easier to gather resources because presentations, lectures, and notes are all available digitally. For regular degree programs that involve taking physical classes, you may have to put in more effort, especially when collecting notes for classes you might have missed.
As part of your respective degree, there are multiple courses that you might be taking during every semester. Over the course of a few months, your notes can become mixed up and hard to find. The simple solution to this is to start the process of organizing notes from the start. Make separate collections for physical notes, or if you are taking online classes, different folders for each class or each topic can go a long way in helping you ace your exams.
2. Break large subjects into smaller chunks
Some topics during your finance degree can be extensive and complicated. For instance, the International Accounting Standards (IAS) are mandatory to study and understand as part of your accounting courses. Since there are several regulations and guidelines under the IAS, you can break them down into smaller sections instead of trying to learn them all in one sitting and getting overwhelmed by the extent of it.
This is similar to how some students take their time to comprehend how financial statements are structured. You could, of course, break that up into smaller pieces too. First, comprehend the concept behind fixed and current assets that make up the asset side. Next, you move on to the liability portion, which can be followed by the equity section. A better grasp and stronger knowledge of your financial concepts will result from breaking these concepts down into smaller pieces.
3. Utilize flashcards for maximum efficiency
This may be one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it is one of the most effective. Especially when it comes to remembering and understanding vital financial concepts and facts, writing them down goes a long way. And when writing is concerned, flashcards are the best option. With the help of flashcards, you can test yourself without anyone’s help. Simply write the questions on one side and the answers on the other to test how well you are prepared for the upcoming exams. Flashcards are such a key tool that even modern applications allow students to create digital notes to facilitate the study process. Moreover, some students think that flashcards don’t come in handy when learning extensive topics, but the truth is that there is always a way around it.
4. Practical knowledge should be your priority
Most institutions are now moving away from traditional teaching methods that demand memorization from their students. In order for students to use their knowledge in the profession, educators encourage them to progress toward practical learning. Students should therefore concentrate more on using their knowledge in real-world situations.
You should understand how to apply important theories and concepts in the real world rather than merely memorizing them. Use old exam questions and drills for that. For example, you are consolidating financial statements for fictitious companies; instead, imagine that you are doing it for real because, as an accountant or financial analyst, you will have to do it in the corporate world as well. This will not only help you study better but will also ensure you are ready for the professional field.
5. Phase out distractions while studying
Procrastination and distractions are two of the most common elements that hinder effective learning processes. That smartphone with constantly buzzing notifications, the PS5 lying in the corner, or just your comfy mattress calling your name, there are so many things to distract you while studying. However, if you want to do well in your course, you must put these distractions aside.
Be aware that you need to put distractions aside. This doesn’t mean that you don’t take breaks every now and then because the human brain has a certain tendency to absorb information which varies from person to person. If you constantly bombard the brain with information without giving it a break, it can crash. Take breaks at regular intervals, and this is when you can indulge in your distractions. But when studying, it is best to bundle these things up and put them aside.
6. Past papers help a lot when preparing for exams
Past papers are an effective resource both for teachers and students. Often, instructors developing assessment tests tend to take inspiration from questions that have been asked in the past. This means that when you go through the previous papers and practice these questions, you will not only be able to spot a question that is drawn along similar lines but also effectively solve it.
Acing finance exams is a herculean task. Although it may seem more daunting for some students, it requires the same level of effort as any other subject. All you really need to do is have an effective strategy in place. Keep your study material organized, divide larger topics into smaller ones, take help from flashcards and past papers, and put all distractions aside when studying. Together, these tips will help you go a long way toward completing your exams and coursework.