Knowing About The Exam

Familiarise yourself with the exam

For some, exams are something we take in our stride and manage as part our professional or personal development.

For others, they are a stressful, inconvenient, and necessary evil, something to be dreaded and often an obstacle to the future.

Whichever of these two camps you fall into, a key aid to improving performance is knowledge of the exam process.

In your studies:

  • The structure and objectives of your study will help you to focus on an outcome and to organise yourself as necessary
  • Also, knowing why you are undertaking the study is an important factor that will help you to keep motivated and on track

The same principles apply to exams. Spending time at the beginning of the exam process to familiarise yourself with what it entails is vital. There is no merit at all in arriving for an exam without having prepared in an organised fashion and without any knowledge at all of the exam structure and requirements.

To motivate yourself throughout the exam process, you must know what is in it for you.

It is essential to make sure you know what the exam entails and what you need to do to pass. In a later topic we will outline the revision process and give you some techniques for improving your performance.

What you need to know

Fees and bookings

For those undertaking a professional qualification, it will be necessary to register for the exam by paying a fee. If your employer sponsors your qualifications, they may be able to help you with this. Alternatively, most of the financial services institutions now have telephone or online registration facilities.


For some qualifications there is a diary of examination dates whilst for others, it is possible to book in for an exam at an examination centre at your own convenience. The date of the exam is obviously important because you need to be there but moreover, it is important because it gives you the focus for your study plan and revision timetable.


You must find out the start and finish time of the exam to ensure you are there promptly and to get an understanding of the time available to you to complete the examination paper.

For professional qualifications, examinations are often run in two sessions (morning and afternoon) and sometimes at the same time, so if you are sitting more than one exam, you need to check there is no clash of timetable.


If you are sitting an exam for a professional qualification the location of the examination centre will be pre-published by the relevant institute or association.

Some larger employers – and of course, academic institutes – have their own examination centres on site and it is also possible to sit some professional examinations in Driving License centres.

Whatever the venue, make sure you know where it is, where to park and how long it will take you to get there. A “dry run” might even help reduce nerves on the day.


Complete the checklist below to show you are sufficiently informed and have made the necessary arrangements in relation to your own forthcoming examination(s).

Click here <<>> opens a PDF document that you can print to complete the checklist.