Rachel talks about studying for exams during COVID-19.
I was due to sit my Part 2 Tax exams in April 2020 and was three weeks into my study leave when we received the news that the exams would be deferred until August 2020. At first, the news seemed like the end of the world as the majority of my study leave had been used and I was worried that the revision I had done would go to waste. I was also worried about whether the exams would even go ahead at all, given the number of students who do these exams each year and how the institute could facilitate exam halls for the amount of students while maintaining social distancing.
Once I received notice that the exams would be taking place in August on an online platform from home, I had to change my approach to studying. Previously all my study revolved around practicing past exam questions and writing them out, however I had to start practicing past exam questions using office word to ensure that I got used to this method of examination. It was difficult as not only was I covering the material I also had to improve my typing skills to ensure that I was getting the questions done in the correct amount of time.
We received online training once a week from the tax training team in Grant Thornton up until we went on study leave again, this was useful as there were various topics covered each week and we were able to request certain topics to be covered in advance of the next session.
Overall I preferred doing the exams online as opposed to in an exam hall. For me the big improvement was not having the commute or stress of trying to make it to the exam hall in time, I was able to walk to the next room, begin my exam and submit it once I was finished or the time was up. I did not feel as nervous before or during the exams either as there was no interaction with anyone beforehand discussing what they covered, didn’t cover etc. I found it was easier to prepare for the exams during COVID due to working from home. Once I was finished work for the day I could take a short break and start studying straight after whereas usually I would be commuting and would be too tired to study when I got home.