Managerial Finance I (FIN300), your first journey into the world of corporate finance, is about to end!
With the end of the semester upon us, it’s time to make sure you are on the right path as you prepare for the final exam. I am often asked about the best ways to prepare for this exam, and how to prioritize the work. In other words, how can one make sure the performance he/she sees while preparing for the exam is the same as what he/she actually delivers in the exam session? My answer is consistent: practice, practice, practice! The more problems you solve before the exam, the better your chances of mastering the test.
Here are 5 key sources of study/practice you don’t want to miss while preparing for your exam:
1) Class Slides and Practice Questions
After studying the book, you can use the slides as an efficient source of class material review. There are examples with solutions provided, so make sure you practice them before trying any sample tests.
2) End-of-Chapter Problems
Your course book provides a comprehensive list of practice questions at the end of each chapter. The good part is the detailed solution manual shared with you. Try to do as many questions as you can for each chapter. If you only have limited time, make sure you complete the intermediary level questions and a couple from challenge level.
3) Practice Exams
Just like the midterm, you are provided with a sample Final Exam (and a sample Midterm Exam). These tests are the best self-check to make sure your preparation is meeting the expectation. The best time to try these tests is after creating your formula sheet and preferably trying the test in an actual exam setting. Also, make sure to try them at least a week before the exam – this way if you find weak areas there’s still time to catch up on your practice. The last thing you want is to enter panic mode close to exam, so the earlier you try them the safer you will be!
4) Formula Sheet
Finance is a highly formulated course! Your formula sheet is the first step to your success. Try to understand the use and relevance of each formula you put into your sheet. The best thing to do is to see the formula in action and then add it; this means work on a draft formula sheet while you prepare for your exam (no space issue here, so you can actually connect with the formula by adding some additional details and points of reference). Once your practice/coverage is complete, you can create a final formula sheet based on your draft copy and following the exact description in your course outline. (Remember you can only have one sheet!)
5) Financial Calculator
By now you should be skilled at using your financial calculator (if you have any issues, make sure to resolve them ahead of the exam and while you are preparing for the test). A strong calculator skill can guarantee you won’t run out of time. So, even if you can do it with a formula, try to learn the calculator way as well (for the types of questions we used it for in class). Try taking the Final Exam sample with your calculator and formula sheet, and complete within the dedicated time.
I hope that you found these five pointers helpful! In addition, make sure to take advantage of the posted office hours and don’t be shy about practicing with study groups! Finally, remember that enough hard work can make up for intelligence, but no amount of intelligence can make up for a lack of hard work. Practice, practice, practice! Because with enough hard work, anyone can master FIN300!