how to prepare for an exam

I recently wrote a major common final examination. I’ve been preparing for this since I decided to start the course. It is déjà vu. I’ve gone through a similar thing more than a decade ago but I had to go through a similar one after moving to this foreign land I now call home. Both times I found trust to be vital.


How do you prepare for an exam? I’d like to share that on today’s two things Tuesday.


1> Do your best

I remember telling my dad one time when he asked me how my school project was doing, I told him “I try my best”. He told me I’m doing it wrong. My dad said that in everything I do, I shouldn’t just be trying. I should DO my best. I was confused then being an 8 year old but now I understand.


We had 8 weeks to prepare for the exam and it seemed short. I had so much topic that I wanted to go back to and caring for a new born is not entirely the perfect timing to be studying for a major exam. But all these things aren’t really obstacles. These are things we often take to make excuses for not focusing on studying, for not keeping with the study plan, for getting unsatisfactory result on practices cases.


I realized I can’t focus on the negatives. I can’t focus on what is stopping me to succeed in this. I need to instead concentrate on the things that I can control and can do something about. It is hard but if you put your mind to it, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. You need to trust yourself that you can do it. Just do your best.


It was especially hard to be getting unsatisfactory results on practices cases throughout the preparation module but the important thing is that I know I am doing my best and that I keep trying to improve as I go; because honestly, that’s all I can do.


2> God will do the rest

God has been with me throughout my journey and in everything I do, I know there’s only so much that I can do. And that the rest is still up to him. It all boils down to his greater plan. It might not exactly be my plan, but I know for sure that it is what is best.


You’ve got to trust the Lord that he will pick up where you left off. He will fill what you’re lacking. He will patch what you are weakest about. You need to trust him that he will be there with you; all the way. And I did. I do.


People of different faith may say this is the part where luck plays a role. Whatever it is, you have to trust that the universe, the creator or luck perhaps, has a role in all this. And trust that things will eventually fall into place.



The preparation is tough but the waiting time is even worse. I don’t know yet how the exam would turn out. But knowing that I did my best and that God’s will will be done gives me comfort that whatever the result will be, I will not have regrets. I will not have what ifs. I will not have anyone to blame yet I have so much to be thankful for. In fact in any endeavour, hard work, trusting yourself and God and making sure that failure won’t bring you down is what it’s all about.



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going back

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that this week forward is all about going back.


It’s been almost three months since I had my tiny human whom I love so dear. Maternity leave isn’t the best kind of holiday leave that one would instantly enjoy. I’m enjoying my baby angel of course but all the sleepless nights and figuring-out-baby-cries isn’t exactly super fun. Now I figured it’s been too long to have all my days seem the same – wake up, shower, hang out with my tiny human, sleep and then repeat.


Going back.. to reading

In fear of boring myself to death before I went on maternity leave (which is kind of stupid to think I’d be bored at all), I bought the series of Game of Thrones book. I love the TV series and I’m pretty sure it’s way better in the books. I haven’t gone far on the first book. It’s a good read but there’s barely chance for me to read. I do make time at night while holding my little angel to sleep. That’s enough for now – a chapter a night.


Going back.. to exercise

I had to wait till I’m completely healed from the pregnancy and giving birth before I start on any exercise. I started on some simple crunch exercises to tone down the baby pooch and some leg exercises for the thighs. It’s frustrating that most of my jeans and shirts seemed like they belong to someone else when I tried them on. I knew this would’ve happened. It’s annoying but it’s not too late. So I’m going back to the gym in a couple more weeks. We’ll see if the work outs would work out.


Going back.. to school

I went back to school in 2014, a year after I moved in this foreign land that I now call home. I’ve been through a lot of modules and courses. It was not easy going back to school especially because I’m already done with school a long time ago and I’ve been working for so long I don’t remember how to do home works no more. Well, finally if I keep on passing, I’d be done in the fall.


Going back.. to Toastmasters

I took a break from my public speaking club since I got pregnant. There were too many things going on at that time with work, school, my husband and the weather. I’m pretty excited to go back and write speeches again. I am looking forward to meeting the new members of the club and participating in so many activities.


Going back.. home

I’ve waited so long for this year. This is the year that I get to go back to my home country and celebrate the holidays with my family. I’ve already started my list of things that I need to buy for my aunties, cousins, friends and god children. It’s been too long since I’ve spent Christmas at home so this year’s going to be a blast for sure.


I’ve seen the migratory birds flying back to Wascana Park in the morning. That was the mark. This is the beginning. This year is sure to go through fast with all these things that I’m going back to.





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The bigger picture

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. It is the first step into achieving a set goal. It is a road map designed to get you closer into the realization of a future that you would want to become, a future that you would want to be living in; the future that you imagine. I am quite a peculiar planner – I plan for almost anything and in all my life-long years of experience about planning I learned 2 things:

Bad plans are those that do not accept modifications

Good plans are when you plan for actions instead of planning for results

I remember when I was about 9, I planned my whole day, every hour of it – from waking up, eating, when to take shower, when to brush my teeth and the littlest thing. I ended up so frustrated with myself because I couldn’t keep up with my day’s plan; which was insane to say the least. Another time, I planned my wardrobe for a month and actually writing it down on the calendar. I planned for a matching shoes, bag and accessories to go with it. I stuck to that plan even if I didn’t feel like wearing those clothes I’ve written on some days or even if it doesn’t exactly match the weather; which was totally stupid. I realized that bad plans are those that do not accept modifications. Tweaking parts of your plan does not mean cheating nor was your plan a failure. It’s simply change.

As I matured, so did my planning prowess, well, that’s what I’d like to think anyway. At that time, my plan was to finish school by age 21 – a very specific planned result. That was by far the most life-changing plan I’ve had so far compared to planning my day’s activity by the hour or planning for a month-long wardrobe. So then I carefully thought about what could stop me from finishing school at age 21 – financial problem would be top reason, failing the course would be another reason and may be early pregnancy could be a factor too. To ensure my plan becomes reality, I took a scholarship to fix the financial problem. I decided not to entertain any suitor until after college so I can concentrate on my study. Well, a year before I finished, I was kicked out of school for failing a subject. My dreams were shattered because the plan was to be done school by age 21. I realized then that good plans are when you plan for actions instead of planning for results. I could’ve simply created an effective study plan which would’ve made more sense right, rather than over thinking possibilities and negativity and trying to prevent them from happening.

And so after college, my ultimate plan was to work in audit firm and work my way up to being a partner on that firm. For 6 years as an auditor, I was happy. I was able to accomplish some remarkable achievements; I was able to effect change for a more effective business operations; I grew professionally and socially as I gained so many good friends. I did feel happy but at one spot in my whole being, it felt like I’m missing something.

Finding out, from some silly childhood experience that bad plans are those that do not accept modifications, I decided to quit my job and redesigned my road map to a new venture for success. Finding out that good plans are when you plan for actions instead of planning for results, I thought more about the things that I need to do to achieve that professional contentment that I’m searching for. My new job was much more exciting. I was able to acquire new knowledge being in a different industry; there were more opportunities to showcase your expertise and is not limited to just the usual debits and credits of accounting; there were avenues that cater to employees’ interests outside of work so I was able to participate in event planning committees, public speaking clubs and project publications.

When we think about planning we need to consider that plans aren’t written in stone. And even if we are on track in terms of our original plan, it does not mean we ought to stay on that track. Plans are guide and never a written destiny – it can be altered. When we think about planning we need to consider planning the ways to achieve something because having a goal is not tantamount to planning. Planning the course of action is your actual climb towards your purpose.

I wrote this speech for the third Competent Communications project – Get to the Point for the Toastmasters. The objectives of this speech project are:

• Select a speech topic and determine its general and specific purposes
• Organize the speech in a manner that best achieves those purposes
• Ensure the beginning, body and conclusion reinforce the purposes
• Project sincerity and conviction and control any nervousness you may feel

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