I headed down to Manchester yesterday to start my MSc adventure.
(I’ll tell you more about that at a later date), but whilst I was down there, I delivered a little presentation for the CII PFS group of Insurance Institute of Manchester.

It was on exam technique (specifically about the AF exams).
I thought it would be useful to share a few insights with you today. It might prove useful to kick-start your studies (or even re-start them).

But, before we start…

I’ve 2 questions for you.
I want you to take your time and answer them and write your answer down; so get a pen.

Write out the answers to the two questions below and then read on (the answers are at the very end of the article)*:

A bat and ball cost £1.10.
The bat cost a pound more than the ball.
How much does the ball cost?

If it takes 5 machines, 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?
100 minutes or 5 minutes?

Got your answers written down?
We’ll come back to that in a minute.

In all my years of studying and teaching there is only ONE way to study: the best and most effective way.
Why wouldn’t you do it that way?

You need to be active in your study.

1. Test yourself on case studies
Use real case study questions. Do what you do each day. Practice on your own case studies and your own clients.
It teaches you what you don’t know, but YOU thought you did.
Making it real makes it come alive and useful. Practice using case studies, because that’s what you’ll be doing in the exam.

2. Write your own notes, develop your own diagrams and do it in your own words; it MUST be your words for your brain. Build your own pictures. Make it yours. Use these notes OPEN BOOK when you practice using case studies. Learn what good feels like.

3. Summarise them over and over again.
You’ll learn more of the key information, in your own words and using your own diagrams and they will stay in your long term memory (at least until the day after the exam; I don’t make any claims after that!).

You can take MASSIVE in roads and MASSIVE strides forward, if you do this for 45mins a day.
You can learn anything in 20hrs: click here

But, why is this so difficult?
Why is it that for 80% of you it will just not happen? Yes, for 80% of you the lazy controller will win.


Let’s go back to the questions and answers?*

Q1: answer 5p
Q2: 5mins


Cognitive effort (thinking, in other words), has been found to be unpleasant to 80% of us and we avoid it as much as possible*.

Making an effort to slowly think through those to questions required effort from your brain.
Your brain doesn’t like to work too hard.

Very much like exercise, 80% of us are not programmed or inclined to naturally pull on the trainers.
It’s the same with our brain power. You are not programmed to want to think slowly.

You are not naturally inclined to work your brain slowly toward an accurate and factually proven conclusion which you understand.

You might recognise this as: RTFQ

Most people seek an easy answer. The first answer. The fast answer.
How do you get on with the questions?

Don’t let the lazy controller take over and beat you. The AF exams are a lot more difficult than those two questions and you will need all the help you can get to take control and learn how to slow think and work through those practice exam questions.

Learn how to slow think and beat the lazy controller.

All questions and theory extracted from ”Thinking, fast and slow”