Double Exit

CAP1/CAP2 Mocks Study Plans

As we are now three weeks into 2016 the focus for the majority of CAP1/2 students will firmly be on the various CAs taking place. However, it is also important that students take a step back and assess where their overall study plan is. Once the CAs are over the next big hurdle for students will be the mock exams. These are a very important part of the overall CAI study calendar as they provide students with experience of the style and length of exams and also provide a very good gauge of where students are at in terms of their study efforts to date.

Mocks – Realistic Goals

With just over a month to the CAP1 mocks and three months to the CAP2 mocks, now is an ideal time for students to set realistic goals for the mocks and put a study plan in place to achieve these. Such goals do not need to be very big but might include;

  • Gaining experience of reading time and how to use it appropriately (CAP2);
  • Practice of exam technique (e.g. timings, sequence of answering questions);
  • Experience of the length of the exams (e.g. 3h for CAP1 (2h Tax & Law) and 3h50m for CAP2);
  • Practice full length exams in an open book environment (CAP2); and
  • Build up exam stamina – This may seem silly but both CAP1/2 will have exams on consecutive days which can be very tiring for students. While the mocks don’t have this structure, they do typically double up on exams during the weekend which will give you some insight into how intense the process can be.


Mocks – Taking a targeted approach

I always advise students to take a targeted approach to the mocks (and, of course, to sit them as they may not be compulsory for all firms). This is where students pick a certain number of topics already covered in lectures for each subject (e.g. CGT in CAP2 tax as it will be covered early, Q1 in CAP2 FR, Investment appraisal in CAP1 Finance) and that you know will be on the exam in some shape or form (from the syllabus weighting) and to cover those areas very well and then mark yourself out of that for the mocks. The alternative, to attempt to cover the whole syllabus at a high level, is not as beneficial in my opinion. A targeted approach will ensure you have a solid foundation of study in a chunk of the syllabus pretty much complete before your actual study leave begins which will be very helpful as well as allowing you to benchmark your knowledge in these particular areas in the mock exams.


No CA Trap  -Watch for this!

One particular danger for many students is that they tend to (naturally) focus on the subjects that have a CA and neglect those that do not (e.g. finance CAP1 & tax CAP2). This leaves many in a very difficult position once all CAs are over, particularly in those subjects which can be very technical. Thus the mantra “little and often” may be a useful one to follow in this regard. By doing up a study plan in weekly chunks and (realistically!) allocating time to each subject based on CAs etc you will get a more balanced approach and it will also make consider all the subjects that you have to study.


Questions to be asked

Before January 2016 is out students should attempt to map out (at least roughly) the next few months ahead in terms of remaining CAs, mock exams, when study leave begins and the main exam week. Mapping out these key events, plus any key events in terms of work, personal life (weddings, travel etc.) will allow you to put a plan in place for all your different subjects. Starting with an overall map until exam week and then breaking that down further into the number of weeks until the next milestone (e.g. a specific CA) and specific targets across all subjects until then may be the most practical way to approach this.

Below are also some practical questions that students should be asking themselves in the next week or two to get the “housekeeping” in order well before the business end of the calendar approaches;

  • How many sessions have I covered in each subject? Have I attended/watched all these lectures? If not, make a plan to do so.
  • Do I have all the required subject resources (including past papers, syllabus, notes, question packs, textbooks etc) ready?
  • Have I started to put a logical structure on my subject folders to help with study and also be useful for the exams (esp. CAP2 as open book)?
  • Have I set some realistic goals for the mocks and put in place a study plan to achieve these?
  • Am I comfortable with the cumulative principle and that I am up to speed with all the relevant CAP1 material (CAP2)?



CAP1.2 Mock Post


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