The answer to this old joke is, “one bite at a time”.
I suspect that when some CTP candidates are confronted with the amount of subject matter in the BOK that needs to be studied in order to pass the CTP exam, they procrastinate and don’t start studying until just before their exam date. If this is the case, they adopt a” cramming” preparation strategy and for most people this is not a recipe for successfully passing the exam.
In general, one of the major causes of procrastination is that the task at hand is perceived to be simply overwhelming. One way to stop procrastinating because of this perception, is to break the task down into sub-tasks (ie. "small bites”) and handle them one at a time. In Project Management, this procedure is known as creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) where the major components of the project are first identified and then broken down into sub-tasks. Once the sub-tasks have been completed, the goal of the project has been satisfied. I think the WBS concept has application as an exam preparation strategy where the goal of the “project” is to pass the exam
Here’s how it would work. First identify your knowledge gaps which could be individual chapters in the Essentials of Treasury Managment or a portion of a chapter. Then breakdown each knowledge gap into its major components such as; calculations, definitions, processes, etc. And finally, breakdown each major component into a number of sub-units that need to be studied. Once you’ve completed the exam preparation WBS, start selecting and studying those sub-units that don’t take a lot of study time (ie. “smaller bites”) and check them off your WBS as they are completed.
This strategy can give you a feeling of accomplishment, that serves as a deterrent to procrastination, and which is compounded over time as you complete an increasing number of the sub-units that need to be studied. More importantly, this strategy puts you in control of your exam preparation effort because you are steadily reducing the elephant (ie. the BOK) to a manageable number of bite size elephant burgers.
- George Schilling, CTP