One sentiment most candidates of our PR Certification Course often express is that NIPR examinations are difficult to pass. I disagree. Having written and passed these examinations myself and having coached many to excellence over the years, I can say without any fear of contradiction that it is easy to pass the NIPR examinations if you abide by these eight key principles.
- Analyze your situation before you take the plunge
What is your work, family and social schedule like? Do you have enough time to prepare for the examinations? It is difficult to pass NIPR or any other professional examinations without creating adequate time to prepare for them. The key word here is creating, meaning you’ll have to squeeze time out of your work, family and social schedules to prepare. My experience has shown that you need a minimum of four to six hours a day for at least six weeks to study for the examinations.
- Develop and follow a study plan
A study plan spells out your schedule of study times. It helps you manage your time. You must be committed to your study schedule, avoiding all distractions, if you want to prepare adequately for the examinations. Remember to capture at least the minimum number of hours of study per day.
- Prepare! Prepare!! Prepare!!!
It has been said that success is the culmination of hardwork and thorough preparation. Passing the NIPR examinations requires just that. Preparation means mastering the body of knowledge of the particular stage of the examinations you’re writing. It’s not the same thing as memorizing your study materials. Rather, it means understanding the theories, principles and concepts and how to apply them in real life situations. Preparation also means covering the syllabus in all the courses you’re writing before the date of the first paper. NIPR applies a holistic approach to its examinations. You shouldn’t be surprised to see questions from a particular subject in another.
- Keep track of current affairs
A part of real preparation is to keep track of current issues in the public domain, especially those that are gaining traction nationally and relate to the courses you’re writing in the examinations. PR people analyze trends, predict their consequences and counsel their employers or clients on the best foot to put forward in order to avoid damage to their reputations. The examiner wants to know you can do the same.
- Stay focused on your goal
Your goal is to excel in the NIPR examinations. Let your focus be on that. Let that sit in the forefront of your mind always. Neuropsychology tells us that a portion of our brain known as reticular cortex alerts us to elements in our environment which are relevant to the goal that is clear on our consciousness.
When you focus on the goal of excelling in your NIPR examinations, you begin to happen upon opportunities for its realization. You may become drawn to topics or issues you didn’t pay much attention to or to people or other candidates who may share understanding of issues or trends that knock off or positively reshape ideas you held concerning them.
- Treat old question papers
Old question papers tell you how the examiner thinks and the type of questions he likes to ask. Your business is not to forecast questions that may likely be repeated in your examinations. You may be disappointed. Rather you are to note the stickiness of the questions in order to prepare adequately for them. In fact, if you walk into the examination hall without knowing the nature of the NIPR examination questions, you’re likely to walk out of the hall without answering one correctly. · Be calm
Calmness in the face of an examination is a product of proper preparation. Locate your examination centre before the due date and get there on time. If you’ve done all the right things we’ve talked about in this article and still find yourself nervous in the examination hall or before entering the hall, take ten deep breathes, hold each as long as you can before you exhale. That’s the magic to help you return to a calm state again. You need it to co-ordinate your thoughts when answering the questions.
- Seek first to understand the questions
I often receive loads of confessions from our PR Certification candidates who ended up giving wrong answers to questions only to realize it when they stepped out of the examination hall or when it was too late to make necessary corrections. Don’t let that happen to you. Endeavour to mark the key words in the questions and answer questions accordingly. Such key words could be: outline, discuss, list, analyze, explain, state and so on. Don’t assume their meaning. Check them up in your dictionary and master their meanings before the examinations.
Success in anything in life is guaranteed when we go by the rules or guiding principles. NIPR examinations are no exceptions. Follow these eight principles and your success is assured.
- Vincent Utere, a Public Relations Trainer and Consultant is the CEO /Managing Partner of Vinakoms Associates.