American author John D. Vinge has rightly said, “Myth is after all, the never ending story.”

Well, his reticent yet to the point connotation of a word which is closely related to competitive examinations of modern times is true to an extent. In fact, it is not the fault of examinations, they are bound to create some myths because they always remain a mystery until you face those “hours” of battle. It is the fault of aspirants, many of whom have believed in a lot of myths along their journey to shape up their preparation regime.

When you make simple things complex, you divert the path of your preparation. It becomes more of a game of sea-saw, some days even, some days odd and things never happen.

Its time you empty that “vessel of myths” and start fresh, it’s time that you look into yourself and prepare accordingly, it’s time that you don’t look for “replication” but look for “reinvention”. What are those myths which you need to brush aside? Let’s look at them one by one:

Myth #1. I can’t crack a Bank exam without a full-proof strategy.

The most commonly asked question to me during my interactions with banking aspirants is “What was your strategy to clear the examination” and my curt yet candid reply is “There was no strategy”. In fact, this word is an over rated term in this arena because nobody starts with a strategy. When I started my preparation, I knew the syllabus, I knew the topics to be studied and I started solving the questions. Over a period of time, I developed a plan and when I got to know about my own strengths and weaknesses, about my own inhibitions gradually, I made myself fit into that regime.

Myth #2. I need to study for 8-10 hours every day.

This is another very clichéd statement that I come across these days. In case it is not asked as a question, it is always stated as a term. “My XYZ friend said, you cannot clear these examinations unless you study for 9-10 hours a day because his so called cousin studied for that number of hours a day”.That XYZ might have quoted a right story but forgot to mention that it is irrational to think that “one size fits all”. There is no fixed quantum of time that one needs to spend; there is no benchmark indeed because everyone is different in terms of intelligence, grasping ability and command over basics etc.

Myth #3. Preparing for a Bank exam with a job is almost impossible.

A year back, if I would have believed in this line, I probably would have shelved myself in with some inferior position in a less-known organization. This pickup line can either be used as a deterrent or as a challenge. This is a widely prevalent myth that you minimize your chances of selection when you prepare along with a job. True, you do minimize your chances given you don’t utilize the time available. But, in my opinion, preparing along with a job makes you more aware of “what needs to be focused more” and gives you subtle hints about yourself to come up with a better plan. This myth is totally absurd and it would remain so unless you give up your hopes after reading the first line.

Myth #4. I am an engineer and it would minimize my chances in the final selection or only those that can grease the palm find their names in the final list.

Once again, a very shallow myth people have kept and grown inside themselves over a period of time. No matter whether you are an engineer, a scientist, an astrologer, a statistician or anything, you are just a candidate for them. It doesn’t create any bias in the panelists’ mind et al. And yes, nobody extorts money for selection as far as IBPS exams are concerned, you have equal chances of getting selected based on the merit. So, stop believing in this plain bullshit.

Myth #5. I won’t be able to crack the exam without attending a coaching class.

The question of “Whether to join a formal coaching or not” looms large over one’s head while preparing for banking examinations. You think that it would regularize your preparation, would let in more discipline and efforts but it has nothing to do with coaching classes. This is a personal trait which you need to instill in yourself and coaching classes barely help building that discipline. This myth has also gained relevance due to “one size fits all” theory but according to me, if you can put in a bit more efforts, utilize all the online resources available at cheap cost (read Smartkeeda or Testzone), you can save a lot of time and energy which can be better utilized for the preparation.

Myth #6. Only the super-intelligent can crack Bank exams.

Banking exams or for that matter, any competitive exam has nothing to do with your intelligence and knowledge level. You are not there to showcase your additive knowledge of complex theories of Mathematics or extra built grip on Vocabulary. When you have more questions and very little time, the priority shifts to “decision making”. Even if you know it all, you cannot attempt every question just because you are intelligent enough to solve each one of them. It is all about “picking” questions which you think would require very less time in reaching a solution rather than getting stuck in a prolonged puzzle which is adamant on not giving you a proper answer. Hence, it is never about your knowledge or intelligence, it is always about your decision making.

Words of wisdom:

It is you who is going to face those “hours of battle”, it is you who is going to taste bitterness of failure if guided wrongly. It is you who is going to condition the mind in not believing the false claims made by some “not so successful candidates”. It is you who knows your intelligence level much better than anyone else in this planet and it is you who will have to manage all the deficiencies to come out with flying colors. Hence, brush off these myths and start fresh. There is no formal way to begin or end something; it is always “your way”.

All the best!

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