CA Preparation: Preparing for CA Exams Optimally [Part I]

CA Preparation

“Chartered Accountancy”, the first thought that comes to the mind is,it is very tough to clear the exams and this becomes evident by a look at the previous pass percentage results and what we get to hear from the people surrounding us. So, it is wise not to pursue for such a qualification as the odds of success are marginal.

The same was the case with me as well, but I took the decision to be a part of the elite profession and so set afoot in the journey of becoming a professional in life, despite knowing the chances of getting through and when many were not in favour of my decision, mainly because I had a Science background in my intermediate and the course itself being so tough.

It has been a good progress so far and I have managed to sail through the exams each time with flying colours. But, all of this has had come with a cost attached to it and sacrifices made in the past, that, I know would never return in my life ever.

So, I thought of writing this piece to share my story of“How I managed to clear the CA exams”, i.e. CPT and IPCC with decent marks and what did I implement in my approach for the same.

How to have a proper preparation for CA Exams?

This q’s has been one of the frequently asked q’s, which every CA student must have tried looking for as was the case with me as well. But, after having cleared 2 levels of the CA exams,IfeelI do have a few things to share with you which can help you to find some answers to it :-

  1. Coverage of the whole syllabus of each paper– It is really vital and essential to take care that the whole of the syllabus of any paper of any level of CA exam must be covered to make sure that nothing remains untouched prior to the exam and to increase the chances of improving the score in the exams.Many of us have a habit to cover up only those topics which have more weightage from examination point of view, but this can be very dangerous sometimes when the exam pattern differs from regular pattern. So, do make sure that the whole syllabus is in your grasp.

NOTE:Having said this, if one is unable to complete the whole syllabus in time, then do make sure that you have a strong base in 20% of the syllabus which can fetch you 80% marks. But, this is an extreme measure when the time is limited and the coverage needed is way more than that.  

  1. Proper planning for preparation – This is a really crucial step for an optimum preparation taking any exam in consideration. You need to be very clear in your approach about when you should complete your first level of preparation, and then go for revisions depending on your requirements. Let me explain this taking my example:

When I was preparing for IPCC exams I found out that though I had put a lot of efforts for the exam ,but I was short of confidence as I didn’t have a well laid out plan beforehand to face the exam.

It was because of the very reason stated above. It was due to this I had to drop my MAY 2014 attempt and had to skip to the next attempt. Then I changed my approach and just did one simple thing:-

I took a diary and started noting down all the important q’s of each and every chapter that I had been through from any paper,the first time. Those were such q’s which needed to be revised for sure due to the complexities involved in solving such q’s or because I couldn’t solve it the first time on my own.

The q’s were accompanied by page nos. and also the source of the material from where I had encountered such a q’s. This was completely a time taking activity and needed a lot of effort as well to put it properly. But, believe me guys, it will help you channelize your efforts in a proper direction and will help you track your progress everyday.

I had also set targets for each day, which in turn turned into weekly targets, that gave shape to monthly targets and ultimately helped me save me enough time for revision as well. The best part of doing this is, it keeps you always in check and the day when you don’t meet your targets makes you regret about it and makes you to work harder the next day to achieve the targets.

It motivates you when you achieve the targets for the day and helps you improving your performance. The first revision can cover up those q’s mentioned in the first round rather than going through all the q’s once again and so on in the second revision as well which covers the q’s picked from the first revision.

NOTE:Everything discussed above must be in writing and shouldn’t be thought over and implemented.

  1. Set the benchmarks and standards for your preparations– I have often heard people asking a common q’s, “How many hours did you put to clear the exams”.Well, in my view this q’s makes more sense when it’s modified into “How many effective hours did you really put to clear the exams”.

What I mean to say is that, you need to set benchmarks for yourself when you study for the exams. Suppose, you are able to solve 3 q’s within 40 mins of time and you feel its an optimum effort and can’t exceed beyond that.

Then you will never ever achieve better results ahead and will remain stagnant in your approach. You must make up your mind and try to beat the previous effort and thus set a new benchmark for yourself. This is really vital to ensure you are improving and thus gain necessary skills to beat your previous performance.

NOTE: Develop your own set of approach for the exams andcompare your ownperformance with your previous one. Please don’t compare it with your peers as it is you who knows best of your own capabilities and thus can work on improving it.

  1. Don’t ignore the ICAI Study materials-Be sure to go through the ICAI study materials thoroughly atleast twice before you appear for the exams. This is extremely important as I have seen many tend to avoid ICAI study materials because they find it of no value as compared to other reference books and publications available in the market.I am not against any other authors as I myself have referred to other books and relied more on it at times for conceptual clarity.So, I do have a neutral view in such regard.

But, I have never ignored covering practice manualq’s, RTP’S, mock tests, past papers. It makes sense that ICAI would definitely like the students to present their answers the way ICAI has always recommended to present through various publications like suggested answers, RTP’S or practice manual. The practice manual and RTP q’s are of utmost importance from the exam point of view and needs to be practised several times for scoring better marks.

NOTE:Having said as above, it is upto the person’s choice of whether to go for ICAI materials or any other material in which they are comfortable with. Other reference books do present a good presentation style for the answers and are also easy to understand.

  1. Group Discussions – Group discussions help a lot in improving various skills such as interpersonal skills, communication skills, leadership skills etc.I know these things are irrelevant from examination point of view, but they do help you a long way in grooming your personality as well. It helps to mitigate your shortcomings in any subject where you face difficulty and also helps you to build a strong concept in the subject which you are comfortable with. So, it is always a WIN-WIN situation provided its properly implemented.

I remember when I had stepped into CA, and had my CPT exams approaching I found out that I was poor in accounts paper which is a core subject for CA. Being from a science background in my intermediate, I had absolutely zero knowledge in that paper, but I was quite strong in the QT section and was really confident in that.

So, I discussed about this problem with my friends and we unanimously decided to conduct GD’s regularly during every weekend where we discussed various topics from each paper and thus, in the process we helped each other to learn and grow. We all used to set the topic for discussion beforehand and everybody used to stick to it and discuss about the topics in the GD’s.

The best thing was I found out that I was improving in the accounts section and also my friends who were poor in QT were doing pretty well by that time. This boosted our confidence very much and we all were happy to have such sessions. But, we couldn’t conduct any GD’s during IPCC as we were always short of time to study, due to intense workload of studies. Visit this link for my experience at the Orientation Programme and role of GD’s in it.

NOTE: It is really important that GD’s must be restricted only on discussion about studies. Gossips must not be a part of it, otherwise it would simply turn out to be waste of time .Initially you may feel that the other people in the group are not reciprocating properly and are not sincere in their approach, but slowly they will realise the effectiveness of such GD’s and will also try to add value and be a productive part of the group.

P.SI am a CA Finalist and you can reach me at [email protected] 

Feel free to write to me for any help and I would really be happy to be of any service to you. Hope to hear from you soon.

The best CA tutors in Mumbai:

Dinesh Kapadia (19 years of experience) can be contacted HERE.

Sachin Naik (18 years of experience) can be contacted HERE.

Sanjiv Barve (13 years of experience) can be contacted HERE.

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