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During one of my sessions with a group of students, I was confronted with a very aggressive student. He continued his assault on ICAI, ICSI and ICMAI for the fact that they have the tendency to fail a number of students without any reason. He refused to listen to any of my points, as he was miffed beyond expectations. I had no choice but to listen to what he had to say. He shared his failures with the whole group consisting of students enrolled in CS Professional (Final). He emphasized that he had been failing in one group (2 subjects) in CA Final examination, irrespective of passing all other exams rather comprehensively in the first attempt. He challenged that he knew all the rules and regulations related to the subject, and that he has memorized all the notes (of most popular teachers) and textbooks along with the subject modules issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He often said that due to scaling processes implemented by the ICAI, he had to undergo the mental trauma of appearing for the same exam, over and over again.

I listened to him patiently and agreed to most of his points. There is no doubt that there are a few students who face such issues in professional exams. There is hardly any doubt in respect of their intelligence and professional knowledge. Some of them have fair amount of experience in the corporate world, so we cannot put a question mark on their professional aptitude. There is no doubt that there are a few unlucky ones, who despite of doing whatever it takes to clear a professional exam, fail to clear them.

However, I will put my own argument and research here. Not all students could be classified in the above category. I agree that the overall passing percentage in the professional examinations: CA, CS and CMA is ridiculously low. But it does not mean that all the students have worked hard enough to clear them. The kind of students which we had discussed above comprises not more than 1-2% of the total students appearing for the exams.

Please do not get me wrong! In no way I am trying to bring down the efforts of the students in the examinations. I have seen my own students studying tirelessly for hours, and then only they clear the exams. I give all the credit to the students for putting so much of hard work in these examinations. And it is such a shame that not all of them succeed.

I have worked closely with a number of students who try so hard, but end up failing in these exams. I would like to emphasize that the institutes do not have anything personal against any student. I am not sure about the scaling matter, but I think it is not commonly used in every examination by all the institutes. The only problem which I have come through with the students is the fact that they lack the professional aptitude needed to clear these examinations.

The three premier institutes: ICAI, ICSI and ICMAI want to increase the number of fellow members and professionals in the nation. But in no way they are going to compromise with the quality of professional knowledge required to become a member of such prestigious institutes.

Going through the notes of best teachers or memorizing the textbooks are most unlikely to fetch you the results you anticipate.  The institutes expect a student to transform into a corporate professional. The way a student handles case studies, unseen questions, and how professionally the answers are written play a very crucial role in deciding the results.

This is the reason why case studies are very important in any of these professional exams. A corporate professional could get into a number of issues and problems whilst working. At that particular point, no textbook or notes could help him out. The only thing which could help him during such situation is his ability to handle the pressure. This ability to handle the pressure at the points when it matters the most, is actually tested by the professional institutes at the highest levels.

Take example of corporate laws or taxation. There are thousands of case laws. Interestingly, one particular subject could have different decided case law which depicts different results under identical situations. Any student, who believes in mugging up the cases without understanding the relevance and situational analysis of the facts, is likely to fail.  

It is important to use the case studies as strength. They should be remembered to tone up the argument provided in an answer. However, a student cannot depend completely over a past decision in a new situation. It is crucial to take deep analysis of the facts presented in the question, and then comparing it with the case law.

To sum up, the institutes are not bloodhounds. They have no personal vendetta against any student at any level. I once again agree that there are a few students who fail despite giving their best attempt. But the majority of the students who remain unsuccessful are because they fail to address the importance of professional writing aptitude. Case studies are integral part of any study. The Indian professional learning environment is evolving constantly. This is why it is crucial to understand the importance of properly analyzing these studies and using them to the best advantage of a student.

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Category Students, Other Articles by - Kapil Kaushik