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Hi Friends, Hope you all are doing great. Congrats to all of them who are now QUALIFIED CA and also to those who have cleared either of the groups!

I cleared my CA Final in two attempts, anyways no. of attempts is not that relevant, what is relevant is how one should go about with studies and plan it, with so many books and authors!  

Friends, I am just an average student.Hats off those people who score rank, its a great great achievement! In CA, Hard work is a necessity but SMART WORK is a creativity!  

Here I would like to share the study pattern which I followed!

THE BASE BOOK was always INSTITUTE'S PRACTICE MANUAL (and to an extent Module)

Group: 1


1. Solve all the sums from Module  

2. Solve all the sums Practice Manual, complete the chapter from the both the books, I would advise you take time to solve the sums, use pencils, markers wherever you get stuck, right a note for it.It would be very very easy for you to revise.

3. D.S Rawat Accounting Standards   

4. Doing these itself will make you confident of cracking the paper comfortably.    


1. Since I am PGDBM, I found this subject most interesting.   

2. Here what I did was, that I made an Index on the first page of Practice Manual stating the no. of theory and practical question separately. This gave me a clear idea from Institute's perspective that which chapter was important for what. Also it gave me the much needed confidence, as I could get a clear view of no. of questions to be solved.   

3. If I am not wrong, there were some 240 odd pratical question and 106 theory questions in my practice manual, which meant that its not difficult to complete and solve all the questions from the practice manual twice or may be thrice before the exams. Since an average time for the first time solver would take 4-5 mins a sum, which would be around 30-32 hours for a complete practice manual.   

 4. The best for SFM, is that the more you SOLVE the more INTERESTING it would become, hence do not get bored by this subject. This can be of great help as generally institute sets a difficult Accounts paper and hence the second paper becomes very important.  

5. Refer Prof. Sridhar's book if you have the time and want to solve more questions. One can also study the topics in detail from it    


1. Only prepare from Practice Manual. Most of the question would be with respect to some or the other Standards on Auditing, mark them at the start of the question, list down the Question No. / Page No. and the Standard. Once you are done with this, you would have a list of all the questions and the standards mentioned in it. This would help you to cover almost every kind of practical problem in audit.  

2. If you get time, try to search on CCI, if there are any practical questions on Standards on Auditing and Code of Ethics (the ones provided in practice manual will make you understand most of them)    


1. I find this paper immensely scoring, because here too I studied only from Practice Manual and the scores of the two attempts were 54 and 65 respectively. (not great but descent)  

2. I analyzed this subject a lot. What I did was, during the first reading, when I read, I marked all those questions which were repeated, (you would be shocked that atleast 40 to 45% questions were repeated), this motivated me since the no. of pages reduced and also the time to complete a chapter.  

3. I had the practice manual of November 2011 edition and from what I remember, the book had 495 pages in it. It looks more but when you start and skip all repeated answers, it does reduce a lot of pages.  

4. Also, most of the students spend a lot of time for chapter "DIRECTORS" and its right as it comes for the maximum marks. So here too I made my own very short notes (to the point notes) and pasted them on the first page of every chapter in practice manual. So at the time of revision, I first used to read those notes (hardly 2-4 pages) and then used to answer the questions at my own.  

5. For Allied laws, too specially for FEMA, SEBI and Competition Act, I did the same thing and I could happily and comfortably finish law with 2-3 revisions without getting bored.  

Friends, to be frankly speaking. I always found Group 2 tougher than Group 1.

Group 2


1. The most unpredictable paper of CA Final.  

2. What's important to tell you is that, everyone knows that THEORY is important, but very few actually study that properly.  

3. Luckily I did, I am sure you all would have heard that how November 2012 paper was more theoretical, almost 42 marks was theory. But if you see the questions, those were STRAIGHTLY PICKED UP from PRACTICE MANUAL, each one of them. So my suggestion to you would be to study THEORY from PRACTICE MANUAL, first reading would take maximum around 4-5 hours

4. For this subject, it would be combination of ACCOUNTS and SFM strategy.

5. Solve all the Module and Practice Manual questions (an interesting thing would be that you would notice few of the some are repeated and for few only the nos. have been changed)

6. Prepare an index, on the same line which you did for SFM, hence making it very clear for you the chapters for theory and practical.

7. Solving sums will give you confidence, but as we all know in costing paper every sum is a new sum. This is where your the practice of solving sums will help you out. If you can't crack the whole sum, you would atleast be able to crack it till half way. (specially for chapters like Transfer pricing and Relevant costing).

8. Make theory your strong.  

9. For OR, the more you practice the better it is. A suggestion, what most of the students do is that just on the day prior to their exams, they SEE the sum and go. I would SPECIALLY REQUEST you to solve ATLEAST 2 sums of each chapter to get you MECHANICAL THINKING GOING and also to SAVE YOUR TIME DURING THE EXAMS.

10. Friends, you need to pick your strong point and make it stronger. Be SMART!  


1. I hated this subject until I got a very good professor called Mr. Jignesh Cheda who made this subject very interesting. Each chapter carries marks. A minimum of 8 marks (that means 80 marks + 20 marks which could be from any chapter)

2. Very few bank on this subject, but I did. I scored 54 marks in this subject, was trying an exemption, but couldn't.

3. For this subject, as everyone said, MODULE is the best book and I completely agree.

4. Making of notes would make it very easier for you, specially the SUB POINTS of each question. Try to finish atleast 1-2 reading before exams. A chapter a day (around 2 hours) will keep you intact with the subject.

5. During the exam days, you get almost 18-19 hours of study with proper REST. 3 to 4 hours after costing paper, next day around 12 hours and 2-3 hours on the day of the paper as our paper starts at 02:00

6. So on the day after costing paper, plan to finish chapter 6 and 7. These are easy chapters and I am sure in around 3-4 hours you would be able to finish. So on that day itself you have covered 16% of your portion.  

7. With the confidence of completing two chapters, you would be all fresh the next morning, say be 07:00 or so. Start with chapter 5 and then chapter 9 so by 12:00 or so you would have completed 2 more chapters.

8. Have lunch, take rest and start around 02:00 in the afternoon. Start with chapter 1 and then chapter .4. These chapters would take atleast 3-4 hours for a good revision, so by 06:00 in the evening you would have completed 6 chapters of ISCA.

9. Take a mini break and start around 07:30 again. Now whatever time you have till you find comfortable to going to bed, only study 2 and 3 to whatever extent its possible. Don't get too bogged down by this chapter. These are length, hence time consuming, so give maximum of 5-6 hours. So around 01:00 or so, WRAP IT UP !!  

10. On the day of exams, TAKE FULL REST, wake up at around 07:30, you will have around 4 hours to study and chapter 8 and 10 to finish ISCA. Chapter 8 would maximum take 2.15 hours to complete and chapter 10 around 1:30 hours (do not read all the sections).

11. The key to ISCA which I think is to TAKE GOOD REST, as you need sound mind to remember all what you have read. Also do not waste your TIME READING THE ONE PAGE CASE STUDY IN QUESTION PAPER, as the questions asked are DIRECT. So students end up wasting around 5-10 mins reading that. If you see any year's questions paper, you would realize this. 

Direct Tax and Indirect Tax Strategy!

First friends lets understand how can we get the required marks in Group 2 from first 2 papers

1. Costing, a tricky paper banking on it would certainly need your concepts and the knowledge at par. So in case you think its not at par, AIM for 45-50 marks minimum.

This to an extent is possible considering  Theory (25 marks) + OR (15 to 20 marks).

2. Now, since ISCA preparation can be done at good level aim for 55 to 60 minimum in ISCA.

3. So in this way, you would bank yourself securing 100 to 105 marks in first two subjects.

Direct Tax: & Indirect Tax Common SCORING OPPORTUNITIES:


1. As everyone knows, 16 to 20 marks come from latest case studies in each of the subject, thus covering around 35 to 40 marks (including both the subjects). TARGET 25 to 30 marks in Case studies.  

2. Practical sums, very scoring specially in INDIRECT TAXES.    

a. Direct Tax: Practice sums from Practice Manual specially from PGBP, Capital Gains, Charitable Trust and from chapter Gross Total Income, generally comes for 10 marks      

b. Question 1 of IDT is for 25 marks (all practical), here too I would suggest you Practice Manual +   all sums from any books which you refer. Solving maximum sums would give you enough confidence to crack 16 to 20 marks out of 25 marks.  

SO till now you would have covered around 45 marks combined.  

Direct Tax:

1. My base book here too was Practice Manual + Institutes Latest Amendments + Case Laws + RTP  

 2. Wealth Tax from Practice Manual is more than enough, its somewhere around 57 pages and it almost covers all the aspects + if any recent amendments comes for 10 marks  

3. Now, friends I would suggest you to please study the last 7-8 chapters from practice manual including Penalties, Advance Ruling, Powers. I was weak in this aspect but have seen maximum students good with these concepts. These are generally asked in Q-5/6 for about 8 to 10 marks.  

4. Direct Tax is very vast and can get tiresome, but practice manual helps you to connect with most important aspects easily thus giving you an idea and a way to proceed.  

5. I always started first with - Wealth Tax -Income not forming part of Total Income... followed with - Capital Gains - PGBP - IOS - Gross Total Income (covers all types of practical sums, one for sure in the exams) - Advance Ruling - Powers - Penalties  

6. Since I wasn't that strong in this subject as others, I played it safe and to the point. To be frankly speaking I aimed at only clearing this paper.  

7. If for any detailed or any confusion you can always go back to the book of the author you are following  

Indirect Taxes:  

1. Now comes the most scoring paper of GROUP 2, aim for exemption in this paper. Excise (40 marks-- out of which 10 marks are for sums), VAT / Service Tax (40 marks out of which 10 marks are for sums) and Customs (20 marks out of which 5 marks are for sums)  

2. I LOVED INDIRECT TAX practice manual. I owe my exemption to it (got 63 in IDT). Short, Sweet and to the point!  

3.  Here too friends, I made an index for each section - EXCISE, SERVICE TAX / VAT & CUSTOMS, stating the no. of theory questions and practical in each chapter. This helps you during the exam day preparation as you don't have to search for sums in Practice Manual, you know from index that which chapter has sums, thus enabling you to practice all the sums at one go.  

4. Prepare short notes (as in on a piece of paper) and paste those at the start of of chapter. This would help you to revise faster and answer the questions of practice manual at your own, thus increasing your  confidence. If I am not wrong Excise in Practice manual is somewhat of 108 pages. Very easy to complete the whole of excise in maximum 2.5 to 3 days for first reading. Don't get bogged down, once you will complete it, you won't believe yourself that you have done it. If for any detailed or any confusion you can always go back to the book of the author you are following.  

5. For VAT, I would only recommend practice manual, covers all theory questions which are for sure to come for 4 to 6 marks, plus practice sums from practice manual and authors book. VERY SCORING. (maximum 1 day for first time reading)  

6. Service Tax, removing of services came as boom to us. (hehe). Study Point of taxation in detail. Other topics are routine topics and can be done from Practice Manual. It would not take more than a day to complete. (Maximum 2 days for first time reading)  

7. Customs can be done on the same lines as EXCISE. (Maximum 1.5 to 2 days)  

8. I would request you to go through past 5 years papers only for practical sums.  

9. A trick to gain marks in EXCISE and CUSTOM would be to study the last 4-5 chapters. Penalties, Settlement Commission, Demand,. Appeals,etc together. Concept wise both are almost same, only with change of section nos.  

10. Friends, this means that first reading of IDT from practice manual can atmost be completed in 10 to 12 days, which is not at all bad.

11. You would soon realize and would be able to complete EXCISE, VAT / SERVICE TAX & Customs comfortably during the exam revision days.  

12. Strategize your time accordingly and you would feel, that getting EXEMPTION in IDT is not an EXCEPTION!  

Therefore, AIM for a minimum of:

Costing - 45 to 50 marks

ISCA - 55 o 60 marks

DT - 45 to 50 marks (only as per me, Direct Tax is very strong for few students)

IDT - 60+ marks   Suggestions welcomed!

Friends, Please also understand,  Its' easy to read and get motivated !! Its easier for me to PASS the CA exams and write this strategy!

But whatever be the STRATEGY, unless IMPLEMENTED, would not give you results! Still 3 months to go and these are sufficient.

Remember, do not stretch yourself, take meaningful breaks. 

"GOD doesn't like SUBSTITUTES on the field, PLAY YOURSELF - The GAME called LIFE." All the very best ! Cheers!

Friends, this is just a suggestion from my side. I know few of you would be thinking this is not my way or may be this is not the right way to study. I completely agree with you as I also did the same when I came across no. of strategies for CA FINAL and everyone has their own strategies of first LOOKING for SUCCESS and then MAKING IT POSSIBLE!

With all due respect to your hard work and dedication, I am sure you all too would have scheduled your studies accordingly. As a friend or also since we all belong to the same profession, I thought may be I could share my strategy.  

This strategy is a bit risky, but somewhere gives you the confidence that YOU HAVE SOLVED A COMPLETE BOOK PROVIDED BY THE INSTITUTE. That really GEARS YOU UP!  

I may not have scored exceptionally great marks in the exam, but to an extent we all know that sometimes the GOLDEN NO. "200" in each group is itself difficult to achieve (with +40 marks in each subject)    

Thanks and All the very best!


CA Ashish Dhupar

Published by

CA Ashish Dhupar
(Senior Manager, Kotak Mahindra Bank)
Category Students   Report

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