The objective of any profession of having quality students coming out of the system is one of the important ones. The profession expects that the knowledge requirement are obtained by going through the curriculum along with practice. In the CA course , questions especially at the final level test the understanding of the concepts and the application of the same. The potential employers are also interested in testing the same prior to taking on the professionals in their organizations.
The Articleship period should be the time when what is learnt in the audits are applied while studying and what is learnt is studying applied at the workplace. In addition the ITT training and orientation along with GMCS I & II at a later point of time go to make the student a complete professional. In the campus the best salaries are offered to those who have the display the skills to apply in practical situations.
The students of Chartered Accountants have to go through a lot of hurdles for clearing CA. It is at this time an important decision whether to do self study for exams or to opt for some tuitions for all or selected subjects through a coaching centre is to be made.
As CAs we need to be highly knowledgeable both on practical basis and theoretically therefore only Practical knowledge without theory back up cannot be make us a complete professional. Our profession demands a lot from us. Therefore it is very important to concentrate on your work and as well as study for the exams. Again it depends on whether one wants to get a rank or not; some people may even say passing itself is a great deal. Any ways for both the aspects a decision regarding studies needs to be taken.
Self study is an individual effort to learn by references/experimentation or a prescribed course. Self study would be for those who can manage studies by their own that does not mean that we should always opt for studies. Sometimes coaching class is also better.
The advantages of self study could among many others be as follows:
· Have privacy& independence with no fear of criticism. We can do it as we like it. It is flexible we can change our plan based on the priority of our work.
· Own scheduled time. There is no need to follow others time period. We can study any time in a day.
· Freely refer to other sources like internet, other reference books, ask a friend etc.
· Much more cost effective.
· A self study methodology increases the confidence in self. Your problem solving skills would also develop.
· Also when you face an interview you would be better off as your understanding of the concepts would be clearer.
Self study is not always useful to everyone. Some disadvantages of self study could be:
· Understanding the study may be difficult without a mentor.
· No certainty if you are studying the right thing. We may not understand.
· If one does not follow time schedule, it creates frustration and concentration would be lost.
· Possible time loss in learning and understanding.
Students are increasingly attending the private coaching classes who have stepped in seeing the enormous opportunity. A few of them are bridging the gap quite well with a well researched teaching and training curriculum. However most consider it a business and the right type of professional may not be coming out of the system as the emphasis is examination passing at any cost. The student could consider what is required for him/her to pass the examination vis a vis the coaching class.
Coaching classes are recommended because it enhances the way one looks at the aspects alone while studying. It is assumed and presumed that the faculties at the academy have thorough knowledge of the subject; again it depends on the faculty who is providing coaching. The academy provides a forum between the students and faculty for knowledge sharing. There begins to be an interaction between students and the faculty or students and the student. Most of our difficult topics can be discussed and understood in an easy manner. Any doubts can be clarified. We get individual attention from the faculties and they correct us if we are wrong. Again all this is possible only if the coaching centre is efficient/ pro active and student service centric.
The students mostly decide to join a coaching centre based on the following:
1. Colorful Pamphlets issued by the coaching centers.
2. Colorful posters and banners
3. Friends asking us to join, just because they have joined and as they have told to do so.
4. Advertisement in TV or radio or other means of communication.
6. Advertisements by various websites
While the above make us aware of the facility some students without even understanding whether the coaching centre or the faculty is efficient enough to provide coaching join up. As fees are collected in advance one is stuck.
Some aspects could be considered while selecting a coaching class:
1. Faculty is the key: Concerned and experience teachers can make a great difference as each one of us have experienced in our life. Initially CC may need to call them from nearby cities to ensure quality. When not available then CC need to develop them locally. For CPT-IPCC CA’s may not be required other than for taxation and audit papers. For final most faculties should be practicing or employed CAs.
2. Frequent assessment: Since understanding the subject and knowing that one has understood is important, periodic examination [in examination conditions- may be lower time] and feedback on the students performance would help. This facility can be built in by having separated faculty who can develop questions and model answers based on ICAI SA/RTP.
3. Individual Coaching: The faculty could evaluate the answers and provide vital individual feedback. This individual attention would be very important to assist the student to do better.
4. Written Language skills: English language reading and writing skills especially at CPT/IPCC levels also to be imparted in between if possible where it is felt that this is weak. May be in non metros there may be a more of a need.
5. Each student history card with grades/ marks scored, advice given etc to be captured for being able to guide the student holistically.
6. Before the class starts 10 minutes reading time provided by teacher to cover the chapter to be taught.
7. Use/ Emphasis on ICAI study material. Reference books for specific topics should be used in addition to the study material. If SM not used then a standard book maybe a good alterantive. The coaching class notes [ if covering the entire syllabus] could also be used to understand the concepts being taught.
8. When students join the course an aptitude test to understand student’s strengths could be useful.
9. Provide time for self study after coaching course is over and then a full fledged Mock test in all subjects [at least 45 days prior to actual examination]. This should be clarified in advance as many coaching classes may not be ready to offer these services. This could be evaluated and feedback provided to the students.
There could be many more initiatives which we could take which could be added on.
We the students may find some of the above not available in the coaching classes and suggest to the coaching classes to include the same or choose the ones which have the same. Hope this note would be useful for students like us to decide on the coaching class to join as also how to improve our performances. Best of luck for the forthcoming exams.
Acknowledgement to Sana Iqbal for her contribution to this article.
Madhukar N Hiregange FCA, DISA