As being a student of a professional course which encapsulates many categories of subjects (Accounts, Finance, Taxation, Management, Audit, Information technology) and requires a student to grasp all of them, it is of utmost importance that we learn the right ways to study the both practical and theoretical subjects in an effective manner.
I have personally seen and realized that, at the end of day, CA students find it very difficult to cover up the theoretical subjects of their curriculum at various stages. CA course comprises of various fully (Ethics and communication, ITSM, ISCA) and partial (Financial Management, indirect Taxes) theoretical papers. And clearing them is one of the essential requirements. So, it is better that we get an insight about how to effectively manage these theoretical subjects and score well.
Though everyone has his own formulas of study and tricks of grasping the content, these are the few points I have learned through my journey so far.
Divide your whole journey in 3 parts as follows.
- First phase of study when you read for the first time.
- Revision phase of Study.
- Final touch before exams.
However, there may be more stages but certainly can’t be less.
First Phase of Study
1. Set your initial targets for each individual subject to sum up your aggregate target. Setting targets before starting to study is a vital task for its going to decide your level of efforts in every subject.
2. Read the Syllabus and make an understanding of it.
3. Find out the subjects you are strong in and the ones you are weak in. Allocate time for each subject based on your findings and targets. Here, it is important to not ignore any subject. Care should be given, that each and every subject is given its due. First motive should be to pass the whole Group(s).
4. Special mention of a common mistake made by most of the students that don’t leave all the theory subjects for the end. Trying covering them up alongside your practical subjects. Doing all theoretical subjects together reduces the efficiency of studies.
5. When it is time to take the theory subject, understand the exam patter (number of questions, marking of questions, weightage of each chapter) and decide about the book to take up for reading and stick to it until exams.
6. During the first reading, keep making short notes. Make such notes that they are in accordance with exam pattern. (For e.g. Majority questions of ITSM Paper of IPCC consist of 2 and 4 marks. Hence, notes should be drafted in such a manner that they consist of relevant and brief points required for a 4 marks question). Making notes can be a tiresome task sometimes but it turns out to be highly helpful during revision and even for retaining the points and memorizing them in the exam hall.
7. When reading the same chapter next day, start with a short revision (memorize the main points and heading) of what was read a day before. Similarly, while closing a subject for a day, give a quick overview of points read that day. This is extremely important to retain the theory subjects.
Revision Phase of Study
a. Give another reading. First revision should be thorough and complete.
b. Memorize the points made earlier in Notes.
c. Mark the content which is still weak (use any special sign to indicate).
d. Read the questions from Practice manual and past year questions and mark the important ones.
i. Don’t assume that all the points will always be there in your mind. It’s absolutely OK as long as you are able to recall with a revision. Don’t get panic and never try to memorize things to an extent of stupidity. Believe in yourself. Things will certainly come into your mind during exams if you have read them before and revised even once. Don’t overburden yourself for it will reduce your confidence level.
ii. Special Attention should be given that there is not so much gap between the two readings of theory subjects.
Go through that part only which is marked as weak and questions marked as important.
Tips for revising whole syllabus in one day of Exam
Above procedure will make the three separation of the whole Syllabus of subject.
I. One that is learnt and understood properly.
II. One that is read but is still weak.
III. One that is left.
Now will revising the syllabus on that day:
1. Quickly go through the 1st part of syllabus (as described above).
2. Give repeated reading to 2nd part. (So as to grasp it for exams).
3. Now go through the questions that you have marked as important/weak earlier.
Tips for Writing in Theory Exams
1. During the 15 minutes given for reading the paper, don’t try to read the full question paper. Take up one or two questions that you now well and make up their points in your mind. It gives a good start and also prevents from the panic which is sometimes created from reading the full paper in those 15 minutes. (in case you find questions that you don’t know about)
2. Start the question you know best. First impression should be good.
3. Write in points and avoid paragraphs. Writing in points mean breaking the paragraphs into Headings with brief explanation. It helps to retain (from a student point of view) and check (from invigilator’s view).
4. Be relevant. Never try to increase the length of your answer by including the irrelevant points. Writing relevant points is a key thing in a professional exam.
5. Underline the Key Points. It is of utmost importance to highlight your knowledge.
6. Make sure you get marks of whatever you write and nothing goes waste. I have cleared the theory exams with 50% marks by attempting of just 65 marks. What matters is not the length of your answer sheet but its content. Be sure about it.