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Mindset and planning to clear CA Final

CA Diwakar Jha 
on 10 February 2018


Hello friends, this is Diwakar Jha, a Chartered Accountant by profession currently working with an MNC.

I found many students searching answer for the questions like what should be the mindset for clearing the CA Final exam and how actually to plan for it. So, I thought it proper to write a blog on it, hope it will serve the purpose.

Coming to the point, we all remain more of frightened rather than excited regarding these exams, which is understandable given the depth and vastness of the syllabus it carries. But, if properly planned and executed, this is not that difficult task as it is assumed to be.

Recall a very famous quote, "If you can dream it, you can do it". So, your try to visualize your success on a daily basis, try to feel like a qualified person from your inner self. If you can convince yourself, then it is pretty easy to convince the rest of the world. Remember what you visualize you attract that. Your mindset should be very clear to focus on the area that is going to take you closer to your goals. You have to forego things of lower nature to achieve something of higher nature.

Planning:

It is very rightly said, "Failing to plan is planning to fail", so just before turning on the action mode, work on planning the things, put in ample amount of time and effort for this, because this will save a lot of time in those important days. Planning makes you battle ready, so that you don't have to face unwanted shockers in those ultimate 3 hours.

Taking an assumption here that you will get study leave of around 3 months and you have already gone through the syllabus at least once before that. Now your focus should be to revise all the subjects and all the topics therein at least 3 times prior to month of exam. Here the big question arises, HOW?

To answer this question, prepare a structure for planning all the subjects 3 times, trust me it is very possible, because I myself have done it. I will be explaining how to plan for these later in this article.

Talking about the revision, I have seen students committing mistakes by just revising the syllabus and not systematically revising it. What do I mean by systematically revising the syllabus?

As per a research called as "forgetting curve", which says whatever we learn, we tend to forget 80% of that, if we don't revise that in 24 hours, 80%, that's huge. Have you ever been in a situation where you have gone through a chapter or a topic and while trying to recall that after a month or so, you struggled badly, well that's because of this forgetting curve only. People ignore this as they are not very aware of any such thing. So, to overcome this, you not only need to revise, but revise systematically, and by systematically I mean maintaining a pattern so that you revise a topic after certain intervals so that it gets stored in your sub-conscious mind and you will never tend to forget that.

How actually to revise systematically?

Well, to answer this, there is a technique which I have named as 3-7-30 rule (not developed by me). As per this rule, whatever you have studied today shall be revised for the first time within 3 days, for the second time within 7 days and for the third time within 30 days. It is not very possible to remember the dates of topics you studied manually. So, to ease out you have to prepare an excel file (shown in figure below), in this put dates in Column A and revision frequency in the corresponding rows (this is only to show how it appears, you need to make your own).

Take a print out of this page, put manual entries in this on a daily basis, let's suppose you have studied Capital Gains chapter on 10th Feb, put study date as 10/02/2018 in Column B, particulars as Capital Gains (mention the part which you gone through) in Column C, the page reference of the material you are studying from in Column D (so that you don't need to find the topic in the book again and again), put 1st revision date as 13/02/2018, 2nd revision date as 17/02/2018 and 3rd revision date as 10/03/2018 in Column E, F & G respectively. The final revision is the day before exam; you can leave it blank as of now or put a date just before the exam date.

Let me tell you one important thing that you have to prepare this schedule for every subject separately. Further, to accumulate everything what you have to do on a given particular date, you need to carry a diary as well, I used to call this as 'Daily 5 diary'. I used to put at least 5 tasks in that diary for a single day, the tasks in that diary were entered from the schedule mentioned above only, e.g. on 17/02/2018, you will be revising the topic done on 10/02/2018 for the second time plus revising the topic done on 14/02/2018 for the first time, alongwith 3 other tasks as well, so you need to enter these 5 tasks in the diary for date 17/02/2018, and please ensure that you complete these tasks on same day before going to bed. The tasks you have done, you should strike through that in the diary, so by the end of the day all the 5 tasks should be striked-through. Due to any reason whatsoever, if you are not able to complete the allocated tasks for any date on that date itself, you need not to carry over any task for the next day, just leave that behind and move forward, otherwise the very purpose will be defeated, you can manage undone tasks on some buffer day. Some people will be finding it very tedious to do all these stuffs, they will be like we are already struggling with our syllabus and this guy is adding up to our difficulties, but let me tell you, if you are able to do this, this will provide you super command over the subject and tremendous amount of confidence for appearing in the exam.

To get better results, we need to shift towards better strategies; the strategy which I mentioned above (the 3-7-30 rule) is scientifically proven. So, I will urge you to follow this, at least for 2 subjects in the beginning and if you feel like this is benefiting you, you can carry on this with other subjects as well.

Some subject specific ideas:

While you are in the revision mode, you do have lesser amount of time, so how to utilize that time in best possible manner? Well, if I talk about wholly practical subjects like Advanced Management Accounting, Financial Reporting and Strategic Financial Management, you can't solve every question 3 times; let me be very honest with you given the vastness these subjects possess. So, for revising any practical subject, you need to follow one basic strategy, I am trying to explain that using an example, let's suppose you are revising Capital Budgeting chapter of SFM for the first time, then first of all you need to go through all the concepts given in that chapter, and after that take up 60% questions given in the chapter (if there are 80 questions, you need to pick 48 out of those 80) and let me tell you; you don't need to solve all the questions using pen and paper, just go through the questions carefully, try to get the actual requirements and visualize the process of solution in your mind and then compare your solution (visualized in mind) with the actual solution there in book or notes, if your thought process was correct, congratulations, but if you cannot visualize it at all or incorrect, then you need to put a star mark over that question Invest a little more time for these ones. I will be explaining the relevance of star mark in next paragraphs. For your personal satisfaction you can solve 7-8 questions out of those 48 to comfort yourself with the formatting procedures.

Now, when you will be revising the Capital Budgeting chapter for the second time, you again need to go through whole concepts first and afterwards go through remaining 40% questions (in above example, remaining 32 questions). You need to follow same procedure for these 32 questions as mentioned above, put star mark over the questions which you find difficult or unusual. During this very revision you need to go through the star marked questions which were spotted during first revision and be more careful about those. If you are feeling much confident about those star marked questions, you can remove star over those to ease out the things for third revision.

Well, while revising this chapter for third time, you again need to go through concepts first and then you have to pick only the star marked questions which were spotted during first and second revision. One thing you may have noticed that you need to go through full concepts every single time, so that your base is strong enough to tackle every single question. This is most realistic method to revise the practical subjects for at least 3 times prior to exam.

Coming to theory subjects, the 3-7-30 rule is really a boon, while revising theory subjects for second or third time; try to recall the concepts not to re-read those. If you are able to recall, which is highly probable, you will be feeling superbly confident. Only one thing students miss out is practicing theory questions, this is very normally seen that you are aware of the concepts, laws and sections, but you are not able to reproduce that on the paper in an effective manner. So, to overcome that solve at least one theory question on a daily basis and evaluate that. In this manner, your answer writing skills will enhance which is must for any given subject.

Just remember one thing, you should not regret about anything after the exams, like I could have done this, I could have done that. For every this & that, start now, give your best shot and rest everything in the hand of almighty, he is watching everything and he will of course do the justice.

All the very best, may you come out succeeding with flying colors.

Many thanks for sparing time and reading this, you may reach out to me at diwakarjha4@gmail.com.


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