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Early bird catches the worm in Exams

Aritra Majumdar 
on 24 January 2018

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Hi everyone, this is the first time I am posting an article on CAclubindia. I always wanted to post my story behind qualifying the CA final exams. Finally, I got the time to write it. This article is fully based on my own experience.

First of all, let us rewind the clock back to 18th of July last year - the result day of May 17. I had not performed well in two papers of Group 1, so I was prepared to face the worst in Group 1 while Group 2 was significantly better. To my shock, I found that I got 194 in Group 2 with minimum of 46 marks in ISCA and maximum 52 marks in AMA. As expected, Group 1 was negative with below 40 marks in both law and audit papers. The total of my both groups was 349.

Having not done any studies since end of May exams and results, I decided to get back to studies the very next day and accordingly that evening got hold of an overview of GST and IBC 2016 as per material posted by ICAI. My calculations showed that there were exactly 105 days before Nov 17 exams to begin, out of which 5 days would be for celebration of the most important festival for any Bengali - Durga Puja. 

I planned that for each and every subject, I would devote a week each consisting of 10-12 hours on a daily basis and from 19th of July, I returned to financial reporting paper once again. This time, making sure that ICAI (SM and PM) were not ignored, same thing for SFM as well. By then, I had applied for verification of all group 2 papers and certified copies of DT. 

Yes, there would be times when it would feel monotonous. I used to break the monotony by listening to radio everyday after dinner. However, I didn't compromise on anything so far as my social life was concerned - I remained on all social networks and took out time from my schedule to meet up with friends as well. 

In the month of August, regional council organized mock tests for various subjects - for me scoring well in practicals was a real concern so I gave mock tests in FR, SFM and AMA. The outcome was actually good. I was able to write full paper in required time and even scored highest marks in FR with 79. When I collected my answer script, the examiner who had checked FR pointed out that though my performance was very good, I needed better time management. By then, I came to know that there was no discrepancy in my Group 2 marks.

In September, I received DT certified copy and realized that while I had written theory questions really well, practicals were really disappointing and I needed to work on them. By then, I had completed first 6 papers atleast once, so I decided to finish the remaining papers of DT and IDT by the time RTP was released. By Mid September, RTP was released and I decided to complete them once before I took my break for Durga Puja. Once again in September I again met up with friends and fully enjoyed the 5 days of Puja, even though by the time it ended, exactly a month was left.

From 1st October, I started revising for the main exams because I had taken tuitions for only 4 out of the 8 papers. I had to do a lot of self-study for 4 papers i.e. - Audit, Law, AMA and ISCA with some valuable inputs from my peer group. It was really difficult to study during the Diwali festival because of tremendous noise all around but I challenged myself to keep studying throughout the festival period. In October, the only relaxation time was watching FIFA under-17 World Cup games on television. By then, admit card was released and fortunately, I got the same exam centre as in May.

One thing I had learned from the first attempt was that there was no room for any sort of complacency and so I was determined to handle even the most challenging questions in exam. For this, I had to do a lot of written practice to ensure speed and accuracy was not compromised by any means. The very first day after giving FR, I realized this would be a far more challenging attempt than May and I had to do contingency planning just in case papers were not easy.
  
On exam day, while traveling in cab to my exam centre I got 30 minutes time to glance through the books. I made small notes in loose sheets and pads for the sake of convenience and quick revision. Everyday, I made good use of the 15 minutes as reading time. For me, it was trying to identify each and every question and answer them then and there only, without waiting for the 2 pm bell to ring. I jotted down various hint answers for each and every paper so that I could make the most of the 3 hours writing time. By the end of group 1, I had realized that once again law was the worst paper but this time, I had done better than last time in entire Group 1. I wrote around 375 marks in Group 1. 

Group 2 was altogether a very challenging one - lengthy papers, unknown questions etc. were a real test this time in all the papers. I could feel that Group 2 was going to be much lower than Group 1 this time. In Group 2, I could write only around 350 marks. Few days before results, I went through the suggested answers. I found that I had made loads of mistakes in Group 2 papers and thought that I would clear atleast the first group this time if not both. However, ICAI had a surprise for me. My Group 1 results were high enough to help me set off the low Group 2 results. I got 230 in Group 1 and 189 in Group 2, which meant that I had got a total of 419 marks in Nov 17, which was 70 more than May.

The title of this article says it all - the earlier you get back to studies, the more likely you are to succeed. Anyone who is reading this article should have understood that in CA Final exams, two of the most important things are time management and proper planning.

With that I would like to convey my best wishes to all the aspiring Chartered Accountants.


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