CA Final Nov 2017 exam results have just released and we are once again glad to bring you the success stories of this year's toppers. It is surely filled with some good insights!
Meet Prashant Hirwani, All India Rank 2 CA Final Nov 2017. He has a very confident, humble andauthentic persona. He also plays guitar and love to watch Soccer.
Let us find out what his strategy for the exam was, what suggestions he has for other students and aspirants & how he has achieved this success:
First of all, Prashant, many congratulations to you from the whole team of CAclubindia !!
Thank you Sir.
How are you feeling right now?
I am feeling really great and excited. The feeling hasn't yet sunk in.Even if I try to express it, I cannot. It is something out of this world feeling.
So, did you expect a rank?
Not exactly. I secured a rank in IPCC, the first thing that I had in my mind was I need to pass, then getting a rank would be very good; but securing AIR 2 was totally unexpected. Even, when the ICAI president called me, I couldn't believe initially that I secured a rank among top 3.
Did you share this news with anyone?
I just told my parents and friends. They were really very happy.
Who helped you the most from your family whom you would like to share this credit with?
No doubt, it goes to my mother as she used to bring fruits for me whenever I was studying or doing anything. Also, when I used to wake up for early morning coaching, she used to wake up at 5:30 in the morning and prepare breakfast for me. Biggest credit of my success goes to her.
Apart from your family, whom would you like to share this credit with?And how did it help you in achieving this success?
My teachers ofcourse and friends - Suresh Bhatt, Vishal Gori, Abhishek Thakur, Shivam, Anuj, Rohit Katyal and Kunal Bhagat. They always encouraged me and believed that I would surely secure a rank. They were my mental support as well.
How would you describe these 4 years of your journey?
It was challenging. I liked it that way because I think, being busy is actually good. I used to wake up early in the morning, go for tuitions, then office, come home, sleep and then again wake up in the morning. So, life after college had been a hectic schedule. I didn't realize that these 4 years flied off so fast. But if you're someone who like challenges, then CA is for you.
So, you did your regular college along with this? Also, tell us about your Articleship
No, I completed my graduation from Hansraj College (Delhi University) in 2015 and then I started my articleship. I began my articleship with BMR in Transfer Pricing domain. Now, I am in Deloitte.
So, in this whole journey, was there any time where you were sad or depressed?
Obviously there was sometimes when I used to feel low, because again and again the same monotonous schedule keeps on repeating and then you feel that I should run away from all these and think that why am I doing it? But sometimes at the end of the day, you have a motivation that it will take you to a long way.
So, how did you cope up with the stress when that monotonous lifestyle was there and what techniques did you use to keep yourself motivated?
All my friends helped me a lot. I used to call them and talk for hours. I also used to play guitar that also helped me a lot. Listening to music or watching stand-up comedy on YouTube. I also used to go on walks in the evening to take a break from studies. So, according to me, it's really important to have some hobby so that one can cope up with the stress during that high pressure time.
So, can you share a roadmap to your preparations - i.e, what did you do before the exams and during the exams?
I used to wake up 7 in the morning and then I used to study 10 hours a day. I made short term as well as long term plans. Like by this day, I have to finish this subject and by this I have to finish that subject.
Initially, I used to study for 10 hours but in last one month I stretched it to 12-14 hours.
Also, If I wasn't able to achieve the short term target, then I used to extend the long-term but I made it sure that it doesn't go too far. I wanted to be sure that how would I be able to complete it in two days.
Further, I would say that you should prioritize your subject and then have a subject wise detailed plan with their tentative deadlines. Achieve those deadlines and don't let them stretch away beyond a certain limit. If it's a day then it's okay, but not like 10 days becoming 15 days.
Also, the last thing I did was, I did two-day revision for each subject before the exam day. That is something I would advise every student to plan in advance.
How many revisions you did in total?
Initially, I had 5 months of leave and I planned for two revisions but I was able to complete three revisions. So, it was 3 revisions including the 2 day's revision.
Ok, so you must have also planned for mock tests and papers and all?
I actually do not write and practice. I read more. I went through them and analysed questions. Also, I don't advise reading over writing to everyone. If you're comfortable with practicing through writing then do that.
So, you didn't prepare your own notes?
I used to prepare very small notes - like what to learn. For, Theoretical subjects I used to prepare like - how should I be able to do that thing in a lesser time and where I got stuck, I used to write that.
What about the classes? How did you manage it? Did it help - was it a more of a self-study or the classes rarely helps you?
Classes do help to get a basic understanding and then you have to go for self-study because classes help you to comprehend whatever has been taught and then you can actually go for the self-study part.
But in CA Finals, you don't have much time to go for coaching for all of the subjects. There, I would advise students to buy video classes and watch them at home. That saved me a lot of time.
So, in CA, the trend is that students really feel that one faculty can do the miracle, so should that thinking is challenged because faculties obviously do a lot of efforts and hard work for your success? But a lot depends on you. So, good faculty cannot make you a good student, can it?
Obviously, it cannot because how many students study from the same faculty. It actually depends on you but faculty helps in the start. They can just give you a roadmap to walk upon, but actually, you are the one who has to walk on it. Also, we can refer other books for studying but the primary focus should be on one faculty.
So, can you refer one particular name who showed you the right direction or guided you in this whole journey?
I won't say it was guidance but I really liked the way Vinod Gupta sir teaches for Direct Taxes. I didn't score the highest marks but the way he teaches is commendable. The summary module that he has prepared is of 500 pages, but those 500 pages are enriched with concepts you need to clear your examinations.
So, in this whole journey, any specific hurdles that you have faced?
The general hurdles which everybody faces like - waking up in the morning and coping up with the going management. I took my DT classes from Gurgaon so, I used to wake up at 6, reach the class at 7, complete it and then take a cab to office because I need to reach office by 10. I used to miss my class for 15 minutes, but I did ask my friends to record it and then I used listen to it.
So, as you said that you did your articleship from a Big 4, so how important is this articleship period and should one go for mid-size firm or a Big 4?
There are always pros and cons. Like in Big 4, you learn to write. If you are writing an email, you have to give full professionalism to that. So, that actually helps (may be) in writing the exams. If we make submissions for authorities, we write in a legal language. That may help in writing for exams like - DT, IDT and Law.
As far as joining the type of firm is concerned:
- If you want to open a firm or go for practice, then mediocre firms are better. As you get an exposure to varied domains of work.
- If you want to specialize in a core area, then go for Big 4s. You will get a deep knowledge of the area of specialization.
So, apart from studies and guitar, what are your other hobbies?
I used to play soccer with my friends but I still like it. But, Now I watch it more rather than playing.
So, which is your favourite soccer team?And country wise?
My favourite team is United Manchester. Country wise it is Spain.
Moving forward, I have seen that you are physically fit, so how important is this for a student to be fit both physically and mentally?
I am not actually totally fit now. I used to be. I have back aches now, but it is very important to be fit. For month or so, I used to go for jogging for an hour in the evening.
What would be the three things that you would like to suggest to your juniors / other students that would help them to clear CA exams?
1. Start from the very beginning, do not delay your preparation. Do not think like you have 2 years to study for Finals. Start from the day one.
2. Organize yourself. Make short-term and long-term plans for study.
3. Complete your classes before you go for study leave, atleast for the major ones. Keep the 3-4 months study leaves for revisions only. Before that, you need to be through your subjects at least once.
Great! So, in this whole journey did CAclubindia helped you in some way?
Many times, whenever I was looking for placements or pass percentages of past years. CAclubindia always pops up on the top. Definitely, It was really helpful during my journey.
Perfect!! Finally, any message for your juniors?
Hard work always payoff, I would say. I didn't expect a rank but I achieved, so study hard, put everything you have, then revise it again and again. Revision is the key.
Thank you Prashant for this wonderful conversation with us.
Thanks Sir !! (Smiles)
Watch the Facebook Live Session with Prashant over here
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