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Executive Summary:

This article is basically aimed to motivate and instil positive energy in the minds of CA Students appearing for the upcoming examinations and for those who are in their examination preparatory stage. This covers almost all the points a student needs to consider while planning his/her study timetable and various other aspects. Attempt has been made to cover various points for the students who are not appearing for their examinations for the first time as they need more motivation to get out of the Failure tag. Also, examples of famous personalities who emerged out of the adverse and difficult conditions in their life has been included.

Preparatory stage for the CA Examinations - Some guidelines and motivation

  • Attempting the CA examinations requires undoubtedly, a tremendous amount of hard work, patience and determination. As the first step, a student should make one practical study timetable and stick to it till the exams rather than revising it numerously. One must understand that time once wasted is wasted forever and you cannot ever cover up for it with a revised timetable.
  • Ensure you have correct amount of Guidance, from correct and able people, while you make your decisions - be it deciding your study timings, or designing your study plan or opting for a reference book or coaching classes. Taking these decisions in haste, or just because your friend is doing is not clever thing to do. You must have all your research done while taking such decisions and be prepared with a list of why you took a particular decision in your mind before freezing the same. While choosing a coaching class for a particular subject, ensure you are aware about the teaching style of the professor and shall be comfortable with it. This can be done by checking some demo videos on Youtube  or by asking your friends who have attended the same.
  • How to deal with your accounts on Social Networking? - One should ensure that the access to the Facebook, Instagram, etc is limited (Say, in terms of specific minutes in a day per specific hours studied) and is strictly followed. If one cannot keep up to the preset time restrictions, it is better to not access the same for few months before the examinations unless complete closure is not an open option.
  • Which applications/online content should you access regularly to stay updated with the professional world even when you are not working and studying for almost all the available time in your day? - Refer News (Like Time of India, Economic Times, etc), ICAI and CA field related updates, market news, Income tax updates, etc.
  • One must ensure to have healthy meals throughout the day. Students going to libraries should carry Tiffin from home as much as possible to avoid unhealthy food. Also, adequate water intake is must. Also, beverages like tea, coffee or energy drinks should be limited to a few times a day.
  • Students should ensure that, when they start studying for long hours, they should engage in some of the activities (preferably some physical activity) as a refreshment from studies to relax their minds and body. For example - Meditation, Pilates, Yoga, Swimming, joining a hobby class or dance class, etc.
  • Study breaks should not be too long so as to break the link completely. Listening to couple of your favourite songs may be another great option to relax during your break. If you are studying at home, helping your mother at kitchen chores may also refresh your mind.
  • One of the ways to boost your confidence for appearing for the CA Examinations is by attempting the Mock Exams conducted by ICAI, which helps to self analyse the level of preparation and make up for any weaknesses observed.
  • A student should well plan for and chart how he/she is going to revise on the day before the exams, especially for subjects like Direct Tax Laws and Indirect Tax Laws. A student may make his Last day revision notes in form of flow charts or highlight the important topics or put sticky notes so that he stays calm and composed before exams and gives his best. For subjects like Advanced Management Accounting and Strategic Financial Management, it is advisable to make up a formula book, where you jolt down all the important formulas and points to remember when you solve the sums so that on the last day you can read the same as it is impossible to go through and practice all the sums from the Institutes Material on the day before the exams.
  • For practical subjects like Financial Reporting, Strategic Financial Management, Direct Taxes, Advanced Management Accounting and Indirect Taxes, it is advisable to always do the sums on the paper before you look for its solution. Also, when you solve from a particular book, you may mark sums that you must see or practice on the day before exams. This way, you shall have a list of sums to revise the day before the exams.
  • While preparing, one must not just refer to the content of the answers given in the Institute's Practice Manuals, but also the form, language and presentation of it.
  • On the day of the exam, one must ensure he follows same sleep/ food and study routine as he was doing for the last few preparatory months. A sudden change in any of the same may affect his/her productivity during examinations.
  • ICAI has given 15 minutes of reading time for all papers of CA Final examinations. One should be prepared as to what he/she is going to do in those 15 minutes so that they are utilized at the most possible.
  • I have seen students who prepare for months for the examination and leave the examination hall in an hour or so stating they could not attempt the paper because it was very difficult. I would like to advise that you should give your best as and much possible. Even if you don't know something or most of the things in your question paper, try to recollect and write something (should be relevant!) Just going out half-heartedly is not going to help your self-confidence and self-esteem levels. At least try to attempt the most you can.
  • I have often came across students describing CA Examinations as very difficult to clear - stating (So called 'influencers on your results') the low passing percentages, vast syllabus coverage, lengthy papers, insufficient (always!) preparatory leave, strict checking of answer sheets, bad luck and tons of other reasons. I had the same belief because that's all I heard around mostly. With all these negative vibes around, I gave my CA Final attempt, which was unsuccessful. Coming out of the unsuccessful tag, accepting failure and restarting the preparation for the next attempt is the toughest thing I have ever encountered. Most of the CA students are people who have never before faced any academic failure till they see their CA final results and at such a point, most of the students begin to self-doubt and fail to maintain their self confidence level and positivity which is completely incorrect. How can you judge yourself on the basis of just one failure and overlook all your previous success and other achievements? One should always ensure that he/she firmly believes that he/she is capable to achieve his set goal and no such absurd notions can come in the way of success. If you do not believe in yourself, it's not going to happen. If you say you are weak in one aspect, work on it harder and also remember, you are strong on some other aspect too!
  • I don't know if luck is something to influence your results but I am sure even if it is, there's nothing you can do about it except work harder on your goals. Your hard work can never go waste and it will yield appropriate results someday. The harder you work, the luckier you get. So for those who believe there's luck involved to clear your CA Examinations, work harder to get luckier.
  • Does number of attempts really count? I do not really think that it shall even matter in the long term. Be honest to answer yourself - Does it really change your respect and admiration for a Chartered Accountant, with 25 years of working experience if he tells you that he cleared his examinations in 3rd attempt? So, if it's your repeated attempt, make sure you have the same attitude and confidence as you had giving your exams for the first time.

I have met a lot of lovely people who have given a lots of attempts and then cleared their exams. So, completely their fault, huh? No, it was their choice and again, nothing wrong with it. They could not prepare themselves to attempt a question paper in such a way that they can score the requisite marks and it's understandable that the reasons can be beyond their control as well (maybe they had a financial condition or insufficient guidance and support or a health issue or a failed relationship to deal with - can be anything you may not guess or the person may not say). Hence being judgmental to your colleague who cleared after a few attempts is very wrong and illogical.

On the other hand, I have seen people who have cleared in later attempts having a low self-esteem. Why, you have put in equal hard work to pass (perhaps more at times) than a student who cleared in the first attempt. So, it's really important that you be extremely proud of your achievements because only you know what it took to reach there.

  • I am a firm believer of the dictum - Whatever happens, happens for a reason.  If you say you gave your best shot and still did not clear the exams, maybe instead of the degree you earned an experience at dealing with failures, maybe you are at a position to deal with stress and anxiety much better than before, maybe you could get a list of people who are only going to be standing next to you when you win and not when you lost, maybe you got a chance and time to do something you always longed to do, maybe you got a chance to reconsider your career choice, it can be anything! So find out what you earned out of your failure and then accordingly channelize your efforts towards success again.
  • There may be times when you feel like quitting or when you try hard for something and it still doesn't give the desired results. In such a situation, one must sit quietly at one place, relax, close their eyes and imagine the reactions on faces of people who are very close to the heart when they will get to know that you have cleared your examinations with flying colors. If they can make so many sacrifices and efforts for you, why can you not pay back to them by taking a bit more effort and pushing yourself closer to success?
  • A student should be very clear about his priorities. By this, I am not saying that your CA Examinations should always be on top of the list. Generally, I have seen CA students who, knowingly or unknowingly, will sacrifice their emotional and physical health, give up on lots of great friends and social contacts and just concentrate on the CA examinations. It is understandable that there may be some for whom, health may be more important, for others their social lives and for some financial considerations top the priority list and there is nothing wrong with any of it for sure.

There is a set of people who believe that it is not okay to clear their CA Examinations along with any damage done to their health. These are the people who will not let their study timetable affect their sleep/food and workout schedule beyond a particular limit (a rare category but I am glad and proud to be a part of this). There is also another set of people who are highly active socially and cannot reduce their interactions beyond a certain limit because that is how they are designed to behave with their given level of emotional quotient. If such category of people reduce their human interactions and social plans tremendously, they will sooner or later realize that it is not going to influence their exam preparations positively. The third category of students, who prefer the option with financial considerations are generally people who prioritize their financial stability over the degree maybe due to their long term goals or social, economic and family background. There is nothing wrong in having any order of your priorities but if you are enforcing anything otherwise, then remember is going to completely play havoc sooner or later. Another thing is your priority list affects the level of passion and determination with which you prepare yourself and give your examinations. One must understand that the time of success depends on the priority list you executed, along with many other factors.

While giving your examinations always ensure you have all the positivity needed. There is nothing in this world that you cannot do. Let us see some examples of great people who will surely influence your level of positivity-

Oprah Winfrey - Being the first African-American woman to become a billionaire in American history, she is the highest paid entertainer in the world with her talk show being the highest rated television program and her struggle? -  Born in poverty, unmarried parents separated soon after she was born, raised by her grandmother in terrible conditions, at nine she was raped by her nineteen year old cousin who was babysitting her, sexually abused by her cousin, a family friend, her mother's boyfriend, and her uncle, she was impregnated at the age of 14 and has been dealing with repeated dramatic weight loss and gain. I cannot think of the mental strength this great lady possess and has built over her life. Nothing can defeat her ever! In her words - “There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”

Steve Jobs - He was undoubtedly an iconic inventor and entrepreneur and the face of the most renowned brand 'Apple'. Not many people know that  Steve Jobs was put up for adoption by his parents Jobs had difficulty functioning in a traditional classroom, tended to resist authority figures, frequently misbehaved and was suspended a few times. He dropped out of college and rather started taking up courses that interested him. Jobs founded Apple, however, he was made to quit his own company midway and restart with a new business venture.

J. K. Rowling - Who doesn't know her! A British novelist and writer of the best-selling book series in history - The Harry Potter series. The series have achieved a sales of more than 400 million copies. Her home life was complicated by her mother's illness and a strained relationship with her father, with whom she is not on speaking terms. She was diagnosed with clinical depression and contemplated suicide, dealt with the death of her mother, birth of her first child, divorce from her first husband and relative poverty until the first novel in the series was published.

Thomas Edison - He is described as America's greatest inventor. He has hundreds of patents on his name and the most famous invention of electric light bulb. Edison only attended school for a few months and was instead taught by his mother and his reading habits. Thomas Edison's teachers said he was "too stupid to learn anything." He was fired from his first two jobs for being "non-productive."

As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."

Apart from the above examples, yourself shall find hundreds and thousands of success stories, not only on Google, but also in people around you, take the right inspiration from them. Everyone has to deal with their own share of struggles to achieve something. These struggles may be in your personal life or economic conditions or at your workplaces. Nothing like success ever comes free of cost!

In the end, I want to say one thing, if you are true and loyal to your dreams, you would achieve them. When you dream for a grand success, be prepared to win it with all your hard work. Act such, that you will never repent your past actions. Focus on being a person of high values and spread positivity around, wherever you go.

You have got this one life, be thankful for it and make sure you live it fully. All the best for those appearing in the upcoming examinations! I am sure you will definitely find your way to success.

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