This is my second article. On friends demand and to help fellow aspirants. First of all let me make it clear, I cleared above two courses in my fourth attempt. So, I am not stating that clearing the exams are easy and that I have achieved any great feat. In my first article I just wrote my journey in becoming a CA. I hope this article will help my friends and fellow aspirants who find it difficult to clear CA exams even after multiple attempts.
For IPCC Nov 15 Exams, I had got 15 days of study leave while doing my articleship. Earlier I had given 3 attempts for both the groups and failed to clear. I used to get marks in range of 250 to 320.
The reason for my failure was basically my attitude and approach towards study. I had lost grip on studies as there was huge gap of 4 years (From HSC 2010 to IPCC 2014). In my first article I had written that I cleared FY to TY Bcom by studying during examination days. So this was the main reason why I was finding IPCC difficult. I studied casually for IPCC and that also self study.
When I gave my third attempt , I realised that IPCC is in altogether different league as compared to TY Bcom exams. After results of third attempt I did analysis of my past performance and identified my strengths and weaknesses subject wise. So, I decided to do crash course of subjects in which I was weak, as I was unable to bring even 40 marks (Cost/ FM). I completed the same before my 15 days leave, so Cost/FM - one paper was almost revised and I used to do practice of the same every Sunday.
15 Days of Study Leave
I was not at all confident that I could clear Both groups in 15 days. So, first day went on getting my mentality and mindset right, that I should atleast try to give one group. So in the end of the day, I decided to study for Group I and practiced Advanced accounts of Group II. As I was pretty sure that I can attempt theory papers of group 2 (IT/SM and Audit) with limited study as i had base of earlier 3 attempts.
I personally used to read lot of articles on how to clear IPCC, there I came to know that you need to score atleast one exemption in any subject in either of the groups. So, I targeted exemption in Paper 1- Accounting. I prepared for the same very thoroughly by giving it last 4 days completely. And small chapters of practical subjects were revised by me earlier, so didn't spend extra time on it during 15 days leave period.
I cleared my IPCC in 15 days as I was pretty sure if I strengthen my weakness, I will clear. So, the crash course helped me to overcome the 40 marks hurdle in Paper 2- Cost/Fm and I got exemption in Accounting as planned. Got 205 in grp 1 and 145 in grp 2.
How to utilize your time when you have less days to study
- Don't waste time on topics / chapters in which you are 100% sure that you can solve any question related to that chapter without revising. ( for this revise/study those topics/chapters a bit earlier before your study leave period)
- Be sincere to your studies. (stop watching unnecessary videos, TV, social media,etc. you can listen to some light music,)
- Study in your productive time periods. (I didn't use to study 15-18 hours, I believe that I grasp and understand concepts better when I am in the mood to study. So, there was no as such time table set as I never followed time table for study since my school days. So if you are a person who follows time table you can prepare one for yourself and follow the same sincerely.)
- No Excuses. (Don't keep giving excuses, that such as it is too noisy, I can't study in such place, there are too much distractions of relatives, your pets(cats/dogs), etc. I have 3 cats at my home and they used to come every 2-3 hours to ask for food. My friend (Mayank) knows this, as he used to come at my home for studying. I was even called to office in between those 15 days for filing one TDS return- and I went, my friends were like tereko most sincere article ka award dena chahiye)
- Assemble your notes at one place and decide from where you will study everything. Don't make it complicated by referring many authors. Study from single source, but study conceptually everything.
- Lastly, if you can't cover 100% syllabus, atleast get conceptual idea of the skipped topic, if any, so you can write something in the examinations. (I personally used to google such topics and read the data in general and used to correlate same with our syllabus, if you hate reading watch a video on youtube)
How to study?
This question is subjective. I am no one to force you to follow my methods, so I will suggest stick to your basics as you used to study during your school days. I did that. Old habits die hard.
Going to library is also subjective, I personally didn't liked to go to library as it made me nervous by seeing serious faces. So I used to study at home. I can only say if you can't study alone study with someone who is serious. My friend Mayank helped me with some practical subjects, as we used to practice together. This helped me to revise quickly as compared to doing it alone.
Number of leaves for study, is again subjective and may differ person to person on his grasping and studying pattern.
One thing I can tell you all to do is, make a habit of writing in each subject. This was the main reason for me not clearing the exams in 1 or 2 attempts.. As after my HSC I hardly wrote anything except for the board and final exams of FY,SY and TY. Thereafter, I entered CA through direct entry after TYBcom. I used to highlight points while reading but never write it on paper. I started writing from 4th attempt that's why I cleared.
CA Final - Group II
For my Final group II, I had 10 days to prepare before exams. Let me clear once again, this was my 4th attempt. I am clearing this as in my first article there was a comment, 10 din me toh revision hota hai . I was hoping to clear my both groups in my third attempt only, I failed group 2 by 11 marks twice (2nd and 3rd attempt), by aggregate. So, my base and concepts were pretty clear.
Strategy used to study in 10 days
As I wrote, I am not time table following person, I study when I am in mood to study. The thing is when I am in mood i can complete reading/revising chapter three time faster from regular times. So, the productivity ratio is very high as compared to others. After I cleared, some friends referred me as “ROBOT”, they were telling me “tera koi setting hai kya ICAI ke saath” and all such shocking things as they study for hours in library and still are unable to clear.
I had a plan in my mind which I implemented in 10 days. It was pretty simple, as I wrote if you want to clear any group, you need to target one exemption in any subject. And my ISCA was pretty good. So i revised ISCA for most of the days and also practiced AMA as cost is my weakness. Basically, I didn't wanted to fail in AMA and lose my chances of passing from first paper. For, Direct Tax and IDT, one day each was given before the 1.5 days of exam. As I was from Tax background firm, I was pretty sure that If I attempt 100% in exams, then I can get 40 marks easily. Hence, never consider your articleship and practical experience waste. That helps in such times.
So, I thought if I got near to 120 marks in first two papers, there is definitely light of hope to clear the group. With this attitude/approach I gave all my papers. My first two papers were great, but Direct tax was a bit tricky, as many international taxation sums and amendments were, and I had not revised international taxation and just had gone through amendments. Besides that, my firm didn't practiced international taxation. When I first read the paper 15 minutes earlier, I was just thinking of 40 marks and started writing what I know well first and then what I didn't know I attempted. I wrote full paper, as I knew, if I attempt 100% I will definitely get 40 marks.
Similarly, I studied IDT before exams and attempted 100 % paper. Since, these two are practical subjects you can apply your practical knowledge and correlate same with questions asked.
To disclose, I got 45 in AMA,64 in ISCA (as planned), 55 in DT (not planned, even I am surprised) and 44 in IDT (as planned). I will personally say, it's a miracle, and thanks to Almighty God, Parents, Friends, Relatives and every person who wished for me.
I hope this article will help majority of aspirants to crack future upcoming exams. This article is exclusive for failures like me as “failure is simply an opportunity to begin again, but more intelligently”. And I am built from failures.
I will post another article exclusively on my motivations and extra-curricular activities done by me in tough times like these.