AN OLD joke on passing CA examinations goes like this: There was a writing in a church that read, "Jesus never fails". A CA student added below that, "Then let him try the CA examination"!
Passing the CA exam is not as difficult as it is made out to be. Several students clear it in the first attempt and even secure ranks. Why, then, are others unable to crack it? The reasons are several.
Capabilities of the students - There is no CAT-like entrance test to join the course. The course costs less than school education. There are two streams of students joining the course one that joins after the intermediate or plus-two stage, and the other that joins after graduation. The stage at which one joins the course can be crucial. The inherent ability of a student can be an important factor. A bright student chooses the course by choice and not by chance. Such students take the PE I examination route.
Medium of instruction-A second major contributing factor is the medium of instruction. Those who study in regional-medium schools, face a lot of difficulty in comprehending the subject.
Exposure-A third factor is the exposure to the business world, terminologies, and so on. Students from rural and semi-urban areas face difficulty in understanding the subject due to inadequate exposure. Another drawback could be the lack of access to reading material, non-availability of textbooks, Internet facilities, so on. While these students are sincere, they may lack the right guidance.
Students can overcome the fear of the examination by following a regular and systematic study routine.
General study-Start preparing for the examination immediately on joining the course. Study regularly and conscientiously. It does not matter how many hours you study, but how much you understand. Qualitative study is important. In addition to the student journal, subscribe to the journal of the Institute. It helps to keep yourself updated. Keep track of the latest in all the subjects: accounting standards (new standards, revision of old ones, interpretations, etc.) auditing and assurance standards, amendments to company law and other laws, Finance Act and Income-Tax law. Contribute and subscribe to a good business newspaper. Essays on capital markets, tax matters and other subjects will be helpful.
Study material-Your study material is the most important. Supplement it with a good standard textbook. A good student does not require tuition. Tuitions certainly are helpful, but only when you have it in you to use them. For a professional, self-study and getting to the root of the subject is essential.
Attitude-Subjects such as law require repeated reading. Candidates often complain of not being able to remember the provisions/sections. Now, this is a matter of attitude. When one can remember film songs, sequences, dialogues, phone numbers, why not the section numbers? Students tend to read out of compulsion. Examinations are imposed on them. If it were not for examinations, would students have studied? Apply the attitude you have towards play to studies. The world will begin look different.
Strategies-Follow a strategy of study. Remember, you cannot study accounts independent of company law. Income-tax cannot be studied independent of accounting. Thus, these subjects are inter-related. You have to study all the subjects for the examination. Take, for example, the issue of shares by a company. Read provisions of company law from S. 55 onwards prospectus, contents, liabilities for misstatements, and so on till S.108. You would have grasped the legal requirements. Then work out problems in accounting on issue of shares at par, premium, discount, for consideration in other than cash, etc. Follow it up with audit of issue of share capital, resolutions to be passed, documents to verify, and so on.
Study the tax provisions for allowability of share issue expenses, etc. Thus, you would have covered the issue from all points of view. This may look cumbersome in the beginning, but once you get used to it, things become interesting. This way you will have covered a part of company law, a part of income-tax, part of auditing, as well as a part of accounting.
Group study-Group study can be helpful too. Form yourselves into groups of six. Thus six friends can cover six subjects. Rotate them among yourselves. Engage in group discussions. Subjects like tax, law, etc., can be tackled better this way. Use a marker to highlight the material items as and when you study it for the first time. When you read the second time, you can concentrate only on the highlighted part. Grammar is, of course, to be built in into the answer.
All subjects are important
One should realise that the candidate should pass in all subjects and secure 50 per cent in the aggregate to clear the examination. Scoring 90 per cent in one and 10 per cent in another, will lead you nowhere. Distribute time judiciously for all subjects.
Other activities-Each of us has hobbies. Spare some time for that. This will help you unwind. It increases productivity. Develop certain hobbies and pursue them. A light game, for instance, or a crossword puzzle. At the same time, know when to stop. Get your priorities right. A student should be physically fit, spiritually sound and mentally alert. Also, spare some time for fitness. You should be strong enough to withstand the stress and strain of hard work. Endurance is important.
Writing-Practise writing. What you read will prove futile if you cannot reproduce it on the D-day.
Eligibility tests are conducted by the ICAI to orient students for the exam. But students tend to circulate the question papers among themselves and write only those papers. Such a practice is not advisable. The ICAI requires the students to clear 10 papers to secure the eligibility but does not restrict them from writing more. A student can write as many papers as he wishes to. This will add to his or her confidence. The student should take the eligibility tests seriously. This will help you know your pitfalls.
The final charge-Generally, the pressure valve is turned on only after the candidate pays the examination fees. There is a lot anxiety, nervousness, and tension. If a candidate is well prepared, last minute blues can be avoided. The candidates should learn how to tackle each subject and perform accordingly. One should know which accounts need to be opened and how to reach the goal in the shortest possible route and quickly. Saying that you should pass 36 journal entries for amalgamation, 16 entries for issue of shares, etc., is unjustified. You should learn to play according to the wicket. Passing the CA examination should become a routine, much like other examinations. Passing in the first attempt should be the rule and not an exception.
Undertake mock tests-Try doing practical problems in examination conditions
Try practical problems (solved illustrations) without seeing solutions and then compare answers to evaluate your performance and take steps to remove shortcomings.
Note the important catch points which you think are important on a separate paper to revise at the final revision time before the exams.
Identify some problems which you want to practice on the last day before exam because it is not possible to revise all the problems on the last day
List out what you want to revise on the last day and make sure to revise them
For clarifications you may refer to Cost Accounting Text and problems by Dr N.K. Agrawal and study material of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
General Guidelines while attempting the paper to get better results.
Read full question paper before attempting the answers.
Identify & attempt the question which in your opnion can be done comfortably as your first answer which should be your best attempt.. This will give you confidence and good impression to the examiner.
Divide your time for the questions as per the marks scheme say if the time allotted is 3 hours (i.e 180 minutes) for 100 marks. You need 5-10 minutes to read full question paper, 5-10 minutes to check the answer at the end when you have finished. So time available is say 170-160 minutes for the full paper. So for each mark you have only 1.70 to 1.60 minutes i.e. for 20 marks you have only 34 to 32 minutes. So plan your answers as per time schedule and take care to give each mark its due time. In case you are able to save time on some questions that can be used in other questions.
Get one good calculator and practise on the same calculator; this will make you to comfortably use the calculator and your speed will also increase.