Most of the CA students find theoretical subjects difficult to handle. They do well in practical papers but flunk in theoretical subjects.
The main reason for this is that approach for practical papers and theoretical papers are quite different. In practical subject, you are required to give a numerical solution. If your method is right, you will reach at the correct answer.
However, in theoretical papers, you might know the answer but if you do not put it into words properly, you lose marks. You are required to know the concept and put it in a proper language.
I will talk about Audit paper at IPCC level in detail.
Syllabus and paper pattern
Audit syllabus can be divided into following portions:
- Basic concepts of Auditing (introduction, internal audit, audit techniques, audit procedures etc.)
- Company audit
- Vouching and verification
- Standards on Auditing
- Miscellaneous topics ( government audit, bank audit, special audit etc.)
Paper pattern has been changed with the introduction of 30 marks multiple choice questions and 70 marks subjective questions (5 questions of 14 marks each).
You should have a good understanding of the basic concepts. This will help you immensely in solving mcqs and true/ false questions. With 44 marks of such questions in hand, it should be a smooth sailing.
Auditing is a practical subject. It is a subject which draws from all subjects: Accounts, Law, Taxation etc.
It is very important to understand the concepts and reasoning behind the topics. The basic concepts which you study will help you in learning SAs.
Vouching and verification topics are based on common sense. How you would practically deal with assets, liabilities, expenses or revenue of an organisation? Even, special audit topic has a practical approach.
Company audit is a law based topic. It is an easy and interesting topic. You need to know all the sections. In new syllabus, a lot of this portion is covered in Law paper.
As far as SAs are concerned, you should understand objectives and requirements of that SA.
You can divide your study phase into these parts:
- Studying syllabus for the first time (self study/ coaching):
- Detailed study and revision of concepts
- Subsequent revisions of shorter spans
While doing self-study or coaching, focus on understanding the concepts and making your own notes.
After completing coaching/ self-study for all subjects, you should do an in depth study of the concepts. You should devote maximum time to this revision amongst all subsequent ones. You should start focusing on remembering key words and concepts. Along with reading, do questions also. Refer to SM/ MTP/ RTP etc.
All the subsequent revisions will be of shorter time. You might not be able to study the entire book but you should read the concepts you found difficult earlier and your short notes. It should not be re- reading but revision of the concepts.
In all these phases, you should solve questions. Many students do not practice questions. This is one of the major reasons of failure. If you do not solve questions, you are not testing yourself and will never know about your mistakes.
Practice can be done in two ways:
- Thinking answers in your head
- Written practice
When you read a question, first think of the answer yourself and compare your answer with Institute's answer later. You will be able of analyse whether you are thinking right, language demanded and how to write an elaborate answer.
In new course, a lot of case study based questions are asked in exams. For that, understanding concepts and applying the same is necessary. Practicing questions will help you to learn about application of the concepts.
Along with developing thinking pattern for answering questions, it is important to do written practice of a few questions. Writing will help you to develop language and presentation skills. CA is a professional exam and you are required to answer in a professional language. Doing practice helps you to bridge the gap between where you are and what the Institute demands.
Certain tips for presentation of paper:
- Answer those questions first about which you are most confident.
- Write paper in neat handwriting. Underline important points.
- While writing answers, you should mention all key words. Mentioning key words and technical terms is important.
- Mention SA and sections of Company law, if you can recall them.
- Do not answer question in a single paragraph. Make sub- paras. For a case study, you can follow the approach of provision- facts of the case - conclusion.
- Try to attempt maximum paper.
You can do mock papers and analyse types of questions asked. Depending upon your comfort in topics and types of questions, you can strategise in advance what kind of questions to attempt first.