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How to Prepare for Theory Subjects - Professional Exams

CA Rajesh Pabari , Last updated: 07 July 2014  

Time may change, technology may change, methodology of teaching and training and many other aspects of CA curriculum may change but as far as human brain is concerned, it follows some basic fundamental principles for remembering and recalling the things that has been learnt by an individual.

As per my observations, I noticed some terrible mistakes that are being done by many students which I feel should be avoided. This article is an effort to guide them properly in order to avoid those mistakes and to enable them to have a smooth ride to journey of ca.

The basic mistake I observed in those students who have the habit of not revising and not trying to recapitulate the things that he/she has just learnt.  For example, you study Corporate Laws for the full day and will feed your brain the whole day about Corporate laws. Now, you need to analyse how much you are able to recollect, isn’t it? Or else what is the use of reading for 12 hours if you are not able to recall even the simplest of the things being read by you.

I want to give a simple example here, if you are using computer regularly, you will easily correlate this example with what I want to convey about human brain. Take an example where you are working on a file Lets say this file ‘Exam Preparation Guidance’ and you saved it on some folder in your computer. Lets say C:\Users\Administrator\Dropbox\Guidance for CA Students, now you want access and refer to this file, lets say after three months. In this case, it might be possible that I may have forgotten where I have kept this particular file unless I have accessed the file for at least two three times. When I access it often, it becomes well printed in my brain where I have kept this file.

Similar to above example, our brain is also such that it stores whatever you want to store in it, however, the retrieval power differs from person to person. The timely retrieval of information and knowledge depends on how much recalling practice you have. I was reading somewhere about human brain capacity of storage. The article revealed that human brain can store videos of around 300 years. Now, imagine what the sizes of our CA books are as compared to capacity we have got.  You will wonder that human brain may be capable to even store all the existing books on this earth, you never know.

Now, the crux of the matter I want to present to you is that retrievability matters. Retrievability is our capacity to recall the stored data and knowledge as per our wish, on the day and time we want it.

Now let us analyse what our brain does when we are writing our exams? Our brain encounters a question and the answer is based on the vast amount of knowledge lying within our head. Just like Google, our brain starts searching for the answer from the existing database and information bank inside itself. The more practice we have for recalling, the easier it becomes to reproduce when required. Just stuffing the books in the storage (brain) does not help.   

What I want readers of this article to do is to practice retrieval of data and information from brain. I want them to practice those things which actually matters in exams, the things that they actually do in exams. It will be much beneficial for you if you practice what you are really going to do in exams. For theory subjects, what you are going to do in exams is to face a question and retrieve relevant section or text from your brain in order to present your answer. It requires practice to do this in smooth manner. E.g. If you want to participate in a cricket match, you cannot just go and play without actually knowing how to play cricket, without holding the bat or ball in your hand, without practicing batting, bowling and fielding on the ground. Your captain won’t allow you to enter the tournament if you were not present in practices. If a cricket match needs practice before actually playing it, how can we go to our exams without practicing what it takes to face them. It’s a question of your career, how can you play with it. Just dumping data doesn’t help. Retrieval practice is most important part of your preparation. Just evaluate, how much time you are dedicating for recalling and how much time you are spending in dumping the data and information in your brain. Make your own choice and chose your own result.

To put it in a summary, you are going to retrieve your knowledge based on the questions you face in exams. So, how can you imagine doing it directly in exam hall without practicing the same, without trying to get hang of the recall process and recall practice.

Below mentioned are some simple steps which everyone should follow in order to remember more and more. (What I mean by remembering is the power of retrievability and the power to recall the things when required).

Step 1: Read and Recall every hour: Take a theory subject you want to prepare, read it for an hour or so and then ask yourself what you can recall from last one hour reading. Initially it will take more time to recall but as you practice this method, it will become easier. So, don’t worry and keep trying. No effort goes waste, every try of recollecting makes your brain stronger with each passing moment.

Note: Please note that those who doesn’t have any practice of this method will find it frustrating because they have never asked themselves these questions about how much they can recall. I personally have felt this frustration because I couldn’t recall even the smallest of the matter in the beginning, but gradually, it became very easy with each passing day. If there is a will, there is a way. So keep trying.

Step 2: Note down important points in your own words: Try to jot down those points on a page in your own words. This practice is required because what we do in exam is to write something in our own language and express. This practice will be very useful for effective writing in exams. It’s also required for efficient brain and hand synchronization while writing. Our brain can think much faster than our writing speed, so we tend to skip a word or sentences while writing. You may have experienced this while re-reading your own answers. I am sure all must have experienced this some time in their student life.

Note: Please note that jotting down points after each hour may not be feasible because of time constraints, hence, points should be noted only when you come across some important parts of your chapter.

Step 3: Repeat the process of Recalling and its importance: Every hour, repeat the process of recalling. This will make your brain super active while reading. The neurons and cells of your brain that are employed for recalling process become more and more efficient with each passing hour and with each additional practice. If you keep on asking your brain what it has remembered, it will certainly understand that whatever being read is important for my master and it will apply all its possible energy in storing and retrieving.

Other memory related articles are uploaded at following links. You may like to read those too.



How to prepare practical subjects


Memory Techniques to Remember Section Numbers


How to boost Memory


https://journeyofca.wordpress.com/ - A blog for Guidance to CA and professional exam students by CA Rajesh Pabari and Team

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CA Rajesh Pabari
(Chartered Accountant)
Category Students   Report

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