This article is addressing three stages:
1. What to do on Exam day?
2. How to prepare before exams?
3. How to study during coaching?
ON THE DAY OF EXAM:
It is very important what you feel and do during that 3 hours. If you feel diffident and incapacitated then it is of no use, it will reflect in your paper.
One can rest in Supreme confidence that human brain is really a miraculous organ. It has tremendous powers to work efficiently in crisis/tensed situations. So one who is really confident can really remember more in the exam.
Income tax is a very scoring subject. Paper is lengthy and requires more time; on exam day one should keep the following in mind:
1. FOCUS: 100 % attention in the exam hall
2. ANALYZE: Start the question you know.
3. CLASSIFICATION OF EXAM TIME: First half can be called normal time and second half is called a strategic time. Start with easy questions (practical) and theory questions first (Normal time) and leave the toughest questions to Strategic time.
4. WORKING NOTES: Do it separately instead of doing it in the answer. It is better to write precise points with good heading and sub heading, e.g. if you get a question on Slump sale (Sec 50B) under capital gain, then after you complete the sum give the working note and write down the provisions of slump sale
5. ATTEND: All questions without fail.
PREPARATION JUST BEFORE EXAM:
Start (or revise) the INCOME TAX portion, as you will need some time to complete this part first because it is vast. You can do Service Tax and Vat portion after that.
Stage 1: Complete MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS like Residential Status, Provisions relating to filing of Return, TDS, Advance Tax, Income that is exempt from tax etc.
Stage 2: INCOME FROM HOUSE PROPERTY, there has been no amendment in this chapter as per the Finance Act and the chapter is also not big, so you can complete revising this chapter in few hours.
Stage 3: CAPITAL GAIN this chapter needs time to complete and requires conceptual understanding. Capital gain requires your own prepared notes. Your own notes work as fast track reference for you, so even if this chapter is vast you can quickly recap.
You can divide this chapter into 4 parts.
A) Basic topics
B) What are the certain transactions not included in transfer
C) Capital Gain under certain special cases
D) Exemptions under capital gain
Stage 4: You can do a small chapter to ease your pressure i.e. INCOME FROM OTHER SOURCES. This chapter can be done in 1-2 hours.
Stage 5: INCOME FROM SALARY is an easy chapter. Read the provisions of all the Allowances, Perquisites, how to compute gratuity, leave salary, pensions etc. You must practice all kinds of sums in this chapter. At least check the solved examples.
Stage 6: INCOME FROM BUSINESS/PROFESSION. Complete the amendments and other important sections like Sec.32, Sec.35, Sec. 35 AD, Sec.35 DDA, Sec.40 (a), Sec.44 AB, Sec.44AD, Sec.44AE, Sec 41 etc.
Prepare notes of this chapter.
Do a lot of practice of all the sums and the technique of presentation should be same i.e. do the sum and give the working notes of the related provisions which are associated with the question.
Stage 7: Now practice total computation of taxable income for Individual, HUF, Computation of total income is very important, questions from this topic are always asked in the exams.
Stage 8: Service tax and VAT portion, don’t ignore this till last days, revise the provisions, rules, amendments, practical problems and 8 services notified for the exam.
Stage 9: Revise all amendments, revision test papers.
PREPARATION WHILE UNDERGOING COACHING:
Pointer 1: Make good notes of the concepts.
Pointer 2: ABCD analysis.
ABCD analysis means to divide the subject into 4 objective quadrants and prioritize. Trends exist for any exam in this world. So, this is an exercise in time-management and not an excuse for not studying some chapters. One must study all chapters but one must know which areas are important for exam.
Pointer 3: Keep a daily workbook and fix daily target.
Pointer 4: Solve past exam question papers. Understand the practical and application oriented past exam question pattern. This will improve your potential to the exam
Pointer 5: Revision
Revision of this subject is of utmost importance. Revision for this subject would mean 3 times minimum to be able to write well in the exam. What you have learnt on Sunday must be revised on Wednesday and so on and so forth.
I am a Chartered Accountant by profession and an avid teacher. Writing is my hobby and this blog is a platform to share knowledge and interact with prospective Chartered Accountants. I locate my work at the intersection of Chartered accountancy & education.