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How to score the maximum marks in PCC/IPCC Accounting Exam?

Aditi Bhardwaj 
on 06 October 2015

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Dear Students,

As you are less than one month away from the CA IPCC exams, this is a good time to know some handy tips to keep you fully prepared and get that extra an edge over your paper. I scored an 86 in Accounting during CA PE-II (now called IPCC) and so I can tell you by experience that these shall definitely work!

1. Revision of RTPs and Study Material before the exam:

Most students sometimes complain that the question given in the exam was completely unseen in any of the reference books or suggested answers given. Well, this is a myth. I have observed that nothing given in the exam is absolutely new. You will be pleasantly surprised that that what feels new to most students would be the problems exactly given in the recent Revision Test Papers (RTPs) released by the ICAI or from the Study Material available with you. You have some very typical problems in both these sources and it is very important that you cover everything from these two sources. Trust me, you will not regret that time spent!! Make sure in the one month now before the exam, you are revising at least 3 recent RTPs released, i.e., for Nov 2015 exam you should have gone through RTPs released for November 2015, May 2015 (most important) and November 2014. Another advantage of going RTPs is that, you are made aware of the recent changes that the ICAI has made to the scope of the syllabus which are presented in the form of theory questions/ problems, you would not find anywhere in your studying material!

2. Practice of a full length paper:

In this month of October, it is necessary that you create an exam scenario at your home/ study place, and practice a full length accounts exam, ideally 2 -3 tests in this month, say every Sunday. Please note, this is not to judge you how correct your answers are - That’s secondary. This act is only for you to get comfortable to sit at one place for three hours, feel the tension of the questions, the time available and get over with the fears that you may face in the exam. You may feel discouraged and stressed out after the three hours, but trust me, its better to face your fears and get burned out now rather than on the exam day!

3. Strategies for questions appearing in the exam:

Now that you are one month away, you are expected to be familiar with all your topics in the accounting paper. This is a good time to strategize on what chapters may appear in the exam. For this you may need a scanner, or probably sit with the last 6-7 question papers. Just to give you my analysis, here is what I have observed:

Accounting – I

Module 1

 

Chapter 1 Accounting Standards (AS – 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9 10, 13, 14)

***(24 marks – Every attempt)

Chapter 2 Financial Statements of Companies

  • Final Accounts of companies
  • Cash flow statements

***(24 marks – Every attempt)

Chapter 3 Profit or Loss Pre and Post Incorporation

**(6 – 8 marks – Every alternate attempt)

Chapter 4 Accounting for Bonus Issue

**(8 marks – Every alternate attempt)

Chapter 5 Internal Reconstruction

***(16 marks – Every alternate attempt)

Chapter 6 Amalgamation

***(16 marks – Every alternate attempt)

Appendix I & II

 

Module 2

 

Chapter 7 Average Due Date and Account Current

**(4 – 8 marks - Every attempt)

Chapter 8 Self Balancing Ledgers

(4 – 5 marks sporadically)

Chapter 9 Financial Statements of Not-For-Profit Organisations

***(16 marks – Every attempt)

Chapter 10 Accounts from Incomplete Records

**(8 – 16 marks – sometimes every attempt)

Chapter 11 Hire Purchase and Installment Sale Transactions

**(8 marks - Every attempt)

Chapter 12 Investment Accounts

**(4 – 8 marks - Every attempt)

Chapter 13 Insurance Claims for Loss of Stock and Loss of Profit

***(8 – 16 marks – Every attempt)

Chapter 14 Issues in Partnership Accounts

***(16 marks – Every attempt)

Chapter 15 Accounting in Computerized Environment

*(4 marks - Every attempt)

For example, it is seen that “Amalgamation” and “Internal Reconstruction” appear in the exam for 16 marks interchangeably. Say, if you had an Amalgamation problem in May 2015, chances are that Internal Reconstruction may appear for 16 marks in November 2015. So, you may prepare the latter chapter more thoroughly. Please note these are only strategies and probabilities. They cannot be relied 100% but of course they increases chances and hence your confidence and the marks :) Chapters which come every attempt, let’s not take a chance with that and make sure nothing is left undone.

4. Timing the question paper, reading time and revision time:

It is necessary that you familiarize with the pattern of the paper this month for all your subjects. With respect to Accounting, Question 1 is always compulsory, after which, 6 questions follow, out of which you are required to choose and attempt 5 questions.

Reading time (extra time)

 

15mins

Question 1

20 marks

40 mins

Question 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (answer 5 out of 6) = (5* 16) =

80 marks

25 mins *5Q=

125 mins

Revision time

 

15mins

TOTAL

100 marks

180 mins

Reading time

You are generally given 10-15 minutes reading time before the exam actually starts. Make sure you make the most of this reading time by doing the following –

• Read you question paper completely at least once,
• Familiarize yourself with the questions asked,
• Choose what you would want to answer,
• Decide the order in which you would answer,
• Allocate the time you would take for each answer.

Always take the reading time seriously and don’t jump into answering the paper as soon as you see it. Reading the paper and calming yourself in the interim is an important exercise.

Writing time

When you start writing, make sure you are beginning every question on a fresh side of the answer sheet. Question 1 takes a lot of time, so allocate 40 mins for that. In case you are stretching beyond 45 mins and still not close to your answer, leave it and proceed to the next question. Dwelling on one question for almost an hour crushes your confidence during the exam as you feel the stress of reducing time and the pressure of the questions yet to complete. So, stop once you are between the 40-45 mins mark and proceed with the next question.

Another key tip is that you may change the order of the questions starting from question 2. It is always advantageous to attempt the questions which you are more confident about first. Correct answers for the questions you know, boost your confidence during exams and gives to that adrenalin push to attempt the rest of the questions with concentration. So attempt and finish the questions you know to collect those marks in your pocket! Again keep the ticking time in mind. If you do not reach close to your answer within the allocated time, move on.. Coz you have already scored for the steps you have written and dwelling more on one question will jeopardise the time available for the rest of the answers.

Revision time

Like you were always told in school exams to always revise your paper, CA exams are no different! Allocate the last 10 – 15 mins for revision. During this time, make sure you have numbered your questions properly and you have made no silly mistakes. You can allocate 5-10 minutes more of revision time towards the end if you have left answers midway so that you can come back to conclude later. Believe me, when you come back to the questions you were struggling with earlier, you look at them from a fresh perspective and are able to answer them better, primarily because you have completed the chunk of your paper, gained some confidence and more relaxed now. Your last 15 - 20 mins are extremely helpful in adding up additional marks as revision time is ALWAYS and ALWAYS beneficial. So time your paper smartly!

5. Presentation of answers:

Evaluations of CA examinations are based on an “answer key” which is prepared by the ICAI for all evaluators. The evaluators follow this answer key to mark your answers. Please note, unlike CA CPT, marks are given for the steps and working in CA IPCC and not for the plain answers. So make sure you are writing all the necessary steps, showing all the calculations and working notes and presenting your answers in a legible manner without too many striking offs. Even if your answers’ Balance Sheets don’t tally, don’t worry too much. Make sure your workings are in order.. and who knows you may tumble on the answer while revision!! So at least get the basic presentation right so that your marks are intact for that!

Make sure the headings at the start of the answers coincide with the questions asked. For, example if the question asked for amalgamation is –

Calculate the no. of shares to be issued by the acquiring company to the selling company

Start your answer with “Calculation of no. of shares to be issued by the Acquiring comparing“ rather than writing “Computation of purchase consideration”.

Once you have three answers absolutely right, you are climbing at 60+ marks! So make sure your preparation is upto mark to kill those three to four questions which are sure to come for the exams!

Also note, this 60+ is subject to your attempting the entire paper. Always attempt the full paper. If you do not know how to approach to the solution, use your knowledge of the common sense and write down the steps that you understand. You will be appreciated for your efforts to attempt and get the marks for the steps you made! Attempting the full paper always has an added advantage compared to skipping questions entirely.

6. Carry your stationery:

It is always a good habit to be fully equipped for your war. Carry three to four pens to write, two pencils, an eraser, sharpener, a stapler and white ink marker.

Pens

Don’t be carried away by sentiments that the pens should be new and fresh for the exams which you have worshipped for the purpose of the exam! Relax.. Your pens which you are to use for the exams should be tried and tested and used well in advance to make them smooth and easy to write. A pen which you enjoyed to write with during your practise sessions gives you the ease of mind during the exams.. So use two to three pens half way and keep them for the final day!

Pencils and Eraser

Keep an eraser which rubs neatly without tearing or blackening the paper. You need to keep pencils because sometimes during exams, you may not feel to ink some numbers in advance. Probably because you are doubtful about your workings or think that the figure may change. So pencils and erasers are definitely handy.

Stapler

Normally, you are given a twine/ string to tie your paper. Make sure you are doing the tying bit at least ten minutes before the end of the exam. You don’t want the examiner to snatch your paper without giving you the opportunity to tie your paper. So tie your paper in advance. Keeping a stapler at such times also helps. Say in worst circumstances, you asked for an additional sheet and you didn’t have the time to tie it up. Use your stapler and do the needful to save the stress of keeping your sheets together!

White ink marker

I had a whitener pen handy during the practical exams like accounting and costing. There were times when striking off at a particular place and accommodating another number became way too shabby. At such times, using a whitener to correct your mistake keeps your paper neat and well presented. Please make sure that you don’t make it a habit and make your whole paper white!! Whitener is only a resort at tough times at some important places. It is only when you have deeply regretted shabbying a particular section and want to present some degree of neatness.

7. After the exam:

After the exam is over, NEVER NEVER NEVER discuss your paper with your friends around. Trust me, it will only put you down if you realise that your answers don’t match. Who knows what you did was correct and your friend fellow is just making you nervous by all his confidently spoken wrong answers! So, don’t listen to anyone. Pick up your bag, go home and forget about the consequence of this exam. Take your rest and then start your preparation for the next exam without your earlier exam affecting you.

Also, very importantly, don’t judge your performance and decide to skip the rest of the exams assuming you have done badly. This is the gravest of mistakes that a student does. You would be wasting 6 months of your precious time! I have seen that students who actually skipped the rest of the papers assuming that they did their accounts exam (or other exam) badly, actually passed in the paper and later regretted not having attempted the other papers... So as a THUMB RULE - Attempt all your papers. Don’t worry of the consequence and do your bit of sitting for the exams.

Hope you found the above tips helpful! In case you have more questions on accounting, feel free to reach me at aditi@cavachacademy.in or aditi.bhardwaj@outlook.com.

Regards,
Aditi

(The writer is a Chartered Accountant, qualified in November 2008, and is currently a faculty for Accounting and Taxation at Cavach Academy, Bangalore)

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