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Wish I had some more time.

a. The paper was very very lengthy. How can one complete so many questions in three hours time?

b. I knew the answer, wish I had some more time.

c. This question was short; I should have attempted this instead of that.

d. The paper was easy but was lengthy.

Do any of the above statements fit your frame of mind when you are out of examination hall after a 3 hours of battle (as many students feel – CA exams are none less than a war) with the question paper, especially of a practical paper?

If your answer is yes, then it is time to rethink at your strategy of attempting the exams. Though attempting the entire one hundred marks of paper is not required to clear the exams or for that matter even to get a rank, being not able to answer a question which you know can be heartbreaking at times. For those who are at the edge, it becomes much more relevant to attempt all questions they know.

Here are some factors which I feel might be affecting student’s ability to attempt all questions on time (these are based on my own experience and experiences of my friends).

a. Some students tend to write too long answers. As a rule of thumb, a 4/5/6 mark question should not exceed a page. Of course, there are exceptions. It may exceed a page in some case where there is a elaborate question. Some questions need only a half page answers. You have to write answers for what is asked by the question. There is no need to tell the examiner that you know everything. For e.g. in IPCC paper, a question was asked on rights of a retired partner in profits of the firm. You do not have to write the rights of a partner as regards to goodwill, capital etc. Similarly for a question asking on amount of depreciation to be charged, you do not have to prepare Fixed Asset Ledger Account. Writing extra does not fetch you extra marks. Similarly for a question asking P&L appropriation account, you do not have to prepare partners capital account.

b. Another common factor is spending too much of time in first couple of questions and missing out the questions attempted at the last. You may attempt the first question with perfection by spending about 45 minutes to 1 hour but always remember that only the opening batsman cannot win you the match. Remaining questions also needs to be attempted reasonably well. Rationalizing the time spent on each question can help you to attempt all questions. Otherwise, there may be some regrets of missing out on an easy question which you could have attempted if you had time.

c. Choosing the wrong question – here I mean a question which you are not comfortable with. Spending too much of time and energy to crack a question which is not getting solved is another factor. Just skip the question and move on to another question. You can get back to the question anytime later. Many students feel that more marks would be given for questions which are fully attempted and completely correct. However, the institute marking system awards marks for each step and not just for the final answer. If a question has six steps, each step would be carrying proportionate marks.

Each of the above areas can be addressed for a better efficiency and management of the paper against the stipulated 3 hours time. No doubt there is an insurmountable pressure on the candidates, but this is how professional exams are.  The paper is generally not lengthy but we tend to give lengthy answers and make it lengthy. Answers are to be given to the point and there is no point in beating around the bush as in a graduate examination. Always remember that it is not about managing time, it is about managing yourself in the limited time. 

Good luck.

Published by

CA Suraj Lakhotia
Category Students   Report

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