Hi friends, since childhood I’ve heard lot of times “EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED” and always wondered how it is possible for anyone to do such. How can anyone expect something that itself cannot be expected or is almost difficult to even give a thought upon. But but but, our CA exams train us in such way that we do start expecting all the unexpected things. And something similar happened this time too, in November 2010 FINAL (new) with me.
All the exams were quit fine, rather not at all tough. None of them seemed like non-attainable or something like “out of syllabus”. The only thing differentiated every student from others was his/her own preparations of the subject. I went for just first group only due to some or the other ups and downs in life. Anyways, let’s start with what I experienced and how papers were as per my expectations:
A) Me, being careless-
I think this is something I never expected to happen with me, neither my friends nor my parents even. Our exam dates are issued almost 2-3 months before exams. So in month of August-September, someone told me (I can’t recall who he/she was) that our finals will get start on 10th November 2010. I considered the same date as confirmed. Due to some or the other problems going in my routine, I could not start with my studies till 6th of October. But from 7th October, I started with studies sincerely. As per my planning schedule, I was going to take “accounting standards” on 6th-7th November and then on 8th-9th November was suppose to revise the whole subject. On 5th November, one of my friend called me (for diwali wishes), and while talking to her, she informed me that our exam date is 8th of November. Trust me guys, I was completely shattered, because a whole lot was supposed to be done in remaining 4 days (6-9 November), that cannot be done in mere two days (i.e 6-7 November). But still I completed the accounting standards in just one day and revised whole of accounts in remaining 20-24 hours.
The irony was, I received the admit card so long back, but I never checked out the date on it. I just verified my name, address, exam centre, roll no and even the subjects. But never paid attention to exam date, never ever. I think this was the biggest blunder I’ve ever made in my life. I know I’m careless, but this was something else, for which I had to pay in my very first exam only.
B) Quality of Questions (an overall view)-
This time too, ICAI, from its side, had set a real professional exam, covering various aspects in every subject. And papers were real worthy to examine the thorough knowledge of candidate and to satisfy whether he/she is eligible to be a future professional person of such a grand institute. So, first of all, hats off to all the paper setters. I mean, if any student tries to leave any non-important chapter or any topic (considering it as not at all important), ICAI sees that only topic is asked in the exam.:D
Moreover, as it was for the first time for me to attempt for FINALS so I don’t know what is the general trend of color of question paper. We received yellow colored question papers, which itself was hindering few students. As combination of yellow background and dark black letters on it was very catchy, so few students were disturbed with that too.
C) Length of exam individually-
The timing problem exists at PCC/IPCC level, as there answers are long and lengthy. While at FINALS stage, knowledge becomes wide and answers are suppose to be precise and to the point.
So, none of the exams proved to be a lengthy one, 3 hours were sufficient to attain every paper. Rather, time was always saved by 10-15 minutes after completing the paper, so one should concentrate on presentation part as well in finals.
D) Discussion regarding every exam individually-
-: FINANCIAL REPORTING (Accounts) :-
Already I’d made a blunder, to add on it, this paper was completely unexpected. Usually, in past papers more emphasize is given on accounting topics and less on accounting standards. The general trend had been that accounting standards were asked for 25-30 marks (excluding amalgamation & consolidation AS : 14, 21, 23 & 27), and rest of the paper was containing various other topics like HRA,VAS, INFLATION ACCOUNTING, EVA, VALUATIONS, BUY-BACK, DISSOLUTION, etc and other miscellaneous topics.
But this time, in November 2010, the major portion of exams contained questions based on accounting standards. It was not at all expected that such a huge weightage of approximately 55-65 marks (excluding amalgamation and consolidation, they had their own weightage of 32 marks) would be given to accounting standards.
Many of us never expected that ICAI can really do this. Being a student, our more concentration was on other various topics and done few of the important accounting standards. But when, exam was over, I was as such disappointed with my performance but there were many faces who were more disappointed than me. Few students were literally crying as well, as they were not able to attain even half of the paper.
So, here ICAI proved there exists nothing like “NON-IMPORTANT” or “OPTIONAL”. The paper was really easy if someone would have prepared accounting standards too well. But being accounts such a huge subject, students avoid doing accounting standards, considering them least important. While ICAI this time contradicted their belief.
-: STRATEGIC FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT (Financial Management) :-
FINANCIAL REPORTING affected many students. The negative impact of it was that few of the students didn’t turn up for SFM, some of them were my friends. On inquiring, I came to know that they wanted to score in ACCOUNTS (it being practical subject), and that only paper proved to be a failure, so they thought there is no worth to appear for rest of exams as its not possible to get exemption in any of them.
But, this time also, it reversed. SFM paper proved to be the one of the easiest exams. Direct practical questions, no ambiguous language, all 8 marks questions were scoring and seemed so smooth paper that even if someone would have understood the basics of any topic can solve every example. I was delighted as I could attain almost 80-84 marks of the questions.
All the grief related to ACOUNTS exam vanished, because, none of us expected that such an easy examination can also be held by ICAI. We all were happy and satisfied that there are chances to clear atleast one subject (getting exemption in SFM) if not whole group (because of accounts).
And another good thing was all the theory was asked in just one question, i.e Q7 consisting 16 marks. So, one can easily leave theory in option in exam. Usually, in past papers, compulsory a sub-question of theory was asked in every question, so students were feeling really bad for it. But in November 2010 SFM paper, theory was completely optional and rest practical portion was so easy that no one would even bother to attain theory part.
-: ADVANCED AUDITING AND PROFESSIONAL ETHICS (Audit) :-
Yes, this was the paper of ICAI-CA STUDENTS combo. A normal average paper, that was not difficult, not easy, and not lengthy, not short. A proper exam, if anyone would have prepared certainly well, than he/she can clear this exam very easily. I can’t say that one can get exemption in it so easily, but atleast 42-47 were achievable (considering it a theory subject).
The highlight of this paper for me was the case studies. Generally more of case studies are asked in LAW and direct questions in AUDIT. But this time, more case studies were asked here too, ofcoarse direct questions too were there.
I think this was the paper which really tested the knowledge regarding the audit, practically as well as theoretical. At one hand, theory questions were not so easy that they could be attend easily and on other hand case studies were not so difficult that one can blankly leave them.
So in overall, this exam impressed me, because it was not easy to tackle with every case study perfectly well and not difficult as well to clear and get good marks, as it was theory subject.
-: CORPORATE AND ALLIED LAWS (Law) :-
It was out and out practical paper with almost 90% of case studies and hardly 1-2 questions of direct theory. The case studies for me were not so easy, as in law, we can derive many conclusions for the same problem. So, while commenting on any case study or concluding any case study was not an easy part. It’s an obvious thing that we cannot right a rigid and perfect answer to case studies, but we should try our best to reach near to perfection. But in law, even this part became difficult, as few of the case studies were confusing and one really cannot decide what should be its perfect answer.
The new or rather so called “unexpected” thing we found was that the questions of corporate and allied laws were mixed together. In past, there were two sections in every paper, section I - 70 marks related to corporate law and section – II 30 marks of allied laws. But this November’10, all questions were asked in just one phase, no bifurcation was given. Due to this, I think many students faced odd situation, because students do mentally prepare that first section will be of corporate law, and accordingly they prepare for any options to leave or not. But this time, it all messed up.
But in all, exam was just ok-ok, not so relaxing as audit was. And yes, another thing was, few topics were asked for higher marks, i.e answers for such questions were very small, but the same were asked for 8marks. So students confused overthere as well as to what to write for 8 marks? But this is ICAI, it’s habituated in giving surprises, and so was it too. Exam was short, many completed in 2 hours even, I took 2 hours and 40 minutes, considering presentation part as well.
E) Final verdict-
I would say that its necessary to do PERFECTLY EVERYTHING (whatever and howsoever u do), and so many of the students do 80-90% of syllabus perfectly and rest all they leave. But in CA rules, its necessary to do EVERYTHING PERFECTLY. The moment u think of leaving any topic, that very moment u r leaving a question of almost 16 marks [
That means u wont be able to attain 100%., and what if there’s some another difficult question on the topic, which u did? That means u would not attain that as well perfectly. So, better is to do everything, giver proper time to your preparations and importantly revise the same as much as u can, atleast one time revision is compulsory.
So, I think it’s the beginning for me to deal with ICAI, every exam was commendable, and not so expected. Moreover it’s ICAI, so u can never remain sure of results as well. No matter how bad or good u attempt in your paper, there are other competitors as well and at the luck too matters. So, never remain rigid regarding your preparations, rather your plans should be flexible and adjustable at any circumstances.
-: DISCLAIMERS :-
- The above mentioned views are purely my and few of my friends’. There may be some students whose accounts paper might have worked well but not sfm, so these views are not rigid for the exams rather the most subjective.
- If any of u like this article, then please do thank to ANKUR GARG, as the sole idea behind sharing my experience was his and not mine. I’d never thought of sharing my experience, but he suggested me to share for rest of the members and especially for pcc/ipcc students who seek such things for their own preparations purpose.