First of all, I would like to acknowledge you for putting so much of hard-work and giving your best shot in this attempt within the limited time you had.
I really acknowledge you for battling through so many challenges during the entire CA journey and staying focused towards your mission to add those prestigious two words 'CA' in front of your name.
Firstly, analyze where you stand
Well, some of you are 90%-100% confident that your exams were good and you are going to get through it. Kudos to you and congratulations in advance!! Great effort!!
But all those who are not confident about the quality of your own performance, its right time to take a reality check and predict your result 'in this week itself' with reasonable accuracy.
Yes, 'in this week itself'.
Now be aware thatyour mind would resist doing any kind of work that enables you to predict your results in advance. Do you want to know why?
It's because of your mind's 'Ostrich Effect'; simply called as an 'Optimism Bias'.
What is the Ostrich Effect?
Ostrich effect is the tendency to avoid any negative information by simply closing oneself off from the information, or 'sticking one's head in the sand' as an ostrich would. This tendency only gives you short-term pleasure but it results into long-term loss for your career.
For CA Students, Ostrich effect is a conversation of false hope in their minds like 'I hope my luck will favor this time and somehow I will clear.'The problem is that there is no factual basis for this conversation of hope.
Let me explain in detail about the short term gain and long-term loss of Ostrich Effect for you.
What you do stand to gain (The Short Term Gain/ Pleasure)
1) Break from studies for two months (Ahaa! I can enjoy the summers. Recollect the Grasshopper &Ant story that you must have heard in school days. Google out the story if you don't know it)
What you stand to lose if you don't make a reality check (The Long-Term Loss)
1) Two months' time lost (First Loss)
Yes, you tend to lose two months of precious time that you could have invested to plug all the gaps in your preparation. Given the fact that ICAI takes 2 - 2.5 months to declare results; you could have invested this time effectively.
2) 15 days lost for bouncing back (Second Loss)
If results are negative, you require 7-15 days of time to let the reality sink in and bounce back from the depressive mindset.
So, total time loss is 2.5 months i.e. almost 50% of the time that you could have invested for your next attempt.
3) Restless and anxious mind for two months (Third Loss)
Until your exam results are declared, subconsciously you are restless because you worry about your results. It's like ice-berg coming closer to hit the Titanic. This impacts your own mental well-being.
4) Getting stuck in the vicious loop of Attempt-Failure-Beg for Leave-Attempt (Fourth Loss)
Most of you would choose to secure some work until results are announced and put your time to good use to learn and earn something.
But after results are announced, you are still obligated to serve the employers for many more days and beg for the study leave. Somehow you manage to get 30-45 days of study leave. Further, it takes few days to get into true momentum of studies after you take the leave.
Now, with barely 25-40 effective days in hand; the only thing you land up doing is reviving up your last attempt preparation with barely any new effort to plug the gaps in the last preparation. This is sure-shot recipe for failure again and then falling into a similar loop.
This is the vicious loop of Attempt-Failure-Beg for Leave-Attempt that CA students are generally vulnerable to and many students have been stuck in this loop for more than 2-3 years.
Getting out of the Vicious Loop
For getting out of this vicious loop; let me give you two important tips
1) Prepare like a rank-holder
Halt on every Sunday for an hour, take your diary and ask yourself this question – 'Am I studying like a rank-holder would? What can I do differently?'
This simple exercise will help you improve your preparation.
2) Keep a basic benchmark for your preparation.
Target to revise each subject 3 times (6 times for ISCA / ITSM) and solve 5 mock test papers for each subject. You can use past exam papers & ICAI MTP's for these tests.
I know many of you may say it is impractical to revise 3 times and solve 5 papers for each subject. But you are wrong.
I mentor CA students through my IGNITE Program across India and equip them with strategies to accomplish this task gracefully. IGNITE's weekly accountability structure until exams keeps every student in high discipline and eagle-eye focused towards their goal.
To crack CA exams like a pro, you need to have the right kind of planning, right study techniques, the right amount of time and most importantly confident and focused mindset. I will give you the link for IGNITE Planner Tool towards the end of this article using which can give you good head-start.
Predicting the Results
Now you have understood the Ostrich Effect, the vicious loop of CA Student and how can you get out of this loop. Now let's understand how you can predict results in advance by doing a reality check.
You are having near fresh memories right now for every question you answered.
Challenge 1: How can I find the answers of the questions without having ICAI suggested answers?
The Solution: Thanks to the efforts of few faculties that we can have access to answer keys / solutions using which we can predict our results with reasonable accuracy.
I have researched YouTube / Google extensively to find maximum possible answer keys for Nov 2018 examinations for CA Final (old + new) and IPCC/ Intermediate. At the end of this article you will find the link to the page having all the links and videos to answer keys.
For certain subjects answer keys are not available, for them simply take question paper and find the answers from your study material and give yourself marks based on your self-assessment.
Challenge 2: Some of you may feel 'How can I award marks to myself – I don't know how examiners give marks?':
The Solution: You are trying to be perfect. Know that perfection can never be achieved. Simply be eagle eye focused on the objective of predicting result with reasonable accuracy only (80% accuracy). This exercise can take some time (max 1-2 days) but it is completely worth it.
In addition to predicting your results, this exercise has two more key benefits
1) It enables you to hack into paper setter's strategies, mindset &source materials for setting the question papers
2) It enables you to find loop holes in your own preparation style, strategies &study material
You can write a detailed analysis (audit report) on each paper. The insights of your analysis shall be extremely useful for crafting a brand new attack strategy for the next attempt. This is called being a 'Smart CA Student'.
Once you have predicted your results and suppose you realize that it's wise to start your preparation, then you can use IGNITE Planner Tool for doing comprehensive planning for studies and setting your flight in the right direction for nailing CA exam in next attempt.
All the very best!
- Nov 2018 - Suggested Answer Keys - CA Final / Inter / IPCC : Article & Download Link
- CA Final Planner Tool : Article & Download Link
- IPCC Planner Tool : Article & Download Link
PS: Now some of you may ask me that what if I predicted that I won't clear the exam but luckily I clear it. Well, it's amazing news. There is nothing to lose. The knowledge that you have gained for two months will be useful for your profession anyway. So enjoy the success!
The author of this article is CA Ashutosh Rathi and creator of IGNITE -a comprehensive mentoring program for CA Final & IPCC Students. He can also be reached at www.ashutoshrathi.com & firstname.lastname@example.org