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If your exam is over, read this!

You may have a sigh of relief after your May 2011 exam. Congratulations to all my friends who have put your maximum in the most respected professional examination of this country. Before your examination, everyone was giving you an advice to “not analyze your performance during the examination days and never allow that to affect your performance on the next day”. This advice was perfectly right.  Hope you followed that valuable advice during your exam days!

If you are really happy with your performance in the exam, congratulations to you!  If you are not happy, this is the right time for all of you to critically analyze your performance in the examination. Based on that analysis you need to revise your PLAN & STRATEGY FOR WINNING THE CA EXAM.

We know that the ICAI will evaluate the answer scripts and come out with results in a time bound manner. It is their duty and they learn from each exam, how to improve the quality of exam and the way it is conducted. We need not worry about that. You need not worry about the probable outcome of the just completed exam. It is gone and you can’t influence the past. It doesn’t mean that you can ignore your performance in that exam. You are the only person who knows exactly what your performance standard in the exam was. If you feel that you did not perform well in the exam, you have to do one thing. Sincerely investigate, what went wrong?

Ask two questions yourself.

1. Did you dedicate sufficient time for preparation?

2. Was your method of preparation perfect?

Most of the failures in CA exam occur because of inadequate preparation and wrong methods of preparation. It is you to take the initiative to find out your mistakes. If you can do that, result is assured.

 In this write up, I am trying to lead you to find your way. So, take the light of those two questions and read further…..

Convince yourself about your target and be sincere in reaching that target.

 We always say that CA is your target. Unfortunately, we are not sincere in understanding our target and giving our maximum to reach there. You aspire to be a member of the dignified professional accounting body of this country. For getting admitted in the members list, you have to convince ICAI that you are knowledgeable and competent.

How can you convince ICAI?

Appear in CA exam and prove that you are competent to be a member. Considering the significance and responsibility of their membership, ICAI test its prospective members rigorously. That is why CA exam is treated as one of the tough examinations in this country. That means you need to change the way you perceive CA exam. We are not writing an ordinary examination but trying to prove your professional competence. So you can’t tolerate a casual approach here. Your preparation need to be sincere, sufficient, professional and well planned. If you miss in any of the above four factors there is every chance of you ending up in a mess in the exam hall.

How many of you did analyze your performance in the just completed CA Exam. If your performance was not up to the mark, ask why? Invariably in almost all the cases, insufficient preparation will be one reason. This can be due to insufficient time to prepare or not utilizing the time. Even if your office schedule, family issues etc make you running out of time, you can compensate it by stealing a little bit from other allocations. If you are sincere in reaching your target, you have no other way. Unless you put your maximum effort in achieving your target, it will remain as a dream for ever.

Did you effectively utilize the available time for preparation?

Just observe the conversation between two friends who have appeared in the May 2011 CA exam.

Tom: Hi Jerry how was your exam?

Jerry: Not so good! What about yours?

Tom: QP was good. But, I could not do well.

JERRY: what happened?

Tom: Preparation was not enough.

Jerry: Did you start preparing for Nov.2011 exam?

Tom: Hey, come on….. Let the Institute publish the result.

Jerry: I’m also waiting for the result.

Tom and Jerry are not alien. If you watch closely, they have the very same features of many CA students. 

I’m not afraid to mark an observation here. A vast majority of students who write CA exam know their result immediately after the completion of the exam. Again a lion share of them knows that their performance was not up to the mark. They have already written their destiny and FAILURE is staring on them. It is pathetic that we again wait for more than sixty days to start our preparation for next exam. Here waiting means wasting. During these sixty days we are waiting for a result which is very much known to us. THIS IS SELF CHEATING. In every minute we say that CA is our goal. If CA is really our goal, how can we become so casual like this?

Think a while those hours you have spent in the exam hall. How painful was it. Every question appears to be known but unable to give the right answer. That means you know little bit of this and that. But, don’t know exactly anything. This level of knowledge is far below from the standard expected by ICAI. This is clear indication of insufficient preparation. If you would have spent much more time for your preparation in a phased manner, your exam experience would have been different. So, don’t commit the same mistake. Start preparing for Nov.2011 exam now itself.

Did you ever analyze your Strength and Weakness?

An average student may not be equally good at theory, analytical study and practical problems. Certain students may be good at theory but unfortunately not so good in tackling practical problems. Some other students are good at practical problems but they may not be good at theory. There are students who make others envy, by their expertise in handling both theory and practical problems in a better way. If you belong to the third category you are really gifted and your way to success is easy, provided you use your talent.

Friends, you need to find your strength and weakness before starting your preparation for next exam. While allocating time for each paper, keep that in mind. Definitely, you need to give extra time for your weak papers.

Did you extract the maximum from your strength?

Even after an analysis of their strength and weakness, a large number of students commit another mistake which leads to failure in exam. Certain students spend a lot of time for preparing their weak area, say problem oriented papers. At the same time they fail to take advantage of their strong area, say theory papers. They postpone the preparation in strong papers till the last minute. Resultantly they can’t score good marks in those papers too. The exam strategy of those students is very wrong. We may be good/bad at some papers. We may like/dislike certain papers. Your strength/weakness or like/dislike towards a particular paper should not be allowed to deter you from reaching your target. Your target is to pass the CA exam. For that you need to score at least 40%marks per paper and 50%marks in aggregate. So take a safe position. Ensure that you score at least 40% even in your weak papers and score maximum in your strong papers, so as to assure your success in exam. If you are able to put extra time in weak papers and score good marks in that papers also, good work. But never sacrifice your scoring potential in strong papers. That can be disastrous. Keep these points in mind while charting out your strategy.

Did you prepare both theory and problems in the same way?

Theory and problems ask for different approach. In the preparation of theory papers, you may follow this approach - read, understand, retain and then write. This approach will ensure that you can recollect the answers in the exam hall.

For problem papers, this approach won’t work. You have to first understand theoretical base, then understand its application in problems and do practice solving problems in exam standards and within time constraints.

If your approach and strategy is not in line with the specific characteristics of a paper there is every chance for underperformance in the exam hall.

Do you collect study resources during your preparation?

 This is another temptation that we fail to resist. Friends, before starting your preparation do sufficient research and find the study materials and resources that you are going to use. Limit to it, avoid collecting study materials even during the day before exam. Decide on the resources before starting preparation. Stick to it and dig deep. Don’t gather too many materials. ICAI syllabus is vast. You may not find time for reading various resources on the same subject. Moreover the different text books may explain the same idea in different styles. This may create confusion. So, limit your study resources. Gather only latest amendments, standards, notifications and case laws during preparation. Use study materials and ICAI publications and useful sites like CCI for that.

Are you infected by “both group mania?”

If you are able to pass both groups at the early attempts and score good marks that is really appreciable. Finding a place in merit list is commendable. But, I disagree with those students who are wasting a lot of attempts for passing both groups in the same exam. They are not considering the opportunity cost. If you find it difficult to pass both groups, don’t waste your time. ICAI has given the option to write single group. Utilize that option and find place in membership register of ICAI as early as possible.

Learn from your own experience!

The above points are just indicative. You are the most informed person about the factors which contributed to your failure in the previous attempts. Study them well, find the root causes and destroy them. Make sure that you do not repeat your mistakes again.


Analyze your previous failures.

Find your mistakes.

Rectify them.

Revise your plan and strategy.

Follow your plan and stick to your strategy.

Prepare systematically.

Succeed in the coming exam itself.

Wish to see your names in the members list of ICAI.

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