Strategy to attempt MCQ based question paper for CA Final/Inter exams

Venkat Raj 
on 01 April 2019


As students appearing in November 2019 exams (and onwards) are very well aware that the concept of partially objective based exams (70/30) is applicable for certain subjects at IPCC/inter and final (old/new). It implies that partially based objectives exams are applicable for both old and new.

As a student, I would like to share some of my views. The following are subjects for which this pattern applies:

Final (New)

  • Advanced Auditing and professional ethics
  • Corporate and economic law
  • Direct taxation and international taxation
  • Indirect tax laws

Final (Old)

  • Advanced Auditing and professional ethics
  • Corporate and allied law
  • Information systems control and audit
  • Direct tax laws
  • Indirect tax laws

Inter( new)

  • Corporate and other laws
  • Taxation
  • Auditing Assurance
  • Enterprise Information Systems and Strategic management.

Inter (Old)

  • Business law ethics and communication
  • Taxation
  • Auditing Assurance
  • Information technology and strategic management

From the above, the readers can understand that partially based objective is applicable for theory subjects (law/audit /Information system strategic management) and partially theory subject (taxation a dynamic, core, and amendment based subject). It will be in the nature of 1 or 2 marks. This is a 30 mark section for which there is no choice (internal/external).

However, the remaining 70 marks are subjective (as per present pattern). The pattern of subjective is described subsequently. There will be two different answer booklets for which there is one question paper. One is the OMR sheet (MCQ) and the other is the normal answer book for descriptive questions. Both answer books are to be submitted only at the end of exams to the observer.

The pattern of Question paper

For CA final

In CA final NEW/OLD scheme for the subjects which is partially objective is also applicable in

CA Inter New for

Paper 2 (corporate and other laws)

Paper 6 (Auditing Assurance) and

CA IPCC old for

Paper 2 (business law ethics and communication )

Paper 6 (Auditing Assurance)

the following is the pattern,

Section A is MCQ which is 30 marks compulsory. It will be one or two marks where there is no negative marking. (as OMR it is implied that no reasoning needed). The option is to be done in OMR (pencil). Section B is descriptive whereby answers are to be written in the main answer book (black pen ball).

The pattern here is either of the above

Question 1 is compulsory 14 marks and answers 4 out of the remaining 5 questions. (14*4=56)
Question 1 is compulsory 19 marks and answers 3 out of the remaining 4 questions (17*3=51)

Inside the questions there will be subdivisions.

Some papers at INTER/IPCC are unique which contain subdivision

The following describes the features.

For CA inter new scheme

Taxation

This paper has two sections.

Section A is Direct tax (60 marks ) section B is Indirect tax (40 marks). Candidates are aware that both are to be answered separately (till Nov 18).

Here the paper pattern is,

Section A direct tax is 18 marks MCQ (one/two marks) and 42 marks are subjective whereby Q1 is mandatory which carries 14 marks and any 2 questions are to be attempted out of remaining 3 (14*2=28).

Section B is Indirect tax which contains MCQ 12 marks (mandatory 1or 2 marks) and descriptive question are as follows. Question 1 is compulsory which carries 8 marks and answer 2 out of 3 questions. (10*2=20).

So candidates must submit 2 separate OMR (DT, IDT) sheets and 2 answer books (DT, IDT). Here as a matter of concern, I would address all candidates to be very careful and not make chaos. Start with either Section A (DT) or Section B (IDT) do 1st objective and then subjective. After completing a section go to another Section.

Enterprise Information system

Section A is the enterprise information system which carries 50 marks.15 marks are objective (one or two marks), Subjective is where Q1 is mandatory (5 marks ) and write 3 out of 4 (10*3=30).

Section B is strategic management which carries 50 marks. 15 marks are objective (one or two marks) Subjective is where Q1 is mandatory (5 marks ) and write 3 out of 4 (10*3=30. ).

So candidates must submit 2 separate OMR (Enterprise information systems, strategic management) sheets and 2 answer books (Enterprise information systems, strategic management) Start with either Section A (enterprise information system) or Section B (SM) do 1st objective and then subjective.

After completing a section go to another section

IPCC (old scheme)

Taxation

This paper has two sections.

Section A is Direct tax (50 marks) Section B is Indirect tax (50 marks).

Candidates are aware that both are to be answered separately (till Nov 18) here paper pattern is Section A direct tax is 15 marks MCQ (one/two marks) and 35 marks is subjective whereby Q1 is mandatory which carries 14 marks and any 3 questions is to be attempted out of remaining 4 (7*3=21).

Section B Indirect tax which contains MCQ 15 marks (mandatory 1or 2 marks) and descriptive question are as follows. Question 1 is compulsory which carries 8 marks and answer 3 out of 4 questions. (9*3=27). So candidates must submit 2 separate OMR (DT, IDT) sheets and 2 answer books (DT, IDT).

Start with either Section A (DT) or Section B (IDT), do 1st objective and then subjective. After completing a section go to another section.

Information technology and strategic management

Section A is Information technology which carries 50 marks. 15 marks are objective (one or two marks) Subjective is where Q1 is mandatory (5 marks ) and write 3 out of 4 (10*3=30).

Section B is strategic management which carries 50 marks. 15 marks are objective (one or two marks) Subjective is where Q1 is mandatory (5 marks ) and write 3 out of 4 (10*3=30. ). So candidates must submit 2 separate OMR (IT, SM) sheets and 2 answer books (IT, SM)

In these papers mentioned above, the following parameters are to be considered. As a matter of concern, I would address all candidates to be very careful and not make chaos. Please note that the art of managing time and answering questions with due care would hold the key to success.

Merits

1. No negative marking for wrong answers

Here it is advisable that where a student has a doubt regarding just 15% of MCQ and rest are very certain in such a situation it is very much desirable to attempt even few uncertain ones. Even if it is right as reasoning is not required marks will be obtained. This strategy can hold good only for a few little questions (max 3) and not the entire section at all.

2. This pattern of exam tests the knowledge, application, analytical skills. It brings out the true potential of the student. (testing MCQ and writing skills)

Challenges

• Cannot afford to skip any chapter at all. Because in MCQ questions out of 4 options minimum two options will be from other chapters other than a relevant chapter to which question pertains. Skipping any portion may end up in a situation whereby price has to be paid heavily.

• The exams combine the advantages of 100 marks subjective exams and of 100 marks objective exams. This system acts as a safeguard for passing a professional exam and maintain educational technical professional standards which are benchmarked internationally.

• Even in the long run neither at inter /Final it will be 100 marks objective whereby writing answers by way of OMR sheet/computer system. This although carries negative marking but does not shows writing skills by way of answering case-based questions, drafting questions, distinguish type questions, certain direct questions. By conducting 100 marks objective sometimes students without even knowing how to write can pass and it does not bring out the art of presentation, By conducting such exams if professional qualify in this way it may act as a threat to job market also profession as a whole.

• It tests the analytical, comprehensive technical and time management skills. With a sound knowledge on the entire syllabus by covering it in depth would be key to success in this pattern of examinations.

• CA students are very well aware that every attempt is unique. The real test is out here whereby after May 19 exams subsequent exams conducted the question papers can be really unique , peculiar from the previous attempt. In this context for example for November 19 exams, it will whereby (previous exams objective question can be made descriptive and vice-versa).

Time Management strategy

For partially based objective exam at IPCC/inter and FINAL (old/new) the time management holds the key to success. The reading time of 15 minutes plays a pivotal role. Desirable to reach the exam hall by 1.15pm and be ready by 1.30 pm and keep the mind calm, cool, composed.

15 minutes of reading time has to be used in a productive manner thereby planning the question to be left in choice in subjective portion and crux of every question has to be analyzed. The ideal strategy is to do MCQ within 40 minutes and spending 2 hrs 5 minutes for the subjective portion. By adopting a vice versa strategy can cost heavily in MCQ leading to careless mistakes. Ideally when the mind is fresh write MCQ initially in OMR sheet which should be finished by 40 minutes then doing subjective portion in main answer book by starting every answer in a fresh page and doing in a systematic manner. Last 15 minutes could be whereby revising the answers and answering Unknown/doubtful MCQS in OMR.

Doing subjective 1st and then doing MCQ in OMR can lead to careless mistakes in MCQ also lead to time wastage in the subjective portion. Doing some subjective and doing some MCQ can only lead to chaos, confusion, in end will have to pay the price heavily.

Sources of reference

Do ICAI sample questions (4 sets given), RTP, MTP. It is also desirable to take the aid of well standard reference book and practice MCQ. From NOV 19 onwards students would be able to get time to do Reference book(min 1000 MCQ) as well as inputs provided by ICAI. Above all optimum usage of a reference book in a productive manner would hold the key to success. Using one reference book is the key rather than using multiple reference books. While preparing from a reference book or doing ICAI source do at one stretch some 30-50 MCQ. On doing, mistakes are to be analyzed not merely by option but even do the same as if is a subjective question. By doing this exercise it wil help to crack MCQ faster, write subjective answers in a precise manner, also but not the least help to complete the syllabus in a comprehensive fashion which hold the key to success in CA exams.

Conclusion

For this pattern of examinations, it is the initial phase of implementation. With time to come more questions will come from ICAI, also more training can be imparted to students.

The board of studies has taken a very good decision in the interest of students by organizing a live webcast every month. If not able to attend can access the same from ICAI website. Queries can also be raised through the portal.

• In this context, I would like to describe the word success. The word success appears to be very simple to read, spell but it requires painstaking efforts which demands sacrifice, ambition, desire

• Remember past is experience, the present is an experiment, the future is an expectation. Use your experience in your experiment to fulfill your expectation.

• Hope the students utilize the extra time for exams in a productive manner and come out with flying colors.


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