In my previous three Exam oriented articles I had discussed tips and tricks to handle Costing, Strategic Financial Management (SFM) and Audit subjects. Now it is time to discuss another technical and relatively tuff subject of CA Final i.e. Information System Control and Audit [ISCA]. Just like SFM subject ISCA is also a crucial subject and without proper preparation and conceptual knowledge, it would be difficult for you to clear ISCA. I personally feel that this article would be of some for November 2014 exams preparation.
Links for some useful Exam Article for November 2014 Exam
Please find below the links to handle Costing, Strategic Financial Management (SFM) and Audit subjects:
Also refer my articles for the tips and tricks to handle Audit and Costing paper, which is available at the link given below for your ready reference:
Revision in the Syllabus of ISCA from November 2014 Attempt
The syllabus of Paper 6 i.e. Information Systems Control and Audit of Final Course have been revised in terms of the decision of the Council taken at its 324th meeting held in March, 2013. It has been decided to hold the examinations of the aforesaid paper in accordance with the revised syllabus from November, 2014 onwards.
The Study Materials based on the Revised Syllabi of Paper 6 Information Systems Control and Audit and Paper 8: Indirect Tax Laws of Final Course are now available on the Knowledge Portal at the BoS page. The Revised Study Materials can be accessed at the link below:
In order to download ISCA Study Material, Practice Manual, Revision test papers, suggested answers, Mock Test papers, Question papers, kindly check the link below:
TIPS TO PREPARE:
1. Reference Book for ISCA: It is important to use right reference book for the subject from the very beginning. For Information System control and audit paper you may refer the reference book of Dinesh Madan along with ICAI Study Material. Jignesh Cheda or Manish Valecha also preferred by many students. However my personal choice would be Dinesh Madan along with ICAI Study Material.
2. ICAI Study Material is must: Here we need to understand that it’s just not the question of passing the subject. You can achieve that by mugging things up. Another option is to give it some time, so that you can relate the subject and how it will help you in your profession. To understand the subjects and thorough study refer ICAI Study Material. ICAI study material is a must for ISCA preparation. Honestly if you use ICAI study material, there would be no need to run behind suggested answers, practice manuals, etc.
3. Physiologically ISCA is not a boring subject: Many students find ISCA a very boring subject. It is high time for us to understand that this thinking is not going to help in exam. ISCA paper carries 100 marks and there is no escape route except to prepare ISCA. In any case you to learn ISCA by hook or by crook. It is better to prepare a strategy for ISCA rather than considering it as a boring subject. So remember ISCA is not a boring subject.
4. Just like SFM I would suggest you to start preparation of ISCA with comparatively small and easy topic. This will help you to develop interest in the topic as well as in the subject. Start with long topic will definitely stuck you as far as Interest factor is concerned. So instead of starting with heavy topic start with a lighter and very interesting topic. However first chapter of ISCA i.e. “Concepts of Governance and Management of Information Systems” is an exception because this is the base chapter with deals with Concepts of Management of Information Systems. It is an important topic as far as development of interest in ISCA is concerned.
5. New Syllabus of ISCA-what should be the right approach: It is a fact that for Nov’ 2014 and onwards ISCA syllabus has been changed by ICAI. Hence it is better to adopt a new approach regarding new syllabus of ISCA. I would suggest you to first give quick reading to the new syllabus of ISCA to understand the depth and figure out the efforts and time required for final preparation. You would appreciate that through this quick reading you would be able to figure out where extra efforts are required in ISCA subject and plan accordingly.
Make necessary notes or put suggestions or mark strategy for yourself on the study book during first reading. This task helps you to deal with ISCA subject later on during final preparation. Pre-condition for this first study is --- go ahead for quick study with a completely relax and chilled mind. Your main purpose behind this quick study is observation and formation of a plan to deal with ISCA.
During first study ride prepare a plan for final preparation. Later on use any good notes to prepare. Remember at this moment you have everything in your mind like what is important along with basic idea of the topic and chapter.
6. Conceptual Understanding is necessary: Just to understand and retain contents of ISCA chapters it is advisable to study with relaxed mind and try to focus on Conceptual study and understanding. Without Conceptual clarity it would be tuff for you to perform well in ISCA as you won’t be able to recall in exam hall. To ensure proper grip on ISCA chapters, it is important and necessary to select some important topics and prepare their notes. I would suggest you to use ICAI study material for making notes.
7. Use revision test papers, practice manuals: Since you are going to study ISCA with new syllabus this time so you can’t take any help from scanner. In this regard Revision Test Papers (RTPs) and Practice Manuals issued by ICAI for Nov 2014 would be very crucial for Nov 2014 attempt. So use them in the best possible way along with ICAI Study Material. Regular study and practice of ISCA will give you the good knowledge and understanding in ISCA and help you to maintain good writing speed during examination time.
8. Revision Strategy: Just like other papers of CA IPCC and Final, a good Revision strategy is very important and inevitable in a subject like ISCA. In case of poor revision, it would be difficult for you to recall ISCA concepts and important topics in exam hall. If you fail to revise properly, your ISCA paper would be a complete disaster. So beware about the same. Hence after completing all the chapters revise all of them one by one in the same order in which you have made first reading.
9. ATLAS STUDY METHOD: This method is developed and named by me and is extremely helpful for fetching good marks in paper like ISCA. ATLAS STANDS FOR “AT LAST”. There are always some questions and formulas which we used to forget in exam hall. According to this method if you find anything very difficult to remember then after preparing the same topic once or twice put it in the ATLAS. Keep putting difficult and important topics in ATLAS till exam date. There would be a different ATLAS for law, audit, accounts etc. Now 1.5 or 2 hour before leaving your home for examination hall open ATLAS question list and revise it properly or give it a special reading. Now if you find any question from ATLAS in the exam paper it would be very easy for you to answer immediately as you specially revise it just 2-3 hours back and your confidence level will automatically increase in the beginning of exam.
Keep review your ATLAS list and modify it accordingly. If initially you put any question in ATLAS and now you are confident enough about that particular question you can remove that question from ATLAS. Don’t put easy and non-important questions in ATLAS as this concept is for revising extra-ordinary important questions just 2-3 hours before examination. I hope this trick would be of some help.
10. Other notable points: Please take note of the below mentioned relevant point regarding preparation of Information System Control and Audit subject [ISCA]:
a. Lack of good writing and presentation skills in theory papers is one of the major drawbacks for most of the CA students. So it is better to work out on your writing and presentation skills to fetch extra marks for good writing and presentation.
b. It is really important to classify less relevant portion of your study. It is not possible to read 100% study material. So you have to learn to strike of the least important theory in study material. Give first reading to the topic and strike of the portion which you think is irrelevant for exam. This will help you to save time and energy.
c. Try and make an effort to complete your paper 100%. In other words attempt full paper of 100 marks to fetch some extra marks. Remember if you leave any question it would be impossible to get even 1 mark for that topic so it is better to write something for that topic.
d. Keep a query diary with you during study time and note your queries in this diary and resolve them same day or next day. Do not keep your query unresolved. Don’t forget to mention answer of your query in the query diary.
e. Prior understanding of Question paper pattern is very important. So before going to exam refer last attempt question paper to understand exam pattern properly. Further the presentation is very important in ISCA subject so you should avoid unnecessary cuttings and corrections.
The above mentioned views are my personal views about ISCA paper. Different students may have different views and study techniques for this paper so it is not intended to represent the mindset of large number of persons through this articles. You may always prepare your own strategy to deal with ISCA or any other subject at any stage. I sincerely believe that the suggestions mentioned above would be of some help in ISCA preparation. Remember ISCA is a different subject and with right approach you can fetch great marks in ISCA as it is a high scoring subject.
CS Ankur Garg