Strategy for CPT Preparation

Kumar (CA FINAL Student) (266 Points)

23 July 2009  

Hi Guys,

Hope you are preparing well for your CPT Exams.

Start early so that you don't have to regret later....

I passed my CPT this june, without coaching (I am working, and spend minimum 10 hours at my work) and without referring to any extra material other than Institute books and model papers (and believe me, Institute books and model papers are more than enough to help you get through the exam). I am basically from engineering background. I knew nothing of accounting when I started my preperation for CPT, which was not until the beginning of april.

As I took lot of help from this website (Thanks to the experts). I feel its time that I give back something useful.

I am pretty convinced that one general strategy don't work for all. Atleast It did not, for me. So, I made one for my own. I am trying help you guys with the same. Hope you find this helpful.

It was miserable when I started. I don't even know what is debt side and what is credit side and what do they represent for each account. It was like a clean slate. But, I had a clear objective - Pass CPT at any cost, no matter what. No second attempts. and now that I have my end result fixed. I worked out the way to get to it. I figured out my strengths. As I am from Engineering back ground, I found math was not so hard (Excluding that Statistics Part). and next best thing was economics. Not only, the syllabus has basic concepts covered, but also they are clearly explained. So It was not be hard to take care of it. And next best thing was Mercantile Laws. (It gave me some moral boost to see the book was thin compared to its siblings). And finally, its the mystery subject ( It's past now !), Accounting.

This is how I prioritized my choices. and I strated to explore what each subject has in store, for me and weigh my options against time I could give for each of the subjects.

It was in two parts - General Math (that you might have come across many times, If you were of science backgroud) and the other part Statistics. First I decided not to learn anything new as It is going to put lot of burden on my mind ( I need to learn first and then got to put it to practice so that I can remember it. Moveover I am not sure How well I am going to use them in my exams. Sorry, I don't want to make any mistakes as it costs me marks (negative marking ! - I need to save what ever I earn. Do not gamble please.))  as I have little time (Compared to what I had to learn before exams after sparing one month for revision). So, I just had a glance at the topics and the depth at which the subject was explored. I noted down them in the order of priority ( Don' t forget to consider the weightage that each topic has got in the main exam. Remember our objective - Pass CPT). Next, I have chosen only those topics from the new ones that carry some good weightage in the main exam.). Thats how I arrived at  the list of what I need to learn to clear this seciton. Make a note that You have to do give your best in every section. Thats your responsibility and You will feel confident. (If you don't touch a section completely or not well enough, You are going to endup with a feeling that you know nothing in that section, although you know something. And that ruins your whole setup. Don't let that happen to you.Not this time.Take no chances regarding this.) I worked out a schedule so that I could finish the known topics quickly and move to new ones, where I need more time - to learn as well as to practice.

Its very very important that you stick to your schedule, no matter what. If you fall behind, It will hamper your preperation for other subjects. All you have to spend is 2-3 hours in a day, but dedicated.

Warning ! - Mathematics is all about practice. Even if you remember all the formulas, Without practice you are going to make silly mistakes and consume lot of time in the exam. So practice problems as many as you can, well with in those topics selected above. Nothing more.

General Economics:
The subject was really interesting. I completed it in flat 14 hours. But, I could not remember much from initial pages by the time I reached last page. That was in the first go. In Economics, understanding the concepts is more important than any thing else. So, I revised it four times after that (This time It took me less than 10 hours for each run). There is lot that you need to understand in micro economics. I suggest you spend more time in this area. Because, they might shoot questions from any direction (such is the flexibility of microeconomics) and you can face them only if you understand the concepts. Don't worry you will catch up with macro economics (the second part) once you  run through it twice.

Mercantile Laws:
Mercantile Laws is a good subject. I liked it because it taught me many ways of suing people that I did not know previously. My advise is that you run through the book twice, quickly. You can get the stuff very quickly, as we would have come across the stuff in our daily lives, someway or the other. you won't be able to reach the core until you know the practical application of what the law says. And believe me, Putting these laws to use, is the easiest way to remember them. Practice is the mantra here. Go through the model papers and solve the questions under this section. Don't try to remember the cases blindly. Try to explore the reason behind every answer, like what are the circumstances? which rule is applicable and so on so forth. Don't try to get past through a quesiton, If you don't know the answer. In your first go, You may not be able to get most of them right. But, once you start solving more and explore more, I bet you can't believe your result. No wonder If you score 40 on 40. So practice guys. Don't just try to mug up the laws.

I started at absolute Zero. No Coaching. Well, Its quite a story. I donno what was coming next. I donno what was credit and what was debit - nothing. It took me few days to understand the accounting equation and finally work with it.(I youtubed it. Believe me It is worth every second to take a look at this link : ( )   - Accounting basics by Susan Crosson). Finally, I worked my way up. I spent more time right from the beginning. Scheudled more sessions for accounting. Took help of some friends where ever I could. Finally I could complete my syllabus on time. At the end I just knew the concepts. I was not able to keep up with the exercise problems, as they were taking lot of time. I just worked out few example problems to make sure that I remember some critical concepts and the ones that carry weightage. So, In order to prepare myself for the exam - I had to turn to model papers. When I started attempting questions... I could not get answers to few questions in the first go ( In my review round, I solved them just like that.... ). I refered to the textbook and reviewed the concept and started applying it. Along the way I touched few other topics as well.

If I had 10 hours to spend on my study. I spent 5 hours on accounting (Building strength in my weak areas) , 2 hours on math (Capitalizing on my strength), 1.5 each on economics and Mercantile Laws. ( Invested in Sweet spots). - Thats the strategy is all about. the figures may be different for everyone. But the basic rules are same. (Build, Capitalize, Invest).

Additional Points:
1. You would have got two volumes of model papers from the institute. One having 2007 model papers and the other having the previous ones, If I am correct. You have to note that In the exam you will be having enough time to solve the questions, If you know the concepts. Don't take a full length test right from the beginning. Try to solve 2007 model papers (because math questions are solved)  by looking at the answers immediately after solving the qustion, If your answer is wrong, spend maximum two minutes and try get it right. Its very important that you understand the reasoning. If you can't get the solution, even after that 2 minutes, mark it to solve in your review round. My point is don't get stuck...move on. If you get will loose interest eventually. So, keep moving. and when you are done solving all the quesions in 2007 model paper volume (Initial round and review round - two rounds), turn to the other volume. Here you take full length tests. set time and work out. On your way mark important questions, especially those involving logic and those where you are likely to commit a mistake and other question related to important topics. Review these questions during the last week of  your exams.

There are few other things on my mind. I will put them down in another discussion.

As of know, start framing your own strategy. Objective is common for everyone - only ways of reaching it are different. make a plan.

Please let me know If you feel I could help you. I will try to do my best.

Have a blast , Guys.