STRATEGY TO PREPARE FOR THE CA EXAMS
A lot has been said about the manner in which one can prepare for CA. The course material along with the examination pattern makes it one of the toughest exam in India to pass. But if approached systematically, a lot more productivity can be achieved with the same efforts.
Before coming to exact topic, I would like to tell you a little about myself. I am a average student like most of us, however was able to get through the CA IPCC exams in first attempt single sitting only. However, while doing so, I realized that there are certain small plans that we can make and that helps a lot in exams. We all are not gifted with the great brain, but whatever little we have , we have to use the same to analyze our strengths and weakness and then work in a manner to overcome that or at best bypass them. I adopted the same strategy in my preparations, let me elaborate on some of the methods:
a. This is one of the most initial requirements. Our plans for study should be made well in advance, and the same should be made at the earliest possible time i.e. from the time of the enrollment for the exams.
b. The plan should take in consideration all our weaknesses, the plan should never be very aggressive, and rather the same should be pretty conservative only. For instance, even for the subject that you are sure that you require less days, then also you should put enough buffer into that for some contingencies
c. No matter what, once the plan has been finalized, you should stick to the plan, you can better the same, and generate some additional time, but should never cross the timeline.
d. The planning can be done in following manner:
i. Macro Planning: Needs to be done on the overall basis on the subject level. Following can be the suggested milestones:
1. Course Coverage: Initial months should be allotted to cover the course, depending upon your preference and ability; one can cover many subjects at the same time or one subject at a time.
2. Revision 1: This should be done in 50% of the time taken cover the first Course coverage
3. Revision 2: This should be done in 50% of the time taken to do the first revision
ii. Micro Planning: This needs to be done for each subject. Analyze the scanner for each subject, and arrange the chapters in manner of their importance. When we say important, it means evaluating the effort to be made in each chapter vis a vis the benefit from the same. I use to divide the number of pages in that chapter with the marks expected from that chapter. This use to tell me the most efficient chapter i.e. the chapter in which I need to spend the minimum time but I will get the maximum marks. This also helps in covering the maximum course, at the last whatever chapters remain; they are the ones which if not covered, will not lead to major damage.
2. Revision: Revision is one of the most important aspects of the exam preparations. All of us has are not the same, thus have different memory retention capacity, however, majority of us requires to do revision of complete course on the examination night. Now this is a important thing, if you have not tried to do complete revision at least once, before in one day, you will struggle to cover the same on the examination night. Thus while making the overall examination plan, make sure you plan your learning curve in a manner, that the last revision before the start of the exams is done in a single day i.e. nothing more than 24 Hrs. Once you have done this kind of revision, you will gain whole lot of confidence that you actually are prepared for the exams, and this confidence will be based on actual fact, rather than some suitable assumptions.
3. Notes: Notes are very important from the revision point of view. Just remember, whatever you have studied during the entire year does not matter, if you are not able to revise the same. You need to know, what all the things that you need to revise, and this is where your notes will be handy. Not only is the fact that notes are important, but more important the familiarity with the notes. If you use, pre printed notes of someone else, then that will not be as fruitful, as your notes. Making your own notes for all the subjects will require lot of effort, but are we not talking about one of the toughest exams. There are many ways of preparing the notes:
a. Marking/Writing on the books: Just mark/underline the portion that you wish to revise; you can also add your own comments on the book. By doing so, you will be able to do revision of the entire book in no time. But if you are marking on the book itself, then give number to the pages on which you are doing so, this will help in making sure, that in subsequent revisions you do not miss anything, and will also let you know how many pages you actually needs to revise.
b. Making Notes: This is one of the most tedious and herculean task, but also the most rewarding and satisfactory one. Making your own, notes is like writing a book, in your style for yourself only. The revision of the notes in your handwriting is also faster than the marking on the book. The best part of doing this, is the reuse value of such notes, some of the audit notes that I made in CA Inter, were used in exact form and manner in CA final, or some notes of economics in class 12th were a lot helpful in CA Foundation. These notes also help you in your post qualification work.
4. Simulation: There are many things for which simulation can be done, some of them are :
a. Examination time: You should plan your study hours in a manner, such that, your brain is most active during that time of the day on which exam needs to be written. For Ex. If exam timing is from 10.30 AM in the morning, then in your daily schedule, you should start your study at around 7.30 AM, such that your mind is developed in a manner to give maximum output at the time of 10.30 AM. Nothing can be worse than not being able to attend the paper properly because of feeling sleepy, or because your mind is not at its best at the time of exam.
b. Writing: Practice whole lot of writing, this will not only help improve your writing speed but also develop stamina for writing. Many of must have experienced pain/stiffness in our hands at the time of writing exams, this is caused by lack of writing habit.
c. Dummy Papers: Just try to attend some of the test papers under examination conditions, if possible. I never practiced this, so will not be able to detail on the same.
5.Estimating Marks: Some of us have a habit of estimating the marks that they will get in the paper that they have just written. Never do this. The estimates so made are not helpful at all, since whatever be the result of your estimate, you will either carry excitement or sadness in your mind for the next paper. Both of this will harm your preparation, best approach is to just forget what has happened, whatever you had written in the exam was the best that you could have done in that situation, and once out of the examination hall, nothing can be done in relation to the same. However, the revision of the next paper is in your hand, so make sure that you do not screw the thing that is in your hand, for the thing that is not in your hand.
6. Weightage to Different subjects: Many of us have a tendency of focusing on some particular subject for more marks and less on others. This is a risky approach, although If it works, then you are through but in case it do not, then you may be screwed in no time. Give all your subjects the time that they deserve, because in this approach of fortifying one subject, in case you misfire in that particular subject, then you are doomed, and at the same time, even in case you are able to give your best shot in that subject, then also you may fail the exams because of the other subject, which you have not been given adequate time. However, in case you give requisite time to all subjects, then you can get passing marks in all of them and any one or all of them can give you the required aggregate.
7. Single Group Vs Both Group: Here again it is based on the individual preference, but attempting both group is better than single group, this is because of the following reason :
a. Hey why you want to prolong the ordeal, both groups will mean that you have successfully avoided six months of extended study.
b. Career : Initially whether you realize or not, but both groups in first attempt gives you a whole lot of mileage, and this gives a whole lot of edge to your career, and this advantage continues for long time. After six years of qualifying also, consultants still ask whether you have qualified in first attempt single sitting or not.
c. Money : Think about, being able to earn six months early
8.First attempt: Never undermine the importance of first attempt. First attempt comes only ones in life, and do not miss this opportunity. Your career will depend a lot on this; the ones with first attempts are mostly able to get the premium in job market.
The above points summarizes my experiences of studies in CA and a knowledge gained in CCI site.
I hope you may find some of them good enough to execute.