Ratan Deep Saxena (Asstt Manager (Accounts & Finance))   (2998 Points)

12 April 2010  

Tips and tricks to crack CA exams

Chartered Accountancy profession needs every student to have simple introduction to expert concepts and systematic approach in learning the subject by making the most of practical training and theoretical knowledge to successfully qualify in CPT/PCC/IPCC and Final Examinations. Each and every stage is immensely bringing the student closer and closer to the goal of becoming a Chartered Accountant (CA). The professional approach and qualitative effort of the student is the key to pass CA Professional Examinations without much strain or stress. Every student needs to plan right from CPT level by devoting his/her time and effort in meticulously scanning the exact needs of this highly reputedprofessional Course.

There are many advices and suggestions exchanged, but very few manage to get the reality behind becoming successful CA. Instead setting goals based on outcomes, passing percentages, starting packages, future demands or placement figures; Set goals which focus on the needs to pass examinations with a standing position and the rest will automatically follow.

THE PERFORMANCE of every professional student during the journey of 3 years of practical training and theoretical education is what counts. Even a rank holder in SSC, HSC or Graduation can easily taste failure if he doesn't perform when it actually requires for his life long future.

Herewith, we will discuss basic skills designed to help you improve your performance. A Perfect Guide that seem to produce good results, provided that, every subject that you study (be it a CPT/PCC/IPCC or Final stage) is GOING to be "Pleasure" for you.

With that note, let's begin!

      Step 1Get into reality

  • It is not enough to simply "think about" studying; you have to actually do it. Develop a schedule about the process of studying taking into account your office, article ship and coaching timings. Don't waste time in coaching class or office and engage in another college or classroom fun. Respect theprofessional field, and the same will do to you. If you don't have a schedule or plan for studying, then you will not have any way of allocating your valuable time when the unexpected comes up. Grab the study opportunities (lunch breaks, discussions with friends, web,professional communities, etc) that come across and strictly follow the schedule. Needless to say, allocate some time for pleasure and relaxation to have good balance.
  • Studying should be carried out only when you have proper breathing space, alert and sound environment for what you have planned.
  • Very few students avoid coaching classes and undergo self-study. For those who are going for coaching, be sure to daily read all the previous lecture notes before attending next lecture and point out what you don't understand. Don't shy or panic in asking any doubt during class while the information is still fresh.
  • Many students have come across some general remarks, namely, one need to sacrifice daily pleasures and routine life and concentrate only on CA, CA and just CA. Avoid family functions, birthdays, party's, etc. For those who follow them, they can easily skip reading entire article from hereon. For those, who completely disagree, they should start practicing studies and training without even sacrificing smallest deed, except it creates a real hurdle. Why should you quit enjoying life? The one living in exuberance with his vision clear definitely succeeds in the race of passing CA

Step 2 - The Process of Learning

    The learning you develop must let you learn completely without postponing or delaying further. Learn whenever you get free time by making it easier. Learning does not mean studying books only. Start developing expert attitude and take more difficult work and practical subjects. Engage in high level case studies, problems, office work along side CA preparations rather just keep on adding voluminous reference books without even understanding. Take the process of learning to highest possible. This will save a lot of time before exams and help you solve tricky exam problems that forms crucial part of CA papers, especially, Final level papers. Finals are not easy and examiners always have wild-cards set in every paper (1-2 out of 8-10 questions) that is enough for them to fail you on the grounds "lack of practical understanding" (often repeated as examiners comments) even though you manage straight forward questions. If you have a set logic that passing CA exams is just going through books than you need to wait 4-5 years more to actually hold thisprofessional degree.

Step 3 – Strategies

  •  Everybody has thinking skills, but few use them effectively. Effective thinking skills cannot be studied, but must be built up over a period of time. Good thinkers see possibilities where others see only dead-end. If you're not a good thinker, start now by developing habits that make you ask yourself questions as you read. Talk to otherstudents who you feel are good thinkers. Avoid discussions and exchanging opinions with people who simply talk negative about this profession or the Institute. Don't let negative rise above you, keep your focus on the right path rather wasting time with trash.
  • Get the best overall understanding of what you're going to study BEFORE you study every subject in detail. Try finding ways to make every subject easy and importantly, more practical driven. Take important and relevant from irrelevant. Capitalize on importance and understand why the rest is irrelevant? After you gain complete confidence and decrease fear about particular subject, START STUDYING.
  • Ask questions. Keep asking questions. Create questions. Throw Questions. Enjoy Questions and one day you will gain ability to DEFEAT (ANSWER) QUESTIONS. The important things to learn are usually answers to questions. Questions should lead to emphasis on the what, why, how, when, who and where of study content.
  •  Reading is NOT running your eyes over a syllabus. Quit the habit of reading with attitude of what is asked often or least. When you read, read completely.
  • Review what you have studied. The best time to review is when you have just finished studying something. Don't wait until just before an examination to begin the review process. 

        Step 4 – Making Notes

  • Writing accurate and concise notes is essential. Develop the habit of making notes of every subject as a mini scanner giving a gist of entire chapter. Learn to focus and concentrate on the main points of the chapter and note down. Create flow charts to link contents with every relevant point and comment unrelated. Understand them in your own words. Once you have done this, you have set the stage for successful reviewing and revising. Often,students avoid note-making as every thing is easily available in reference books. When you write exams, first thing that tickles after reading a question are POINTS. To make it flaash at the right time, you have to make a picture impression of your own hand-written notes. You have to make notes that reflect what you care and love to read and understand in order to make them permanent in your memory. Needless to say, making notes is important also because it makes you WRITE.

       Step 5 - Reading Reports, Balance Sheet, Financial Impacts, Case Studies, etc

  • As you progress, you need to develop the habit to understand figures, graphs, balance sheet, case studies, ratios and lots of technical aspects that set the position of true professional heights. These technical points are based on the rules of theory and years of practical advancements. You have to generate expertise to solve these aspects by quick look and importantly in the language the CA profession requires every student to develop. Good grammar and strongprofessional words are a must. Most students use "book mentioned" words to write papers. You will never impress the examiner if you lack the strong professional language, at least, if your aim is a rank. Learn to use professional words when you speak. Practice them by solving case studies and practical problems as it can point out serious flaws in your writing and help you become a better writer and speaker and make the examiner to give marks that you deserve.

        Step 6 – Writing the Chartered Accountancy Professional Examination

  • Objective Questions2 mark questions or minimum allotted questions are the most difficult and most easily secure to get full marks. Students often fall in the trap when they answer with the points that are expected to be answered by thousands of other candidates as well. As such, they don't get the juice. It's here where practical understanding and brilliant thinking does a miracle. If you still wondering what's the catch, you possibly are still "not serious" arriving till this point of article.
  • Always read directions! Indicate your answers exactly the way the examiners state. Don't try to sell knowledge. Make it look enlightening. Make sure your answers are clear and up to the point. Determine what the scoring marks are allotted for the question and follow them to your advantage. For example, if wrong answers dig the grave for failure, cover them with the mud that can reduce the probability. So, what comes to help? Good writing, better presentation and confident writing without cancellations and supporting working notes, etc. Get more helpful tips from CA's, teachers and read Institute suggestions.
  • Answering easy (to you) questions first is the best strategy. If you stumble over difficult questions for too long a time, you may not be able to complete the exam. Also, very important for every student to worry about are examiner moods. When you answer easy questions first, you ought to answer them in improper sequence which irritates many examiners especially professionals who prefer perfection. So, answer easy questions of "complete section" (say question no. 2, 3, 6 and 7 of Section One – Business Law) rather individually from each section (say question no. 2 of Income Tax, question no. 3 of Service Tax, question no. 2 of VAT) creating difficulty for examiner to complete checking the paper in time which might work against you.
  • Tricky and difficult questions usually contain one or more key words. A key word or group of words are those on which the clues of a question center. Learn to spot the key words in the statement that define the meaning. There is no other effective way to solve difficulties in life, except, you experience them. Once you practically experience difficult questions prior to exams, only than you can even attempt to answer them.
  • Planning your time in answering all questions is more important than in attempting them. The general rule is not to get carried away on one or two questions to the extent that you cannot answer those other questions in the time allowed. Read through the entire paper first. Get a feel for the questions you are expected to answer. If the exam allows you to choose from a number of questions, be sure to number your answers exactly to match the questions (Sadly, from November 2009 - All Questions are Compulsory – But, prepare thoroughly, that's what GOOD)
  • Answer the AS, AAS and case study questions very carefully. They should be answered in point form in top-to-down manner. Point the AS, AAS, Section, etc and explain in short and move directly to the scenario where it is applicable. Don't write a narrative about it. Answering these questions directly is always the best policy. Still, advice must be sought from teachers, CA's and Institute suggestions' for more expertise.
If you understand above mentioned steps and implement them right now, you will surely pass the professional examinations easily and without any fear or stress. There is no way you can fail and be failed. What you need is to develop a professional attitude, distance yourself from negative speakers and enjoy every moment of this extraordinary CA profession.