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Study Plan and Tips for CA Students

Chartered Accountancy (CA) is among the well recognized and elite profession and those of you who have decided to undergone this course can feel at ease. It pays you well to take care of your family as well as gives you a good social standing and credibility. However, the exams that are to be undergone to become a chartered accountant are considered as a pain in neck by many (if you are reading this blog at the moment, then you are no exception to it). And, thus to help folks like you I'm going to share some tips and tricks, so that the examination that you consider as a pain will be butter in your neck which you can then swallow and be ready for the next big thing (CA final examination or the practical career challenges).

The Intermediate [Integrated Professional Competence course (IPCC)] and Final examinations of the Chartered Accountancy course going to be held on November 2015 are on their way with only fifteen days left on the calendar when they'll be at your doorstep to knock your door. So, without further ado I'd like to get straight to the point. 

Before venturing into anything, I advise people to remember mainly these two things (among others) viz:
  • Never sell yourself short.
           It basically mean never look down on yourself. Remember and believe this, "If others can do it, I too can." You can repeat the phrase daily morning to boost your enthusiasm and self-confidence, which are essential factors required during your examination period. 
  • Love what you do.
            Whatever you do, it should be done out of passion and love towards it. If you are unenthusiastic about anything, it is better you don't get started with it, unless you can re-program (make) yourself to like it. Repetition, self-realization, thinking about your goals will help you be focused on your studies and ultimately on your career.
With the above attitude, all you have to do is, draft a proper study plan and get started with studying honestly. I've heard many CA students/articles as well as teachers blabber about how tough the course is and how difficult it is to clear the examinations. The truth, however, is just the opposite. With a little hard work, organized study plan and dedication you can achieve your dream of becoming a chartered accountant. So, in case you feel that CA examinations are tough/difficult to clear then this article may not be able to help you much, unless you are ready to change the mindset. So, first of all accept that you're undergoing the charted accountancy course and, whether it is tough or not, you've got to clear it and so that you can move ahead to secure a successful career. Once you're able to convince yourself with the reality, Chartered Accountancy (CA) won't feel as tough as it is publicized. Afterwards, you're ready for the next step. 

Drafting a Proper Study Plan
There is no course out there which you can clear without any study at all. You need to do some level of study to understand the course structure, syllabus of the subjects therein and to have conceptual understanding of the topics contained there under. And, charted accountancy course is no exception to the rule. You'll have to be thorough with the syllabus (what topics are covered by your course) and have undergone some level of study with the help of the study materials and practice manuals provided by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the India (ICAI).
Study Plan for Chartered Accountancy Examination
Study Plan for CA Examinations

Hopefully, if you are appearing on the upcoming November examination, by now you would have already conquered your study materials and practice materials. However, you still feel that you don't know anything and don't know how to proceed further. This article will be a guidance for you to get a head start and prepare from the examination perspective so that you'll feel much relaxed and confidence during the time of your examination.

Following is the study plan which I recommend to many of my colleagues and fellow CA students who ask me queries such as "How did you clear your IPCC/Final at first attempt?" "Give me some tips to pass the CA examination on single attempt." "What so I do to pass CA IPCC/Final examination?"

Study Plan Just Before few weeks of Examination
  1. Be thorough with the Practice Manual. Those of you who are appearing for November 2015 examination, should have already done away with solving your practice manuals, as of time of reading this article. However, if you haven't done it yet, get started right away. Choose your favorite subject and start going through it. You need to have completed solving all of the practice manuals provided by the Institute at least once. Going through the practice manual twice to thrice will double your chances of secure goods marks and clear examination in a single attempt. If you feel that you're a little slow at grasping the content of the practice manual, go through it twice or thrice.

  2. Go through the Suggested Questions & Answers. Question paper of past examinations can be downloaded along with their suggested answers from the website of  the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
    I recommend that you download the past two attempts question papers and their suggested answers for all the subjects. Then, chose your favorite subject, be ready with pen, papers and calculator, put a clock on your desk with 3 hours timer and get started solving the question paper. I recommend you to sit in a place where no one can disturb you and where you feel comfortable. 

    Once the timer reaches the limit, stop yourself and do a self-assessment with the help of the suggested answers. You can also get your friend help you with the assessment. Please, consider the following things while doing the assessment.
    • How much time did you take to solve the paper? Time is one of the important factor during the examination. If you're unable to solve 100% of your question paper, then your chances of securing good marks diminishes. So, if you're unable to complete the paper within the time limit of three hours, start working on your writing skills. Try copying the suggested answers or write down whatever story your mind can cook and be careful not to hamper the legibility of your writing.  
    • How many correct answers were you able to get? Many a times, students feel that they have given a correct answer to a query, however, are unable to secure good marks in the exams. I've observed this scenario, despite the student being quite well at his/her studies. One common problem I noticed among my colleagues was their inability to comprehend (understand) the question. If you feel like you're lagging on that part, start working on your vocabulary as well as comprehension skills. Read some English novels, Newspaper, blogs, etc. with a dictionary beside you as the text/language structure used in these are a little more sophistical than what we regularly used on our normal conversation. Further, re-solving a problem time and again by critically analyzing the question will also help you with the comprehension skills. 
    • How is your presentation? In CA examinations presentation of your answers is one important factor that is looked into while marking. Question Number should be clearly marked and corresponding answer is to be indicated. Further, workings and notes are to done at the bottom or next page with proper reference in the main answer. Be careful about side margins too.
    Repeat the process once again after the assessment. Try to ensure that you don't repeat the errors/mistakes done earlier. Self discipline is the key here. The best you try to mimic the examination environment, the more helpful it'll be in the real examination hall.
  3. Solve the Revision Test Paper (RTP). Board of Studies (BoS), ICAI's independent body dealing with course related study materials, support materials and other addendum, publishes a booklet called Revision Test Paper (which is also available for download, for free, from BoS Knowledge Portal online) which contain a comprehensive question from each chapters of a subject that will test the key concepts and understandings of the topic. The questions will be similar to those that can be asked in the examination from the related chapter. If you are able to solve the query in RTP without much sweat, then, it's likely you'll solve similar query from that chapter in the real examination as well and secure good marks. 

    Further, going by the history, there's a chance that at least one or two questions of each RTP material will be asked in the examination of that subject as well. So, you are advised to be thorough with the questions published in the revision test paper. The answers are provided therein to help you do a self-assessment-- just like the one you did with the suggested answers.

    If you are unable to solve any query within the RTP, first go through the relevant provisions/concepts from study material and then attempt to solve it once again. Then only refer the suggested answers (given at the end of RTP) to assess yourself. Repeat the process with the previous attempt RTP as well.
That's all. By the time you finish going through the suggested answers and revision test papers, you'll hardly be left with a  day before your examination. But, you can still relax and sleep soundly since, you've already put in the effort required to successfully clear/pass the examination. On the day of examination, you can just review your notes (if any) or go through the concepts of the topics that you find easy or just relax and refresh your mind with some good music. Have a good lunch/breakfast, be calm and relaxed and go to take your exams. 

Do's & Don't for Chartered Accountancy (CA) Examination
Following are few points that you need to take care just before and during the examination. 
  • Ensure you've gone through the RTPs and suggested answers. Writing the answers down on a paper is much more effective than just going through them. 
  • Be calm and relaxed. Make yourself as comfortable as possible. Believe that you can do it and keep believing it till it becomes a fact. 
  • Be sure to have a good breakfast/lunch and drink water regularly. This will help you keep healthy during your examination time.
  • Reach the examination hall a little early and get to know the environment. You can even visit the examination center beforehand. People feel relaxed and tend to perform better at the place they know then at a totally strange place. 
  • As soon as you receive the question paper, read each question carefully and thoroughly. Mark the question that you feel easier than the others and get started with those questions first. 
  • While writing write in clear legible writings and be careful about the side margins. Further try to start a new question on a fresh sheet. It looks more appealing and structured and is easy for the examiner to assess you. 
  • Don't beat around the bush. Those cheery colleges days are over, where you could fill in pages and score marks. Try to write to the Point answers. Generally, start with relevant provisions of the act/topics, try to blend (fit in) the query within the provisions and give a short and sweet conclusions. 
  • Try to not to use abbreviations within your answers. Abbreviations for words/phrase that are widely used and understood can be used if you are in a hurry.
  • Take a time to review your answers (along with the  related questions) once you've completed solving 100% of the queries. My colleagues used to leave the examination hall as soon as they finish writing the answers. And, they talk about their friends who do the same. 
    Please take the extra time to review your answers, if you are not satisfied with the answer you wrote originally, then depending upon the time left, you can revise the same accordingly by clearing marking that as wrong answer and indicating that fresh answer is given at the end of the answer sheet. 
That's all folks. Start studying from today and be relaxed during the examination days. What kind of study plan do you follow? Feel free to add some other tips that you think might be useful for others as well in the comments section below. 

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  1. Keep it up Yagya Very Nice

    By:Vivek Pattaje

    1. Thank You Bro! Yes, will definitely be keeping it up :)


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