The Chartered Accountancy (CA) qualification is one of the most prestigious in our country. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is the governing body that conducts the CA exams.
Students who clear the final exam, held by the institute, are then absorbed by the industry as qualified chartered accountants (CA).
CA exams have been changing in some way or the other over the years. But a mixture of strategy, planning and implementation always helps in scoring well in this examination.
About the course
To pursue CA, one has to clear three exams namely CPT (entrance exam), IPCC (Intermediate exam) and the final CA exam.
Students can enter into CA Course through Foundation route or Direct entry route depending upon his/her qualification.
• Foundation Entry Route- Students who have just cleared their 12th or intermediate and/ or are pursuing their graduation can join the CA course through this route. For them CA course contains 3 levels which are a foundation, inter and final.
• Direct Entry Route- The students who have completed their graduation can opt for this method of entry to the course. CA course contains only 2 levels for them namely inter and final. Students have to complete 9 months of the articles to be eligible to give the IPCC exam under this entry route.
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After clearing the IPCC exam, a student has to serve as an intern under a practicing CA for a period of three years before being eligible to appear for the final exam.
And after clearing the Final examination, the students are accredited as CAs.
If you find it difficult to start the preparation for the examination then there are some tips to ignite your preparation and make you feel more confident and geared up for the examination:
1. Get Familiar with CA Exam Pattern
CPT will be of total 400 marks. The test is categorized into 2 sessions of two hours each with a break in between. It must be noted that CPT is an objective type test with negative marking of 0.25 marks and does not comprise of open-ended questions.
It is held twice a year in the months of June and December. You have to secure at least 50 % in aggregate and 40 % in each subject individually or obtain minimum 200 marks i.e. 50% of total Marks (400) for passing Foundation.
It contains four papers namely Principles and practice of Accounting, Business Laws and Business Correspondence and Reporting, Business Mathematics, Logical Reasoning and Statistics and Business Economics and Business and Commercial Knowledge.
Students can join Intermediate Course after passing Foundation Examination under the Foundation Entry Route. Students who joined the course under Direct Entry Route can appear in Intermediate Examination on completion of 9 months of Practical Training.
Students have to get at least 40% in each Subject & 50% in aggregate to pass the examination. It has total 8 subjects which are divided in two groups.
The subjects are named as- Accounting, Corporate and Other Laws, Cost and Management Accounting, Taxation, Advanced Accounting, Auditing and Assurance, Enterprise Information Systems and Strategic Management and Financial Management and Economics for Finance.
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Before registering for Final Course, s Students also have to successfully undergo Four Weeks Advanced Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft skills (AICITSS) during the last two years of practical training but before appearing in the Final Examination.
One can appear in the Final Examination on completion of 2½ years Articleship.
It has total 8 subjects which are divided into two groups named as Financial Reporting, Strategic Financial Management, Advanced Auditing and Professional Ethics, Corporate and Economic Laws, Strategic Cost Management and Performance Evaluation, Risk Management or Financial Services and Capital Markets or International Taxation or Economic Laws or Global Financial Reporting Standards or Multidisciplinary Case Study, Direct Tax Laws and International Taxation and Indirect Tax Laws.
Students have to achieve at least 40% in each Subject & Aggregate of 50% in order to pass the examination.
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2. Go through the Revised CA Syllabus
Though the syllabus of the examination is well known to the aspirants, they should know the revised syllabus to avoid ambiguity during the preparation as the syllabus and exam pattern has been updated time ago.
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3. Prepare a study plan
Proper planning is necessary for preparation for CA exams. Prepare your study timetable well in advance. First, divide total available time among the subjects.
Thereafter, allot time to each and every chapter of different subjects. Have provision for two-three margin days. Follow this timetable strictly. Variation of more than four-five days from your timetable can disturb your planning.
You can combine one theory and one practical subject to avoid monotony.
Only reading will not help you. You may have prepared very well but to put it in writing during the three hours of the exam is also very important.
You should try to write at least one or two papers of each subject before the exams. This exercise will improve your time management and presentation during the three hours of exams.
This exercise will bring to your notice that what kind of mistakes you make while writing under pressure.
You must cover the entire syllabus and no topic or chapter should remain untouched. Suppose, you find a chapter very difficult. Then don’t think to skip it entirely.
At least you should cover it to the extent you can understand. Always cover the Revision Test Papers (RTP) and Practice Manual issued by ICAI.
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5. Make Notes
Always develop the practice of preparing small notes while reading in your own handwriting. When you write something in your own handwriting and then you read it, you remember it for a longer time.
This practice will keep you attentive while studying theory subjects.
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It is imperative that you have good study resources. Tuitions and professional help add to your knowledge, but self-study is of utmost importance in this course.
A lot of practice is needed to do well in the exam. Select a reference book well in advance with the help of your teachers and seniors. And never change your reading material or reference books at the last moment before your exams.
Your mind will find it difficult to remember the different language and presentation than the earlier one at the last moment before your exams.
Try to expand your study time gradually in your comfortable time zone. Generally, for preparation of CA inter exams, average 10 to 14 hours of study time is advisable and for preparation of CA final exams, average 14 to 17 hours of study time is advisable to cover the entire syllabus properly with revisions.
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Revision is a very important part of achieving success in any exam. You remember only 20% of what you read after 24 hours, so multiple quick revisions are very necessary.
Do not forget to study compilations of ICAI. These are a compilation of previous year questions and are very helpful. More than 70% of the paper comes from compilations.
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A student is advised to practice mock tests at home as well as under a professional’s guidance. Mock exams help students manage exam pressure and time while writing the exam.
While going through the previous year papers, assess whether they are proficient, average or need improvement in each of the areas and the areas that fall in the third category should be focused on first followed by second and first.
Students should be careful not to repeat the mistakes made by them in either the mock tests or while practicing at home otherwise the whole purpose of taking mock tests would be lost.
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10. Take Breaks
When you feel bored or need some relaxation, have small conversations with your family members on general topics. Help your family members in doing small house-hold work.
Go for a walk for half an hour either in the morning or in the evening. All these will keep you relaxed and recharge your mind for further studies.
Take care of your health. Take sufficient and regular sleep.
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11. Avoid Diversions
Separate yourself from all types of social media and unnecessary phone calls.
You will have to stop all those activities which divert your time and focus from your study e.g. social gatherings, festival celebrations, movies, eating in restaurants, hang out with friends and anything which divert your time and focus. Remember friends, every minute counts.
12.Go for SWOT Analysis and Calculate the Weight
SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis is a method used to identify your internal and external factors.
Do this analysis to know about your positives and negatives during the preparation. But in any way, hard work alone will not be sufficient to crack the CA exam.
Aspirants should also know the weight of topics in each section to score strategically. And then focus on the important topics and make the most them in the given time.
12.Maintain Calm and Patience
There are many students who prepare diligently for the exam all the year round, get good ranks in weekly or monthly test series, have lots of confidence to crack the final exam but sometimes due to tiny mistakes they fail to clear the exam.
In the final exam, sometimes confidence level of students’ decreases, sometimes they feel that time was not sufficient and sometimes they just get confused even when they know everything.
Be yourself and believe on your hard work. Always remember that hard work never goes in vain. You must understand the value of continuous and smart studies.
Read books so that you will be motivated. Always remember that Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.
To be brief the combinations of Knowledge, Time and Self-confidence will help you to be calm and confident in your final exam. Practice it daily . This can be achieved only by everyday small and consistent efforts.
CA study is a journey which teaches you hard work, dedication for a goal, time management and improves your self-confidence.
Proper planning and strategy combined with hard work and patience will help you clear the CA exams which is considered as one of the most difficult exam as it has a wide syllabus and lower passing percentage.
But just follow all the tips and we hope that it will definitely help you.