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CA or Chartered Accountant is considered to be one of the toughest professional courses of the country and there is a very high and tough competition for the students.
Every year, the number of students pursuing chartered accountancy has been increasing. But the passing percentage of the students in this examination is quite low, thus making it tough to crack.
This examination consists of three levels namely, CPT (Common Proficiency Test) or Foundation, Intermediate and Final.
Each level has its own passing criteria. While the Foundation exam is objective and subjective both in nature, the Intermediate and Final exams are purely subjective in nature.
The syllabus for all the levels is also very vast.
Many students opt for the self-preparation while some go for coaching. Though the syllabus is quite extensive but with proper guidance, hard work, smart word and a little luck you can crack the examination in the first attempt. Having subject & conceptual knowledge will have you a value addition if you pass or not.
Though strategies for preparing for any examination are almost the same with some differences on the basis of syllabus and focus for subjects required.
so here we will discuss about some preparation tips for each level separately.
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How to Pass Common Proficiency Test (CPT) or CA Foundation
This is the first level of the course and it has four subjects of 100 marks each, two of which are objective in nature and the other two are subjective in nature.
In order to pass the examination one has to score at least 50% of the total marks i.e. 200 marks out of 400 marks. There is also negative marking of 0.25 marks for each wrong answer in the objective papers.
Some preparation tips for CPT to crack the examination in the first attempt itself with good marks are here:
100% syllabus must be covered by the students in any case.
Use calculator shortcuts for better time management and accuracy. Referring to log table and everything is too much time consuming. Calculator shortcuts are available online. After all, calculator is a CA student’s best friend. Learn to use a calculator properly; anyone can do basic functions of it. We take them to next level.
You are not required to mug up anything in anyway. Conceptual clarity is what is expected at the CPT level.
A lot of people randomly trick an answer based on intuition, but it should never be done as it never helps and it’s the most stupid thing to do when negative marking is there. It is better to leave the question un-attempted if you don’t know the answer as un-attempted answer will not attract any marks deduction.
Know your strong subjects because they will help you solve the problem of fulfilling the 50% aggregate criteria.
Only proper and sheer practice will help you and pay off for all your hard work and time investment. There are going to be times when you will be blank or stuck for a long time on a question. It’s a normal thing. It takes time for the thought process to develop. Keep improvising.
Study minutely all the details about every topic and questions you come across. You have to be clear on your stance.
Avoid double mind situations. Situation where both choices look correct, read the question again properly. And if that also doesn’t help, just skip the question.
Have a book of highlight that will help in the times of revision. Small pointers about the chapters or any particular hard sums. You can also prepare notes for yourself in your own handwriting while studying and it will help you in revisions.
Since CPT also has two papers having objective questions, Solve as many MCQs as possible. Speed and accuracy is the key.
Be strong in your basics. It is always recommended to start with CBSE XI and XII standard books because the syllabus is quite similar and will surely help you, not only for the examination, but also for understanding the concepts.
Sometimes, it’s prudent to just put the answer in the question and solve it. It takes a minute extra, but this ensures correct answer in most cases.
Improve your reading skills. Learn to read something critically. Analyze each and every word. A question may be framed in such a way; you’ll think there might be 2 or 3 answers. So read well.
You need to remember that you will have to get at least 30 percent on every subject in which you appear. You cannot afford to miss out this goal in any subject.
A lot of candidates appear for the CA CPT exam, but as a matter of fact, a lot of them do not clear it right at the first time.
The most important thing to clear CA CPT Exam is proper dedication and precision when you prepare for the exam. If you know just the theoretical part of the subject, you stand nowhere, as you must know the application and the time-management process also. You can also follow the above tips.
How to Pass CA-IPCC (Integrated Professional Competence Course)
IPCC or Intermediate is the second stage of the CA course after CPT examination. Every student of Chartered Accountancy wants to crack the IPCC exam in one attempt.
But, passing IPCC in the first attempt is not as difficult as it is formulated to be. Many of the ambitious minds clear it in the opening shot and even get ranks.
While others fail in the examination not because they haven’t studied good enough for the papers, but because the approach they have used was not correct.
People commit silly mistakes and those mistakes need to be avoided during IPCC exam preparation.
IPCC includes 8 subjects, all subjective in nature with 100 marks each. You have to score at least 50% in aggregate to clear the examination.
We have mentioned tips below, you can see one by one:
You should Study Daily- From the beginning, study at-least two hours daily, if you want success in IPCC exam and try to cover two subjects; first is theory & second is practical. To be successful, it is compulsory that you should study daily. In starting, you’ll get bored, but after some days it will become your habit and then you will study every day. Hence, the success will in your hand very soon.
Review Previous Study- Before you start studying, checkout or review the previous study and before going to sleep in the night, check out the next day schedule, what you want to do. Whereby make sure that your study direction is right. If you don’t do this, then during a study, you will get confused and forget the previous chapters slowly. Thus, it is very important to revise the previous study for long time memory.
Avoid the Virtual World- It is not necessary to leave the internet completely but you should use it only for your study purpose and not for social media and other things. According to an old saying, All things hold some bad property and some good property, everything depends on us, that what do we adopt and leave. If you have good properties then you can rise otherwise you will fall. Therefore, use internet for searching previous exam papers of IPCC and related things.
Study during Vacations- During vacations, you should study almost 15-16 hours. Don’t waste the golden time in villainous activities. The success mantra is that my rival is doing hard work then I will work hard and if my rival takes rest, even then I will do the workout. Always remember one thing, if you sacrifice today then tomorrow will be yours.
Keep Confidence in yourself- Always keep confidence in yourself and have a positive mental attitude. They are tonic, which helps to fight the IPCC exam, as the IPCC/CA exam is very tough exams. When you fighting the CA exam in the first attempt, you need to be confident in your preparation and your capability.
Set Small Target- According to an old saying, “Big journey starts with a small step”. This sentence says that don’t prepare for the IPCC in a month. From starting you should study in a right manner. Make your small target and complete them and understand the basic concept of the subjects. First of all, set a goal that 5 chapters will be completed in the first month and next 5 chapters in next month and then revise all.
Take a Short Rest- It is not good to read continuously as our mind also requires relaxation. And thus you should take rest in between your study timings. Take a rest in the form of a movie, outing and dinner with friend and family. If we continuous study and not take a break in between then, our mind’s capturing power will be destroyed slowly as said by the medical science.
Healthy Mind- This is important because everything becomes good when you are in good health. A healthy body leads to a positive mind. Probably, that’s the reason most people follow this.
Quality Matters not Quantity- Take your time to understand any subject thoroughly. One must have all their concepts cleared. Quality of study is more important. Though it is always best to cover the whole syllabus but it is also equally important to make your concepts clear about the topics that you complete.
Stop Thinking Too Much- Give your mind some time to relax. Instead of stressing on various issues and subjects you don’t like, try to figure out what is more important and list up your priorities in particular.
Schedule to Success- Make a time schedule according to you and follow it daily. By this, you can timely prepare for the IPCC in an easy way and fight the CA and IPCC exam. Daily wake up early in the morning around 4 o’clock then till 5 o’clock get ready to study as the morning time is a peaceful time, which helps to improve our memory.
Study material- You should never avoid the study material and practice manuals provided by the institute as it covers the exact course required to be studied for the examination and the level of the questions provided is also as per the examination pattern.
Focus on important topics- Give due concentration on recent amendments they have weightage of 10 to 15 and sometimes even 20 marks in the paper.
Practice- As always RTP is highly recommended to be done as it gives idea to practice. Don’t quote sections unless you are 100% sure about that. Practice as many questions as you can for the practical part. Also solve previous year papers as it will help you to understand the exam pattern.
Attitude- The first, as well as the basic factor towards Cracking CA exams in the first attempt, is a positive attitude. If you have trust in yourself then nobody can stop you from achieving your goal. Remember these golden words: “If you think you can then you can” So generate a confidence in yourself that you can pass CA exam in the first attempt.
Strategies- Follow a strategy of study. Remember, you cannot study accounts independent of company law. Income-tax cannot be studied independently of accounting. Thus, these subjects are inter-related. You have to study all the subjects for the examination.
So never keep the fear of failure and just keep a positive attitude. Remember: “Change your attitude and you change your world.” The CA course is really challenging hence the role of positive attitude cannot be over emphasized.
How to Pass CA-Final
After passing the IPCC examination you have to complete your 3 years articleship. Student will be eligible for the final exam after completing 2 and half years of the articleship.
The final exam includes 8 subjects of 100 marks each and all the subjective in nature. In order to clear the examination, a student must score minimum 50% of the aggregate. The subjects are divided in two groups of 4 subjects each.
Though it is a quite tough examination but with proper planning or strategy for preparation and mental equilibrium while preparing and giving exam will help you in cracking the examination easily.
Here are some tips that you can follow:
You will have to be really determined and also be ready to sacrifice a lot (just for 6 months). Understand that this-six months of hard work is necessary to pass now or you will have to study for another three months again.
Make Realistic plan and stick to it. And also be consistent. Don’t slack and take days off unnecessarily. Keep on putting regular efforts. Make small targets and achieve them.
Don’t work out trends and patterns. Don’t skip chapters or topics as much as possible. ICAI follows no trend and can/ do ask from the supposedly least important chapters. (You may skip chapters like standard costing or FTP in IDT, which carry less marks and much more efforts- at your own discretion and analysis).
Shortlist questions and theory and revise it again so that the whole course can be covered on exam day. Things you think can’t be revised on the D-Day, don’t waste time on that from the very beginning. Start preparing your summary from the very start. Make written notes, as they are extremely quick to revise. Use Study Material and Practice Manual of the institute, especially for SFM and costing subjects.
Focus on heading for ISCA word to word and skim through the explanation. Focus on SAs (Audit) and ASs (FR) as both of these standards cover majority of the marks.
Take articleship seriously. Clearing CA final in first attempt with dummy articleship will be a sheer waste of CA degree. Try your hands on all the kind of work your office offers. Audit and vouching work done during articleship will help you tremendously in your CA final Audit paper. Income tax related work will make DT much easier for you. VAT and service tax related work will clear at least 20-25% of your IDT syllabus. You just need to apply your learning at the time of your preparations and in exam.
One needs at least three months of leave before CA final exams. And your studying time must be at least 15 hours a day, if not more. Get a sleep of around 6 hours for the first two months, and cut it short to 5 hours for the last month. Study all night, as you won’t get distracted easily in night. This preparation leave time is going to test your mettle, and you have got to fully utilize this time. This is going to be the deciding factor.
Never study only one paper a day. It will cut down your productivity and will waste the precious time. Study at least 2-3 papers in a day. A combination of theory and practical paper will be the best. As soon as you realize that a particular paper or topic is taking over your head, switch it over with another chapter or another paper. But make sure you come back to that topic after a couple of days.
Refer Mock Test Papers (MTP), Revision Test Papers (RTP) and Past Papers of three attempts prior to yours. You can also join some online test series.
It’s very important to maintain calm during the examination. Don’t lose your calm after one tough paper. If the paper is tough, most likely it is for all the students and marking is done accordingly.
Don’t fret too much about presentation and answer writing skills. Just see the basic presentation pattern.
Don’t analyze after giving exam and jump right into preparing the next one. You are already short on time. Don’t waste any time analyzing and over thinking when there is nothing you can do about it.
At the end, the preparation tips for all the three levels is almost the same, difference are only about the syllabus and the time and strategy to be allotted to cover everything up together with concept clarity and understanding.
The CPT students need to focus more on Accounting as it is an important subject and scoring too. For the IPCC students the tough subjects are Taxation, Costing and Financial Management.
But with proper planning and giving focus on the important topics of these subjects, you will be able to get through it. SFM, ISCA and FR are considered to be the tough subjects in the finals syllabus and thus need to be worked on first and with more efforts.
Remember that you have to score the aggregate passing marks in all the above exams together with scoring passing marks in each subject separately, and then only you will be able to clear the examination.
Hard work and consistency are key factors for clearing any exam but you also need to have a positive attitude and confidence in yourself that you can do it.
Self-doubt can confuse you and thus disturb your preparations and also confidence while writing the paper. Have sound sleep, maintain good health and dedicate yourself completely for the preparation without any disturbances and it will give you the positive result that you dream of.