Skill Assessment Specifications by ICAI under Revised Scheme of Education
You may love numbers, delight in spreadsheets and hope to become a great CA one day. But to become a successful one, an aspiring CA needs to have multiple skill sets. You should have commercial awareness coupled with analytical skills. Ethics and professionalism are must haves. Also, a CA needs to be a team player and communicate effectively.
The CA exams at all three levels (Foundation, Intermediate and Final) hone and assess candidates based on their business knowledge, problem solving aptitude and analytical abilities. As far as soft skills are concerned, ICAI conducts courses on soft skills which form a mandatory part of the CA course.
When ICAI announced a shift in the prevailing CA syllabus last year, it created ripples of confusion and anticipation among students. A common notion which floated around was cracking CA will become more difficult from 2018 onwards. That’s not entirely true. With the change in the CA syllabus proposed by ICAI, the three CA exams have become more critical than before if not difficult.
The rearrangement in the CA syllabus was not made to increase the burden on students but to upgrade their knowledge and skill set so that they can keep up with the changing times.
So, what are the parameters that the new CA syllabus will test students on?
1. Knowledge and Comprehension: CA aspirants must have an innate understanding of how a business functions and earns profit, what problems a business faces and how one should resolve them. At all three levels of the CA course, students need to have a thorough conceptual understanding of the subjects. For example, papers such as ‘Business Correspondence and Reporting’ at the Foundation level and ‘Economics for Finance’ at the Intermediate level, both of which are more theoretically inclined, will test conceptual understanding of students. Questions set at this level require recognition and recall of concepts, principles and provisions.
2.Analysis and Application: For a CA aspirant, having theoretical knowledge is necessary but not enough. Students should be able to break down their knowledge through detailed analysis and apply it to real life (or at least on paper) to solve problems. The paper ‘Business Mathematics, Logical Reasoning and Statistics’ at the Foundation level tests students solely on this parameter. Papers such as ‘Principles and Practice of Accounting’ in the Foundation Course and ‘Accounting and Financial Management’ in the Intermediate Course will test your analytical skills and ability to apply concepts. Questions set at this level require applying and analysing concepts/provisions/theories/principles learnt through problem solving.
3. Evaluation and Synthesis: CA students are tested on this parameter only during the CA Final exam. Here, evaluation refers to a detailed analysis of integrated data to resolve problems or make business decisions. Synthesis refers to the process of integrating data by segregating relevant facts from irrelevant ones. Questions set at this level involve application of higher order skills of analysis and integration of two or more provisions/concepts to resolve complex problems and issues.
For a further detailed exam level-wise, chapter-wise skill set segmentation, click here
Skills measured by these three parameters tend to overlap. So, the skills measured under ‘Analysis and Application’ can be achieved by students only after they have cleared the ‘Knowledge and Comprehension’ level. Similarly, to develop ‘Evaluation and Synthesis’ skills, a student must first know how to analyse and apply their conceptual knowledge. To sum it up, the present CA format is designed to adequately assess the skills and abilities of aspirants at all levels. So, it’s time to strengthen your skills remembering what the Former President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam once said, “Climbing to the top demands strength, whether it is to the top of Mount Everest or to the top of your career.”