Tips to Secure the Best Results in CA Exams
"Self-study and personal motivation, coupled with family
and peer support, are critical to ace competitive exams".
By Mohit Gupta
Ever since I emerged as the All India Topper in the ICAI’s (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India) CA Final held in November 2017, there have been a lot of queries about how to score well in the exams. Others inquire about the ‘secret mantras’ that can help you become a topper in the exams.
At the very outset, let me clarify that there are no secret mantras or shortcuts to success. Doing well in the CA Final exam (or any other exam for that matter) is all about your hard work, diligence and dedication.
Is it possible to obtain a perfect score? Yes, it is. A perfect score can be achieved by hard work, sincerity and perseverance. For this, one needs to start preparations early and plan well. Once preparations begin, it is very important that one stays focussed. Students should devote their time and attention on getting conceptual clarity, as it is fundamental to success.
Cracking the CA exam requires dedication. An aspiring candidate would need at least three months of revision, if not more. This would involve understanding the subjects, taking practice sessions and effective time management. In the first month, a 10-hour per day study schedule would suffice. However, the candidate needs to devote at least 14 hours per day in the last month for revision. Even during my articleship at Price Waterhouse, I invested 3–4 hours each day on my studies, and I am happy to have received relevant support from the organisation. This allowed me ample time to strengthen my concepts and revise thoroughly. With such a study schedule, a candidate would be comfortably placed for the exam. Regular practice is also required to be able to effectively manage time and to gain confidence before the exam.
Aspirants also inquire about which books to refer to. To begin with, one should study the material provided by ICAI. For further reading, there are many authors whom one could bank upon. For instance, I read books written by CA Praveen Sharma for financial reporting, CA Surbhi Bansal for audit, CA Manish Bhandari for law, CA Aditya Jain for strategic financial management, CA Sanjay Aggarwal for advanced management accounting and CA Vinod Gupta for direct taxes.
Group study with my brother, who was also preparing for the same exam, worked best for me. We exchanged ideas and reached out to one another to understand concepts better. We motivated each other to perform better and to achieve our goals.
Aspirants could consider joining coaching classes to understand fundamentals better. Seminars also help in staying updated on industry best practices.
It is important to take care of one’s health during this period. I made sure I ate right and at the right time and maintained a healthy lifestyle with adequate exercise.
Family and Peer Support
The support I got from my family helped me sail through this high-pressure period. The success would not have been possible without the unstinted support of my family which helped me stay focussed.
My articleship at Price Waterhouse was also very helpful for my exams. I got the opportunity to learn the multiple aspects of auditing during the in-house classroom sessions and internal e-learns, along with industry exposure while working with clients. I worked with some of the best minds in the industry, and the coaching and training I received at Price Waterhouse helped me tremendously. The immediate feedback from our managers, emphasis on quality, access to technology-based audit tools, awareness of global best practices and access to knowledge repositories helped me groom myself into a confident, young professional.
Nine of us from Price Waterhouse were rank holders in the 2017 CA exam. The constant guidance provided by Price Waterhouse helped us article trainees understand the subjects/exam content better. It taught us how to think logically and that came in handy when responding to a few ‘surprise’ questions in the exam paper. Such exposure and experience in a friendly workplace complemented the rigour each of us put in.