Useful tips for CA Students

Hey friends, as you know, I am a Chartered Accountant by profession and a blogger by passion. I became a CA on 13th September 2021 and this day will forever be etched in my mind, as one of my most treasured memories. I felt like writing an article that motivates CA students all over the country since I have recently completed two years of being a CA.

I passed all three levels in the first attempt and of course you know that, this is no easy task. During all three levels, my family was my biggest support. I could not thank my mom enough for keeping me motivated and standing by me no matter what. During my final exams she used to sit with me for a few hours till midnight just so that I get that moral support and can complete my study plan for the day.

I had my 6 months of study vacation during the COVID-19 lockdown, and it became even more challenging since all the coaching classes had to transition to the online mode of teaching. The lectures were being recorded and then made available to the students online. This took certain amount of time, which delayed our portion almost by a month. Moreover, we were unable to ask doubts during the lecture, we could only get it cleared on WhatsApp or over call which again amounted to wastage of time.

But despite all these hurdles, I managed to crack the Final exam in the first attempt.

CA Convocation in Mumbai, India

So, here I am to motivate my fellow colleagues and future CAs. There is no doubt that this is a tough exam, but after you clear this, even the sky is not the limit for you. After clearing my CA exam, I got the confidence, that if I put my mind to anything, I will be able to achieve it. Here are a few tips to help achieve your goal.

Contents

  1. Believe in Yourself
  2. Have a rough study plan
  3. Choose the right coaching
  4. Go through the syllabus
  5. Choose the right elective
  6. Be prepared to make sacrifices

1. Believe in Yourself

This goes without saying. Trust that you will be able to crack this exam. To be honest, my confidence level was low, regardless, I kept telling myself that I will be able to do it. Just imagine the worst-case scenario, you will not clear any of the groups, there is always a next time. This is what kept me motivated to keep studying. 

Accept that there will be good days and bad. To be honest, during my study routine, I had only a few days when I could complete studying all that I had planned for. Most of the times, I could complete only 60-70% of the plan, but that’s fine. We always tend to over schedule our studies for the next day which is a very normal and human thing to do. Secondly, I strongly believe in quality over quantity. Try and focus completely on what you are studying at that moment and try not to think about how much is left to complete.

Always plan the night before

Your parents are going to give you their full support, but you need to support yourself as well. Brush aside any doubts you have about yourself. I had written AIR 1 on a post-it and fixed it on the top right-hand corner of my laptop and on my desk. This motivated me a lot. You can also practice daily affirmations if that helps you. The important thing is, believe, that you will see yourself as a CA.

2. Have a rough study plan

So ideally, your study leave will begin 6 months before the final exam, 2-3 months before intermediate and 1.5 months before foundation. Take a diary and map out what these few months will look like. An essential tip here is not to overestimate yourself and make unrealistic plans. Also, as you may have heard before, keep a mix of theoretical and practical subjects throughout this period to avoid fatigue and boredom.

Make sure that as per your study plan you are completing your first revision atleast a month before the exams. In the last month, you should concentrate on revising difficult concepts and attending some mock tests. The last line I mentioned is the ideal situation, now let me tell you, my experience.

During my preparation for CA Inter, I started giving mock tests two months before the exam. Obviously, these tests were very tough, and it broke my confidence. I used to cry after every test always blaming myself for not having studied enough. My mother would try to cheer me up, but that was not enough for me. I made two mistakes here; one was, starting to write the tests without completing two revisions of the whole syllabus. Please remember, before starting to write any mock, revise the entire course at least twice. The questions asked in the mocks are not going to come in the exam, it is simply to boost your confidence and help in time management.

Focus on understanding concepts

Hence, focus on thorough revision and understanding of the concepts. Giving mock tests are secondary, don’t compromise on your preparation just for giving these sample tests. The second mistake I made was comparing my marks in these tests to the marks I used to get in school and junior college. CA Inter and Final exams are competitive in nature and their aim is to test your understanding of the concept, analytical mind, problem solving skills, etc. You are not going to score 90 out of 100 in these mocks, so don’t loose hope if you score below average in them. Note down your mistakes and revise the concepts you found tough, again. 

I had the above learnings while appearing for the Finals, but the mock exam journey was still not smooth. Of course, I had revised all chapters and I had the right expectations, but there just wasn’t enough time. Trust me, you all will face this during your CA Final study leave. We usually take our course lightly during the 1st and 2nd years of articleship and only start getting serious in our 3rd. Thus, we hardly have enough time left to give mocks.

My advice is, try finishing the first revision of atleast three papers before you go on study vacation. This will leave you enough time for giving mocks as well. Nevertheless, in case you are unable to find time for mocks don’t get disheartened. Try to give atleast one mock test for Accounts, Audit and Costing. I feel these papers are generally very lengthy and having a rough estimate of how much time you take, will make you more prepared for the D Day.

3. Choose the right coaching

I went for J.K. Shah Classes for all three levels and even for 12th Boards. My experience with J.K. Shah was very good in 12th, CPT and Inter; but not so nice for Finals. Covid-19 might be partly to blame for that. The recorded lectures were taking too long to get uploaded, and I needed to get my portion completed so that I have enough time for revision. That is why, I decided to purchase the lectures of individual professors who specialised in that subject. Let me tell you, my review.

For Direct Tax (DT) and Indirect Tax (IDT), I purchased the full portion lectures of CA Bhanwar Borana and CA Yashwant Mangal respectively. These two professors are hands down, the best in the industry for DT and IDT. I have absolutely no complains, I fell in love with these subjects all over again watching their lectures. Follow everything they say to the T, and you will be sorted with respect to the Tax subjects. To purchase their lectures, you can visit the below link:

BB Virtuals

https://ymconcepts.com

For Financial Reporting, I purchased the lectures of CA Bhavik Chokshi. He is a good professor but the notes that were given for all the chapters were kind of all over the place. Some are dictated, some are given in print format, some are along with the questions. I would have preferred a single place for all the theory concepts. But, other than that, I understood the concepts very well and would recommend his lectures. I would advise those who are not comfortable learning in English to choose another professor because Bhavik sir usually leans towards English in his lectures. CA Praveen Sharma is another renowned faculty in the market in case you are looking for an alternative. You can purchase Bhavik Sir’s lecture using the below link:

Benchmark Academy

For Law and Audit, I purchased the lectures of CA Abhishek Bansal. Bansal Sir’s notes and way of teaching was very helpful in case of Company Law, but, for other laws I found the lectures were a waste of time and self-study helped me. In case of Audit, I would not advise going for his lectures, and I heavily relied on Pragnesh Sir’s notes who taught me in J.K. Shah. He now runs a separate batch only for audit. He is a very good teacher and would recommend his lectures. You can purchase his lectures using the below link:

The Audit Academy

For Costing, I had taken CA Anuj Jalota’s lectures. His style of teaching was a little different and somehow did not sit well with me. Personally, Costing has been one of the subjects I have always struggled with. I have practiced a lot of questions and gone through a ton of material for case studies and the theory questions. To be honest, I am not so sure about whether you should purchase sir’s lectures, in my case it helped me moderately and I relied a lot on self-study.

In case of SFM (Strategic Financial Management), I took the fast-track batch from Professor Archana Khetan. I really loved her style of teaching. She goes right to the basics while explaining any question. I took her fast-track batch because the whole syllabus had already been covered once in J.K. Shah during my articleship. I highly recommend purchasing her full course, you won’t regret it.

You can purchase the lectures from the site of Khetan Education, using the below link:
https://www.khetaneducation.com

4. Go through the Syllabus

This is for those who are thinking of giving their CA Foundation anytime soon. I know that being a CA and having a great job, people treating you with respect, etc. sounds exciting; but it is a long and tough journey. Be sure that you are doing this course because you love studying subjects like Accounts, Law, Tax and Audit and you will like the jobs you will get after becoming a CA. You will earn well as a CA, but that should not be the only criteria of you choosing this course.

I decided to be a CA when I was in the 8th grade. It just happened. One day, I asked my bench partner what her father does ? She told me, he is a CA, so he counts money every day. I don’t know what it was, but it just made me want to be a CA. But I agree, this does not happen to everyone. So, when you do decide to pursue this course, I want you to go through the syllabus, talk to people who have already done it, ask them about their journey, about the work they do, etc.

It is going to take you atleast four years to complete this course and that cannot be spend doing something you don’t love. Try not to get influenced by what your parents are telling you to do, what your friends and colleagues are doing or what the society is telling you to do. The passion for CA must come from within, and that is when you will be successful.

The eternal confusion between Passion and Money

5. Choose the right elective

This part is for all those who are preparing for CA Final. Paper 6 in CA Final is an elective paper, the exam of which is conducted in an open book format. That does not mean this is easy, but it does take the load of memorizing off. You can choose from a total of 6 subjects which include:

Paper 6A: Risk Management
Paper 6B: Financial Service and Capital Markets
Paper 6C: International Taxation
Paper 6D: Economic Laws
Paper 6E: Global Financial Reporting Standards (GFRS)
Paper 6F: Multidisciplinary Case Study

I had taken Economic Laws and would advise everyone to do the same. This is because, the syllabus includes a bunch of 7 laws which are simple to understand and out of those 7, 3 laws are common with Paper 4. Moreover, one reading is enough to understand all the laws. There is no coaching required. Just make sure to make an index of all the important points with the page numbers of the textbook you are going to be referring to.

In my opinion, do not go for practical subjects like International Taxation, GFRS and Case study because that does not give you the advantage of this paper being an open book test. Many students are tempted to choose International Taxation because they like tax and there are some common topics in Paper 7. But this subject has a lot of intricacies involved, and you will be spending a lot of time in understanding the concepts.

One more little tip is, don’t choose the subject based on your interest or passion or because it would be useful to you in the future in your job. Focus on scoring the maximum marks as of now and choose your elective accordingly. You will have ample time to learn what you like and follow your passion after clearing the exam.

6. Be prepared to make sacrifices

I have lost count of the number of parties and functions I had to miss because I was studying. 

If you want to be successful, you will have to work hard and make sacrifices. I want you to be mentally prepared to say no to your friends and family when they invite you for parties or get-togethers. Don’t worry, it is going to be worth it.

Whenever you feel low about having to miss so many important events, just remember your end goal. 

This brings us to the end of this article.
I hope you have gained valuable insights through this article.
Being a CA myself, I would love to help you in any way I can, feel free to email me at [email protected]