Mildwave

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Why can clearing CA exams be difficult??

“Days back, the memories freshly watered,
a thirst to convey, deep hunger to vent out,
the break, as if cool breeze blowing around,
taking along with, the experienced words;
now, weaved, stale though seemingly fresh.”

You have about two months after PUC before the exam to prepare. As you glance by the syllabus you feel most of it is dealt in PU, so its hardly a big deal. Moreover its a multiple choice questions! Just need 100 out of 200! The probability seems quite near to 1!

Why then, do you end up flunking?

MCQ yaar!:
Multiple choice questions aren’t as easy as they seem. You might feel; answer toh wahi pe hoga, bahut aasaan he! But once you see the options, everything seems correct unless you are absolutely sure. Further, every option would be related to the question, so an oversight might as well make you mark the wrong answer, and you thought you had got it right!

Writing off a subject:
Its a common practice for you to write off a subject as ‘chalega’. You ask a non-maths student how is he finding maths, his reply would be I am not reading maths, just about 25 marks, so wont be a problem. He fails to conceive the fact that he isn’t a master in the other subjects (accounts, law, economics and stat)

Negative marking:
I have answered 160 questions. I will surely pass. WRONG! You tend to over see the fact that there is a negative marking for every question you have bluffed! You lose a mark for every four wrong answers, which could as well be the reason for you ending up below 100, where you could have actually passed!

A few things to be noted so that, these can be avoided!

– Don’t underestimate MCQ’s. Get your basics strong, for that is what you will be tested on. Before you look at the options, think about the answer. Once you are sure about the answer, look for it in the options. If its present, done. If not, you know you are wrong.

– Never write off any subjects as irrelevant. Study as much as possible. You might be a non-maths student, or non-economics student. That’s not an excuse to write it off. Its any day better to get something by studying, instead of getting nothing, by not studying.

– Avoid as much bluffing as possible. You might feel chal yaar mila to ek mark milega, ek do galat hua toh kya farq padta he! Don’t be in such a state of mind. Failing costs you six months! Bluffing could as well be the reason for above 100 to fall below 100. Bluffing to a certain limit is allowed. Only to a certain limit.

– Tuition/coaching is not actually necessary, but that totally depends on the person in concern. Don’t go by others words. If you feel you cant understand studying by yourself, then you need coaching. Also by going for coaching you can be sure of completing the portion. How useful it is depends on how well you comprehend.

– Pile of reference books, notes, etc isn’t necessary. Follow a single book. Reading too much will only confuse you. Say, two books contradict each other, which do you believe?

– A few months of “dedicated” study is enough to get you through CPT.

CPT toh aasani se clear kiya par ye IPCC!!

Preparation v/s non-preparation:
What generally happens is that when a student clears CPT, he will be high on spirits, decides to write both groups. But then, the nine months spell works its magic on him, making him decide on one group, and in the end his preparation would be at such level of readiness that he ends up writing the exam for the sake of writing it. There are also those others, who write to see what they are up against. They fail to realize that every experiment of theirs would cost them six months. Being prepared and feeling tensed on seeing the paper is one thing, being unprepared and feeling tensed on seeing the paper is a whole different thing all together. For one thing they are unprepared. In addition to that the paper comes with expertise to make even the well prepared, sweat. When the actual exam comes, they would be facing double pressure, one, as a result of their previous experience, the second being, its no longer a practice paper! Hence its important that you decide well in advance how you will be going about with the study and stuff. Its always advisable to clear in the first attempt. In CA, failing is not at all an issue coz its very common, but failing can prove costly, if it adds to your fear of clearing.

Pre-conceived notions:
A student’s usual adaptation is that  questions usually appear the way they usually did, a pre-conceived notion based on the previous questions that this would be what I am up against. WRONG! CA exams are an exception to it. Never expect a question to be simple. Never expect a question to be like you have learnt it. Never expect a question to be like it appeared before. In fact never expect a question. Never expect a particular patter. Never expect anything…

Theoretical approach:
The other thing that usually students are used to is theoretical approach. Of course, that’s what happens else where but for CA exams! They are an exception to everything. It will be the most practical paper you can ever think of. Even a theory subject will seem practical after facing a CA exam. If you are still in the world of question and answers, then stop dreaming. Wake up! “The question paper setter’s thinking begins where yours stops.”

Time & efficiency:
The questions set would usually would be such that an average student would be able to complete answering the paper within the allotted time. Doesn’t work so with CA exams. The paper is usually set at such pace that even if you know everything you wont be able to solve them. The paper doesn’t provide for time to think. No time to understand the problem. You are expected to know everything. 100% efficiency would be insufficient to finish the paper. You can expect your fate. You challenge the paper, you will always end up losing. It wise to be smart in answering the paper.

History v/s relevance:
Its usual practice of students to write the whole story where the climax is asked. What is expected is, to-the-point answers. You write history, you only end up wasting time that you don’t have. The other dis advantage of writing lengthy answers is that in the process, you tend to miss out what is actually required to be mentioned. History doesn’t mean anything to the evaluator. He knows better than you. If he doesn’t find what he seeks, you don’t get what you want.

A few DO’s/DON’Ts:

– Its a professional exam:
As soon as you have decided to write IPCC, make it clear to yourself that this ain’t your semester paper, where you wake up on the day before your exam, and still come out with a distinction. Plan your course well ahead, keep enough space for uncertainties. You never know when something might crop up.  As far as possible, try to avoid writing for the sake of it.

– The paper will never fail to surprise you:
Again as said this ain’t your semester paper wherein you could as well have become the paper setter, for, you already know what you are up against. No matter what anybody says, never assume anything if its going to make things seem easy! Yeah, coz that’s never gonna happen.

– Practical approach:
Right from the beginning take a practical approach, theory subject is no exception! It will help to a very great extent.

– You are half dead before the exams begins:
Each day seems like ages, you wait for the exam to approach, nah! not so soon.. the anxiety and wait will half kill you. (Course, the exam does the rest of the job ;)) Get over it.

– Avoid discussing topics with people knowing more than you:
Discussing with others is not at all bad, no doubt, but not on the day of exam. What generally happens is, you go to somebody with a doubt, he, already knowing it, says its quite simple, its like this, this, this.. What then happens is he raises a question over and above your doubt. Lo! your went with one doubt, you return with two! You are already carrying enough burden, you don’t want more! Also its important to remember not to discuss about a paper after its done. “What’s done can’t be changed, but what’s to come can be done better.”

– Have your own way of dealing with things:
Just because somebody is doing something some way, it doesn’t mean you need to go the same way. Going the same way isn’t a problem. The problem is that it might as well not work for you! You have nobody else to blame but yourself.

– Pressure:
One thing that a CA student knows properly inside out is, what is pressure. Learn to handle pressure. The more cool you remain, the better for you. Seeing the paper you feel you know nothing, or maybe you just have 30mins to go and you have completed only two/three questions.. many such situations might arise, where in if you can’t keep your cool, you end up making a mess of everything. Not just that, it has an adverse effect on your confidence! The sooner you realize that the first paper is just the beginning, the better. For one paper, you cant afford to screw other papers. It will be very costly. More than time loss, what matters more is the confidence loss! ” What is past is lost, you can’t bring it back. What you can only do is let it haunt you.”

– One or two good reference material will suffice:
The more books you refer the more chances of messing up yourself. Its important to bear in mind that solving more numeric problems correctly will not necessarily mean superior conceptual knowledge. Its important that you concentrate on conceptual study. Problems are nothing more than applications. If you are not sure of what is what, you will never be able to solve problems. Its advisable to dig deep, rather than digging wide.

– Nine months of time is sufficient to study enough, to clear the papers easily, provided the study is done in accordance with the requirements.

Started with the thought of covering IPCC, but then thought inclusion of CPT too might be helpful.. anyway in the end its an opinion and doesn’t necessarily require your agreement. Hope it is of some help to those other aspirant CA students like me.

An extract from Sridhar Kamath’s comment mentioning some valid points that I missed out! (Mr. Kamath is a practising CA.)

-Time management: I’m one of those who wrote the old-fashioned CA Foundation paper. Have always thought the MCQ version is better than the traditional four-exams-over-four-days deadly combo(20% pass-out then v. 34% now says it all!). I think students seldom strategise. Writing model exams and effectively planning your time during the exam plays a key role. I know of students who started by attempting 50 Qs in the first 1.5 hrs only to end up marking 50 Qs in the last half-hour. You don’t plan your time well, you are bound to panic and get unnecessary negatives.

-Baggage: Another psychological point which you might have missed is baggage. Your reputation in the class-room, among your relatives, you sitting up to late nights and impressing your neighbours, your baggage of bagging 1st rank in the local BCom exams, always standing first in the class since you were in nursery –> all this goes to the trash-can in CA Exams.

What matters in the end is how good your basics are and how confident you are on exam days, both points you’ve beautifully brought out in your blog. Well written.

3 Responses to “Why can clearing CA exams be difficult??”

  1. Mukesh Kini says:

    Hello,

    Very very nice write up bro! I am very sure it will help a lot of students who prepare for CA!
    M very lucky to have taken up engineering.. this is my frank opinion.. cos i know i couldn’t take CA :)

    these days after the RECESSION EFFECT lots and lots of students are wanting to be a CA! Why? because cost is less! they don’t know what they face ahead! hope this write up helps them :)

    Cheers,
    Muki

  2. CA. Muralidhar Kini says:

    hi.
    i am too happy having completed my CA long back.on going through your note i felt a bit scared . . . guess why ?
    its because i just felt if icai asks me to write once again what do i do ???
    its informative and helpful…
    hope many read it , understand it and digest it…
    keep going..

  3. msridhark says:

    Nice write-up. Re. CPT, would like to add one point on time management. I’m one of those who wrote the old-fashioned CA Foundation paper. Have always thought the MCQ version is better than the traditional four-exams-over-four-days deadly combo(20% pass-out then v. 34% now says it all!). I think students seldom strategise. Writing model exams and effectively planning your time during the exam plays a key role. I know of students who started by attempting 50 Qs in the first 1.5 hrs only to end up marking 50 Qs in the last half-hour. You don’t plan your time well, you are bound to panic and get unnecessary negatives.

    Another psychological point which you might have missed is baggage. Your reputation in the class-room, among your relatives, you sitting up to late nights and impressing your neighbours, your baggage of bagging 1st rank in the local BCom exams, always standing first in the class since you were in nursery –> all this goes to the trash-can in CA Exams.

    What matters in the end is how good your basics are and how confident you are on exam days, both points you’ve beautifully brought out in your blog. Well written.

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