- Munish Bhandari
- Practice Manual
- The most recent three RTPs
- Last four to six Mock Papers (Conducted by ICAI)
It is pretty straight-forward. All you have to do is study from these books. Now that you know what to refer to, let me briefly tell you how to sort it all out. This is the order in which I recommend you study.
1) Corporate and Allied Laws by Munish Bhandari: I used this as a substitute for the study material. It is definitely easier to read, it covers the entire portion, the theory is convenient to memorize and the questions in every chapter between two concepts contains a major portion of past examination questions. All in all, this is a comprehensive material that boosts the ability of the student to complete the chapters well ahead of time.
2) Practice Manual: This is a standard for every CA student. It is necessary to be thorough with the practice Manual, especially for theory subjects because, not only does it cover a major chunk of the portion, it also ensures that you present your answers the right way – with the right elaboration and references of standards
3) Revision Test Papers: I would suggest getting at least three RTPs and using these as exams to test how good you are at the subject. Naturally you will be solving this a week or two before the exams. But make sure that you put in equal effort in correcting your own answers and learning from your mistakes because otherwise this is a pointless exercise.
4) Mocks: I used to solve many mock papers when I studied. I never went to the institute to write them but downloaded them from the website, printed them out to get a real exam feeling, set the clock to three hours and write the papers as though they were my final exam. I suggest you to do the same. Before correcting your own paper, give a half an hour gap between writing and correction. Also, be stingy with marks. As stingy as possible. This will help you prepare for the worst.
It is easy to understand what you are supposed to study from but very difficult to plan how to cover everything in 3 months. I’m going to help you do just that. But please note that this period doesn’t involve coaching for this subject but rather should be the plan after the initial coaching period. I’m only guiding the self study portion.
Let us have an aim of studying for a minimum of 10 – 12 hours per day. Even if you do wake up between 5 – 6 AM and start studying, ten hours is easily achievable and a definite must if you want to cover all four subjects. So, I am going to try and split it up for you into two parts for each of Corporate and Allied Laws. Major and Minor.
The ‘Major’ part under Corporate Law covers ‘Meetings of Board and its Powers’, ‘Appointment and Qualification of Directors’ and ‘Winding-Up’ while the ‘Major’ part under Allied Laws consists of ‘SEBI’ and ‘SCRA’. The ‘Minor’ part covers the rest of the chapters. Please note that these are falling into the ‘Minor’ portion not because of lack of importance but because they are fairly less time consuming to study. In Corporate Law, chapters like ‘Dividend’, ‘Producer Companies’, ‘Oppression and Mismanagement’ are all easy but important from examination point of view. Similarly, in Allied laws, we need to focus on ‘Money Laundering’, ‘Interpretation of Statutes, Deeds and Documents’ and ‘Competition Act’.
My strategy was to be thorough with the ‘Major’ part of the Corporate Laws and get as much practice as possible for the ‘Major’ part of the Allied Laws because the latter is difficult to study completely.
Try to do the ‘Major’ part at the time of the day where you are the fastest. For me it’s early morning. Find your peak time and try to finish as many pages / concepts as possible for every chapter. For the ‘Minor’ part of the portion, make sure to complete 3 – 4 chapters a day. It ideally shouldn’t take more than 0.5 – 1 hour per chapter but you go at your own comfortable pace. Don’t leave a chapter midway. That will not ensure efficiency. Start a chapter only when you know you have the time to complete it.
Your target is to complete the Practice Manual and Munish Bhandari in 15 to 18 days. This is achievable even while studying for other subjects. But if you prefer to study only one subject at a time, and you want to allot 10 – 12 hours per day only for Law, then give yourself a target of 8 – 10 days only. It is easily achievable because though the portion is vast, the language is easy to understand.
RTPs (3) and Mocks (4) – Together this will take a total of 2 – 3 days. Ideally it is a last minute check on your performance to evaluate how ready you are and what chapters you will need to quickly brush up on. Again, correcting your paper is a must. I can’t reiterate enough how vital this is.
Now comes the most important part. This is one that most students neglect or don’t really take all that seriously. A lot of you believe that as long as the answers are correct and that your effort goes into the preparation, how your answer looks on the final paper doesn’t really matter. Here are some dos and don’ts you need to follow to be able to successfully complete your paper.
1) Law is 100% theoretical. The answers are going to be long. To make it easier and more attractive for the person correcting your paper, underline the keywords in every answer. Remember that this should be limited to a maximum of a word per sentence.
2) Every lengthy answer should be presented structurally in an introductory paragraph, bullet points covering the key sections of the answer, and a concluding paragraph.
3) Direct theory is very scoring. This means definitions and straightforward answers. Try to answer any theoretical question with clarity and in bullet points.
4) Try your best to cite a section number in every answer you write, even if that number is already present in the question. I understand that they are very difficult to memorize, but some chapters have repetitive numbers, which are most important. This will give a basis for your understanding and can impress the one correcting your paper.
5) When answering Allied Laws, ensure to cite acts and the years in which they were implemented. It isn’t that difficult to do and will definitely improve the quality of your answer.
6) For practical answers, think from two areas. The applicability of a section / rule and justification of each act / provision.
And finally, it is absolutely alright if you haven’t been able to clear in the first shot. I mentored a lot of students so far and one beautiful thing I’ve noticed is how they are able to put in more focus and effort by following these steps. Most of you only require a sense of direction and that is what I wanted to help provide. You know what hard work means, you know what Chartered Accountancy is about. All you are unsure of is how to approach it.
Change isn’t something that comes instantly. It’s a gradual process. But once you reach the top, there is no looking back. Give it time, be patient and just give the exams your best shot. I am not going to say ‘All the Best’. Instead, I am going to say, just do your best.