How to clear CA – Final Paper 7: Direct Tax Laws

Exams are always around the corner for aspiring Chartered Accountants, aren’t they? That’s why I thought I would share this post, tell you what I learnt through my journey and maybe help you find a way through the awful month of May / November.

 

A little heads up before we begin – I became a Chartered Accountant after clearing the May 2016 exams so though I’m still fairly new and I know the most up-to-date system, this article is for the students who are attempting their examinations under the old scheme.  Also, I opted to self-study for this subject, which I think helped me a lot in being able to write this article.

 

So, without further ado, let’s get into the plan, shall we?

 

How to clear your Direct Tax Laws paper:

 

Let’s divide this into three parts so that it’s clear and I can cover everything without confusing you. The first part is the REFERENCE MATERIAL, the second part is the TIME MANAGEMENT and the third part is the PAPER PRESENTATION. I believe that it is the combined implementation of these three that helps a student write the exam successfully.

 

REFERENCE MATERIAL:

 

Logically, it makes sense to me that since the suggested answers / answer key is coming from the institute, naturally so should the material you study from. This is what I tell everyone who ever asks me for advice about clearing not only this subject, but any subject. However, for DTL, it is difficult to refer to the study material because of how complex it is. Please note that I am not going to depend the basis of my plan on whether you went for coaching or not. Regardless of that, here are my suggestions:

 

  • Guides (More details below)
  • Practice Manual
  • The most recent two 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) Guides: This is the book that is going to give you the complete understanding about the subject. You will need to read theory, practice sums and memorize case laws from this book. So choose wisely. Some famous options are Vinod Gupta and TN Manoharan. I opted for the latter, simply because I found the structure better in the sense that there was more clarity within the content bifurcation. Other than these two, there is a third book ‘RCC for CA Final Direct Taxes’ by CA Ravi Chhawchharia that is really picking up these days. So you can use any of these three for your attempt.

2) Practice Manual: For DTL, the PM is very useful because of how in-depth and detailed this subject is. This book will help you focus more on the important questions and chapters once you are done reading the guide above. Don’t think that studying just the practice manual will get you through for sure. This book is ONLY for revision.

3) Revision Test Papers: I would suggest getting at least two 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 examination kind of feeling, set the alarm 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.

TIME MANAGEMENT

It is easy to understand what you are supposed to study from but very difficult to plan how to cover everything in 3 months, especially when there are other subjects to cover as well. I’m going to help you do just that. But please note that this period of three months should not involve coaching for this subject but rather should be the plan after the initial coaching period. I’m only guiding the self study portion. DTL is one of the larger and more time consuming subjects. Here is how you can try your best to cover as much as possible:

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 subjects.  So, I am going to try and split it up for you into two parts. Major and Minor.

The ‘Major’ part under DTL covers ‘PGBP’, ‘Capital Gains’, ‘Assessment Procedures’, ‘Collection and Recovery of taxes’ and ‘Company Assessment’ while 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.

My strategy was to create short notes as I was studying each chapter. The way I did this was to read a certain page or two, create a table, flowchart or even write in words the important part and then use it later just before the examination. The key here is to condense 50 pages of a chapter to 5 pages of short notes. Alternatively, buy a highlighter and highlight the keywords within the book itself.

Try to do the ‘Major’ part at the time of the day where your brain is completely awake! For me it’s early morning. Find your peak time and try to finish as many pages / concepts as possible for every chapter. 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 Guide 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 this subject, then give yourself a target of 8 – 10 days only. It is easily achievable, so don’t worry. Take a grace day or two if required.

RTPs (2) and Mocks (4) – Together this will take a total of 4 – 5 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. There is no use to solving a mock paper or an RTP if you don’t take the time to correct your papers.

PRESENTATION

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) DTL has both practical and theoretical components to it. Underline the sub-headings in every answer.

2) Use bullet points and split lengthy answers into paragraphs as much as is possible

3) Definitions are very scoring but also tricky to answer if you don’t remember keywords. Present those well.

4) Provide appropriate conclusions, workings and calculations within your answer sheet.

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.

So, that’s all I have for you today.
Coming up next is my tips for INDIRECT TAXATION.
I hope you have a wonderful day.

How to clear CA – Final Paper 6: Information Systems and Control Audit

​Since it’s that time of the year again, that dreaded time that every CA student knows about, I thought I would share this post, tell you what I learnt through my journey and maybe help you find a way through the awful month of May / November.

 

A little heads up before we begin – I became a Chartered Accountant after clearing the May 2016 exams so I’m still fairly new and I know the most up-to-date system, so you don’t need to worry.  Also, I opted to self-study for this subject, which I think helped me a lot in being able to write this article.

 

So, without further ado, let’s get into the plan, shall we?

 

How to clear your ISCA paper:

 

Let’s divide this into three parts so that it’s clear and I can cover everything without confusing you. The first part is the REFERENCE MATERIAL, the second part is the TIME MANAGEMENT and the third part is the PAPER PRESENTATION. I believe that it is with the combined implementation of these three which helps a student write the exam successfully.

 

REFERENCE MATERIAL:

 

Logically, it makes sense to me that since the suggested answers / answer key is coming from the institute, naturally so should the material you study from. This is what I tell everyone who ever asks me for advice about clearing not only this subject, but any subject. Please note that I am not going to depend the basis of my plan on whether you went for coaching or not. Regardless of that, here are my suggestions:

 

  • Study Material
  • Practice Manual
  • The most recent two 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) Study Material: This book is your EVERYTHING for ISCA. Every word, every sentence, every sub-heading is very important in clearing this exam. There are eight chapters. Target one a day, learn them by heart, revise, memorize and just learn everything in the Study Material from page one till the end.

2) Practice Manual: For ISCA, the PM is more like a guide to check how much you were able to memorize from what you studied from the SM. Don’t think that studying just the practice manual will get you through for sure. This book is ONLY for revision.

3) Revision Test Papers: I would suggest getting at least two 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.

 

TIME MANAGEMENT

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 subjects.  So, I am going to try and split it up for you into two parts. Major and Minor.

The ‘Major’ part under ISCA covers ‘Ch 3 – Protection of IS’, ‘Ch 4 – BCP and DRM’ and ‘Ch 5 – Acquisition, Development and Implementation of IS’ while 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.

My strategy was to create flowcharts for all the eight chapters. Ideally, Chapter 1 and 8 are the easiest of them all. But the rest can be tricky. To get a bird’s eye view of every topic, we need to understand the sub-topics and concepts under them. What better way to do that than to create flowcharts? They are simple, attractive and make great substitutes for short notes.

Try to do the ‘Major’ part at the time of the day where your brain is completely awake! For me it’s early morning. Find your peak time and try to finish as many pages / concepts as possible for every chapter. 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 Study Material in 10 to 12 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 this subject, then give yourself a target of 5 – 8 days only. It is easily achievable because the portion is fairly minimal.

RTPs (2) and Mocks (4) – Together this will take a total of 3 – 4 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.

PRESENTATION

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) ISCA is 100% theoretical. It is dry and difficult to remember. Underline the sub-headings in every answer.

2) Use bullet points and split lengthy answers into paragraphs as much as is possible

3) Definitions are very scoring but also tricky to answer if you don’t remember keywords. Present those well.

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.

 

So, that’s all I have for you today.

 

Coming up next is my tips for DIRECT TAX LAWS.
I hope you have a wonderful day.

How to Clear CA – Final Paper 5: Advanced Management Accounting

​Since it’s that time of the year again, that dreaded time that every CA student knows about, I thought I would share this post, tell you what I learnt through my journey and maybe help you find a way through the awful month of May / November.

A little heads up before we begin – I became a Chartered Accountant after clearing the May 2016 exams so I’m still fairly new and I know the most up-to-date system, so you don’t need to worry.  Also, I opted to take coaching for this subject, which I think helped me a lot in being able to write this article.

 

So, without further ado, let’s get into the plan, shall we?

 

How to clear your Advanced Management Accounting paper:

 

Let’s divide this into three parts so that it’s clear and I can cover everything without confusing you. The first part is the REFERENCE MATERIAL, the second part is the TIME MANAGEMENT and the third part is the PAPER PRESENTATION. I believe that it is with the combined implementation of these three which helps a student write the exam successfully.

 

REFERENCE MATERIAL:

 

Logically, it makes sense to me that since the suggested answers / answer key is coming from the institute, naturally so should the material you study from. This is what I tell everyone who ever asks me for advice about clearing not only this subject, but any subject. Please note that I am not going to depend the basis of my plan on whether you went for coaching or not. Regardless of that, here are my suggestions:
  • Practice Manual
  • JB Gupta’s AMA and OR
  • Compiler
  • 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) AMA and OR by J.B. Gupta: I used this as a substitute for the study material. You don’t require it if you’ve taken coaching and have that book to refer from. Compared to the study material, this is definitely easier to read, it covers the entire portion, the theory is convenient to memorize and the sums cover  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 portion 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 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 correct steps and formulae.

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.

5)
 Compiler: This is the best book to follow to get as much practice as possible. Whatever you do or don’t do, make sure you have time to complete this. The trick is to treat it the way you would handle mocks and RTPs.

TIME MANAGEMENT

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 AMA and OR. Major and Minor.

The ‘Major’ part under AMA covers ‘CVP Analysis (Marginal Costing)’ and ‘Standard Costing’ while the ‘Major’ part under OR consists of ‘Transportation’, ‘Linear Programming’ and ‘Simulation’. 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 the Minor portion of AMA, chapters like ‘Transfer Pricing’ and ‘Developments in the business environment’ are all easy but important from examination point of view. Similarly, in OR, we need to focus on ‘PERT and CPM’.

My strategy was to leave Standard Costing in the ‘Major’ part of the AMA as it is far too time consuming for the marks it is allotted. However, if you are comfortable with it, by all means, go ahead.

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 JB Gupta 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 this subject, then give yourself a target of 8 – 10 days only. It is easily achievable because though the portion is vast, there are less types of concepts to worry about.

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.

PRESENTATION

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) AMA is completely a practical paper. It is a combination of concepts and formulae. To make it easier and more attractive for the person correcting your paper, underline the formulae in every solution.

2) Every lengthy solution should be presented structurally in a step-wise manner so as to be logical.

3) Direct theory is very scoring. This means definitions and straightforward answers. Try to answer any theoretical questions, if any, with clarity and in bullet points.

4) Use a scale and pencil to draw the formats and lines so that it adds a neat look to your exam paper. This specially applies to assignment and transportation sums from OR.

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.

 

So, that’s all I have for you today.

 

Coming up next is my tips for INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND CONTROL AUDIT.

 

I hope you have a wonderful day.

How to Clear CA – Final Paper 4: Corporate and Allied Laws

​Since it’s that time of the year again, that dreaded time that every CA student knows about, I thought I would share this post, tell you what I learnt through my journey and maybe help you find a way through the awful month of May / November.

 

A little heads up before we begin – I became a Chartered Accountant after clearing the May 2016 exams so I’m still fairly new and I know the most up-to-date system, so you don’t need to worry.  Also, I opted to self-study for this subject, which I think helped me a lot in being able to write this article.

 

So, without further ado, let’s get into the plan, shall we?

 

How to clear your CORPORATE AND ALLIED LAWS paper:

 

Let’s divide this into three parts so that it’s clear and I can cover everything without confusing you. The first part is the REFERENCE MATERIAL, the second part is the TIME MANAGEMENT and the third part is the PAPER PRESENTATION. I believe that it is with the combined implementation of these three which helps a student write the exam successfully.

 

REFERENCE MATERIAL:

 

Logically, it makes sense to me that since the suggested answers / answer key is coming from the institute, naturally so should the material you study from. This is what I tell everyone who ever asks me for advice about clearing not only this subject, but any subject. Please note that I am not going to depend the basis of my plan on whether you went for coaching or not. Regardless of that, here are my suggestions:
  • 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.

 

TIME MANAGEMENT

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.

 

PRESENTATION

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.

 

So, that’s all I have for you today.

 

Coming up next is my tips for ADVANCED MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTING.

 

I hope you have a wonderful day.

How to Clear CA – Final Paper 3: Advanced Auditing and Professional Ethics

​Since it’s that time of the year again, that dreaded time that every CA student knows about, I thought I would share this post, tell you what I learnt through my journey and maybe help you find a way through the awful month of May / November.
A little heads up before we begin – I became a Chartered Accountant after clearing the May 2016 exams so I’m still fairly new and I know the most up-to-date system, so you don’t need to worry.  Also, I opted to self-study for this subject, which I think helped me a lot in being able to write this article.
So, without further ado, let’s get into the plan, shall we?

 

How to clear your ADVANCED AUDITING AND PROFESSIONAL ETHICS paper:

 

Let’s divide this into three parts so that it’s clear and I can cover everything without confusing you. The first part is the REFERENCE MATERIAL, the second part is the TIME MANAGEMENT and the third part is the PAPER PRESENTATION. I believe that it is with the combined implementation of these three which helps a student write the exam successfully.

 

REFERENCE MATERIAL:

 

Logically, it makes sense to me that since the suggested answers / answer key is coming from the institute, naturally so should the material you study from. This is what I tell everyone who ever asks me for advice about clearing not only this subject, but any subject. Please note that I am not going to depend the basis of my plan on whether you went for coaching or not. Regardless of that, here are my suggestions:
  • Surbhi Bansal
  • 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) AA & PE by Surbhi Bansal: I used this as a substitute for the study material. It is definitely easier to read, it covers the entire portion, the bullet points and flowcharts are convenient to memorize and the questions following every chapter contain a major portion of past examination questions. All in all, this is a comprehensive material that boosts the ability of the student to memorize and understand chapters well.

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.

 

TIME MANAGEMENT

 

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 hours per day. Even if you do wake up between 5 – 6 AM and start, 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. Major and Minor.

 

The ‘Major’ part covers Standards and Professional Ethics. 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.

 

My strategy was to be thorough with the ‘Major’ part and choose to study only 60% of a chapter from the ‘Minor’ part. Another strategy of mine was to be extremely thorough with the standards and the direct theory portion of the paper (Q1 and Q7).

 

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 Surbhi Bansal in 18 to 20 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 Auditing, then give yourself a target of 6 – 10 days only. It is easily achievable because the portion isn’t very vast.

 

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.

 

PRESENTATION

 

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) Auditing is 100% theoretical. The answers are going to be long and boring. 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 three paragraphs. Let the first paragraph be your introduction. Answer the what and the why. The second paragraph should be your main support. Answer the how, the where and the when. Finally, conclude in one or two sentences with your final solution and a summary of the above.

 

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) Cite an audit standard in every answer you write. That will give a basis for your understanding.

 

5) When answering PE, follow the format in the practice manual. The first and last paragraphs should contain the part, schedule and clause numbers. The body of the answer should be the applicability and justification of each clause and / or part. Out of these 16 marks, achieving 8 marks is very easy with good practice.

 

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.
So, that’s all I have for you today.

 

Coming up next is my tips for CORPORATE AND ALLIED LAWS.

<br.

I hope you have a wonderful day.

How to Clear CA – Final Paper 2: Strategic Financial Management

Since it’s that time of the year again, that dreaded time that every CA student knows about, I thought I would share this post, tell you what I learnt through my journey and maybe help you find a way through the awful month of May / November.

A little heads up before we begin – I became a Chartered Accountant after clearing the May 2016 exams so I’m still fairly new and I know the most up-to-date system, so you don’t need to worry.  Also, I opted to take coaching for this subject, which I think helped me a lot in being able to write this article.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the plan, shall we?

How to clear your STRATEGIC FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT paper:

Let’s divide this into three parts so that it’s clear and I can cover everything without confusing you. The first part is the REFERENCE MATERIAL, the second part is the TIME MANAGEMENT and the third part is the PAPER PRESENTATION. I believe that it is with the combined implementation of these three which helps a student write the exam successfully.

REFERENCE MATERIAL:

Logically, it makes sense to me that since the suggested answers / answer key is coming from the institute, naturally so should the material you study from. This is what I tell everyone who ever asks me for advice about clearing not only this subject, but any subject. Please note that I am not going to depend the basis of my plan on whether you went for coaching or not. Regardless of that, here are my suggestions:

  • SFM by V. Pattabhi Ram
  • Practice Manual (Theory & Sums)
  • Study Material (Only Sums)
  • Compiler (From ICAI)
  • The most recent two RTPs
  • Last four 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. SFM by V. Pattabhi Ram: Another large book, I believe this is mostly useful especially for Forex and Portfolio. Every concept is explained extremely clearly and will definitely help make the chapters more understandable. I recommend this book especially for the purpose of self-study.

2) Practice Manual: This book is very useful for two major areas of the paper – Theory and Steps. The more you get a grip over these two, the better it will be for your attempt. The PM gives a good overall view about your Q7 of the exam paper. It also helps one understand how a sum should be solved, the formula to be used, the method to be followed and the way the final answer must be presented. Also, make sure to solve every sum from every chapter without taking a peep at the answers midway.

3) Study Material: Skip the theoretical portion and solve the sums from the Study Material in every chapter. Ideally this will not take very long if you make sure to breeze through after you are thorough with the entire portion.

4) Compiler:  I highly recommend this because it is better than any scanner you get in the market. If you are able to solve even 70% of the sums in the compiler, then you are in a very good position for the examination. Do buy this and use it during the last month to practice these sums and get an idea of how the examination will be.

5) Revision Test Papers: I would suggest getting at least two 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.

6) 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.

TIME MANAGEMENT

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 hours per day. Even if you do wake up between 5 – 6 AM and start, ten hours is easily achievable and a definite must if you want to cover all four subjects. Of course, SFM is not your only subject and I understand that. But it definitely requires more concentration than the other three papers simply because this paper is highly concept oriented and requires for you to focus on the understanding rather than just the formulae. So, I am going to try and split it up for you into two parts. Major and Minor.

The ‘Major’ part covers Portfolio, Forex and Derivatives. The ‘Minor’ part covers the rest of the chapters – Mutual Funds, Mergers, Leasing, Capital Budgeting, Dividends, Bond Valuation, etc. Please note that these are falling into the ‘Minor’ portion not because of lack of importance but because they are fairly less time consuming.

My strategy was to be extremely thorough with two out of three chapters from the ‘Major’ part – I chose portfolio and derivatives because they were easy when compared to Forex. Another reason for me to study only 60 – 80% of Forex was time constraint. Forex being a logical chapter, unless you are thorough with that portion of the subject, it gets difficult to understand a question and respond to it within the required time frame. If you wish to follow this method, then make sure to be perfect with the other chapters because otherwise this would be a terrible plan.

If you wish to study them all, that’s pretty alright as well. Try to do this ‘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 sums as possible for every chapter. For the ‘Minor’ part of the portion, make sure to solve one chapter a day or perhaps even two. It ideally shouldn’t take more than 2 hours 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 solving the Practice Manual and Study Material in 20 days – 1 month. 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 SFM, then give yourself a target of 8 – 12 days only. It is easily achievable because the portion isn’t very vast.

As for the compiler, your target should be a total of 4 – 5 days. Adjust the time between chapters if you must but don’t exceed this limit. Understand that if you get stuck and want to continue solving the same chapter for two or three days, you will not have the time to complete everything and will be putting yourself at risk.

RTPs (2) and Mocks (2) – Together this will take a total of 3 – 4 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.

PRESENTATION

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) SFM is formula based. This means you need to clearly write the complete formula, its derivations and then substitute it with the amounts as per the question. Make sure to use a scale and pencil to draw boxes around your formulae in case you have the time. Please do not think that it is going to ‘waste’ your time. It’s essential.

2) Support your answers with working notes. Show your workings and supporting information below each answer. Give reasons and show calculations elaborately.

3) Theory is very scoring. Try to answer any theoretical question with clarity and in bullet points. Remember that SFM theory is very similar to ISCA (Paper 6). That means you need to be able to put every point from the Practice Manual and try to limit the portion that you write in your own words.

4) Try to highlight the final answer either by making it bold, drawing a box around it or just underlining it so that the person who is correcting the paper is drawn to your conclusion. But only do this when you are sure of your answer.

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.

So, that’s all I have for you today.

Coming up next is my tips for ADVANCED AUDITING AND PROFESSIONAL ETHICS.

I hope you have a wonderful day.

How to Clear CA – Final Paper 1: Financial Reporting

Since it’s that time of the year again, that dreaded time that every CA student knows about, I thought I would share this post, tell you what I learnt through my journey and maybe help you find a way through the awful month of May / November.
A little heads up before we begin – I became a Chartered Accountant after clearing the May 2016 exams so I’m still fairly new and I know the most up-to-date system, so you don’t need to worry.  Also, I opted to self-study for this subject, which I think helped me a lot in being able to write this article.
So, without further ado, let’s get into the plan, shall we?

 

How to clear your FINANCIAL REPORTING paper:

 

Let’s divide this into three parts so that it’s clear and I can cover everything without confusing you. The first part is the REFERENCE MATERIAL, the second part is the TIME MANAGEMENT and the third part is the PAPER PRESENTATION. I believe that it is with the combined implementation of these three which helps a student write the exam successfully.

 

REFERENCE MATERIAL:

 

Logically, it makes sense to me that since the suggested answers / answer key is coming from the institute, naturally so should the material you study from. This is what I tell everyone who ever asks me for advice about clearing not only this subject, but any subject. Please note that I am not going to depend the basis of my plan on whether you went for coaching or not. Regardless of that, here are my suggestions:
  • MP Vijay Kumar
  • Practice Manual (Theory & Sums)
  • Study Material (Only Sums)
  • Compiler (From ICAI)
  • The most recent two RTPs
  • Last four 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) MP Vijay Kumar: Do not be terrified by its size. I know it’s scary but it doesn’t really take all that time to complete. For the large chapters like Amalgamation, Consolidation and Valuation you can solve one or two sums under each concept (The sums are sub-divided by concept) and that would give you an understanding of what you can expect from each chapter. Again, if you have the time, by all means, please do solve each and every sum from the book. It is highly beneficial.

2) Practice Manual: This book is very useful for two major areas of the paper – Theory and Standards. The more you get a grip over these two, the better it will be for your attempt. The PM gives a good overall view about your Q1 and Q7 of the exam paper. Also, make sure to solve every sum from every chapter without taking a peep at the answers midway.

3) Study Material: Skip the theoretical portion and solve the sums from the Study Material in every chapter. Ideally this will not take very long if you make sure to breeze through after you are thorough with the entire portion.

4) Compiler:  I highly recommend this because it is better than any scanner you get in the market. If you are able to solve even 70% of the sums in the compiler, then you are in a very good position for the examination. Do buy this and use it during the last month to practice these sums and get an idea of how the examination will be.

5) Revision Test Papers: I would suggest getting at least two 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.

6) 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.

TIME MANAGEMENT

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 hours per day. Even if you do wake up between 5 – 6 AM and start, ten hours is easily achievable and a definite must if you want to cover all four subjects. Of course, FR is not your only subject and I understand that. But it definitely requires more time than the other three papers simply because there are three chapters which are format based and extremely time consuming. So, I am going to try and split it up for you into two parts. Major and Minor.

The ‘Major’ part covers Amalgamation, Consolidation, Valuation and Standards. The ‘Minor’ part covers the rest of the chapters – Esops, EVA, VAS, Theory, etc.

My strategy was to skip one chapter from the ‘Major’ part – between Amalgamation and Consolidation. For me, the obvious choice was Consolidation. If you wish to follow this method, then make sure to be thorough with the other chapters because otherwise this would be a terrible plan.

If you wish to study them all, that’s pretty alright as well. Try to do this ‘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 at least one sum in each concept of every chapter. For the ‘Minor’ part of the portion, make sure to solve one chapter a day. It ideally shouldn’t take more than 2 – 3 hours 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 solving the Practice Manual and Study Material in 1 – 1.5 months. 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 hours per day only for FR, then give yourself a target of 15 – 20 days only.

As for the compiler, your target should be one full day per chapter for the ‘Major’ part and one full day for two chapters for the ‘Minor’ part. If you have started amalgamation and you feel like one day is not enough, but one day is too much for Valuation, then adjust between the two but otherwise, just do the most that you can in a single day and move on to the next chapter. Understand that if you get stuck and want to continue solving the same chapter for two or three days, you will not have the time to complete everything and will be putting yourself at risk. The compiler shouldn’t take you more than 6 – 8 days to complete.

RTPs (2) and Mocks (2) – Together this will take a total of 3 – 4 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.

PRESENTATION

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) FR is format based. This means you need to draw lines, boxes, tables and all that. Make sure to use a scale and pencil. This is mandatory. Please do not think that it is going to ‘waste’ your time. It’s essential.

2) Support your answers with working notes. Show your workings and supporting information below each answer. Give reasons and show calculations elaborately.

3) Theory is very scoring. Try to answer any theoretical question with clarity and in bullet points.

4) For any solution that doesn’t involve a balance sheet, try to highlight the final figure either by making it bold, drawing a box around it or just underlining it so that the person who is correcting the paper is drawn to your conclusion. But only do this when you are sure of your answer.

5) Any time you have a formula based question, write the general formula first and only then substitute it with figures.

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.

So, that’s all I have for you today.

Coming up next is my tips for STRATEGIC FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT.
I hope you have a wonderful day.