Currently, football world cup 2014 is going on so let me start my article by giving you a simple example. If a football player just watches the football matches of his past performance and performances of the best players in the world, will he be able to perform during the actual matches? I don’t think anyone reading this will think of ‘Yes’ as the answer. It will be simple two letter word ‘NO’.
I have observed many CA students in the past who expected the answer of the above question to be ‘Yes’. Not literally for football matches but will tell you how.
They used to read the questions and answers of the practical subjects, may be more than two-three times. They used to think that if we are taught something in classes/tuition’s and if we read the same twice or thrice, that will be sufficient for passing the CA exams. But friends, it’s not the truth, and the bitter truth is that this method doesn’t work. The fact is that I have seen many students fail miserably because of this habit. I don’t want you to make the same mistake(s) in your career and exams, so am writing this article for benefit of the student community.
It is indeed very simple technique for dealing with practical subjects, but not following this simple technique may cost you dearly. So, please follow this technique if you are logically convinced to apply the same. If you still don’t understand please contact on my email id.
Continuing with the football game example, I would like to make it very clear at the beginning that a practical subject needs quite a lot amount of practice to master it, especially for CA final exams you should be aware about how much expertise institute expects from CA final students. I know many of you will say that it takes time to practice sums/practical problems. But, I suggest and recommend that it’s better to practice 10 problems on your own rather than reading 50 questions and answers from solution book.
What is required is practice, practice and practice. I will tell you something which will convince you that what is being explained here is true.
I have heard someone say laughingly that “Even if we are taught 100 practical problems in classes, what we face in exam is 101st problem.” What I want to convey is that, what you do in those three hours exam is to face and solve new problems by using your existing knowledge and experience. Now, what you can do about it? How you will make sure that you are able to face this situation of attempting and answering unknown problems.
(Now, that’s exactly what is going on in the football match. This is the real match – facing new problem and solving it) Why am I trying to correlate the football game and your exams? Because it’s your practical game and not something that you can mug up and vomit in papers.
I want to simply convey that you need to practice what you are actually going to do in exam hall. The steps mentioned in this article are steps I used to follow for my exam preparation. And believe me friends, till today nobody has ever told me a better method of learning and I am sure the method is going to help all of you immensely. These are simple formulae for success in practical papers.
Step 1: Read theory properly before practical problems: Before starting with any practical problems, read the theory of the chapter thoroughly and don’t move on to practical problems unless you are very sure that you understood the theory well. Please note that theory comes as a savior in practical papers because it takes far less time to attend and write answers of theory questions as compared to solving practical problems of the same weightage in marks. Learning theory very well helps in attempting difficult and unknown questions.
Step 2: Formulae, formats, journal entries: From reference books or classes books, go through the basic formulae and formats that are given. If the chapter involves journal entries for different situations, then learn those journal entries and make mental notes of what are the practical aspects involved in the same like how you will do working and how the respective ledger accounts will be prepared, etc.
Step 3: Learning practical problems: Start understanding the simple problems by reading and noting how various calculations are made and try to figure out how the solution is arrived. Two or three problems can be tacked in this manner to acquaint you with the practical part. If you have already attended classes for the chapter, you can skip this step and directly move on to step 4 or 5.
Step 4: Practicing by yourself without referring to answers: Assuming that a reference books have simple problems in the beginning and tougher ones as you move ahead in the chapter, you will need to start solving the problems yourself from the 4th or 5th problem of the book in that particular chapter.
Note on tackling with the frustration: At first problem that you will tackle yourself, chances are that you will fail miserably; you may not even come to know how to start solution of this problem. Don’t worry; this happens with everyone who tries to do something on their own. But keep doing it. This is the stage where you brain will try to do everything to look for simple solution for preparation of exams. The inner chatter will tell you to read the sums and go ahead. But keep note that it’s a football game and unless you practice, you are not going to win the World Cup (yes, for a CA student it’s more than India winning a World Cup).
Step 5: Facing the battles and keep progressing: This is the time when you need to challenge yourself for becoming better each time. Each time you take a new problem, create an exam type situation, and try to apply all your existing knowledge to solve the problem at hand. The process will make you better each time you try to apply your brain to solve the problem (puzzle). I used to take them as a kind of puzzle or challenge and tried to become better with each such practice.
It’s better to face frustration in your reading leaves: Am not going to scare you but should tell you at this very moment that rather than facing this frustration in exam hall, face it while you have got the time to experiment. Sometimes you will be successful and sometimes you won’t be able to solve the problems, but rest assured that the efforts won’t go waste because the brain is already becoming smarter in this process and you will surely be benefited while facing actual situation where there will be new problems in front of you and you will be able to answer it with ease.
Step 6: Mastering the solutions: When you become confident about solving problems on your own, you can shift to another chapter. For getting the confidence, you need to check in the reference book or practice manual about lengthy problems. You should try those big and bulky questions also on you own because they are the real test of your abilities, all others were league matches and practice matches. These big lengthy problems are like semi-final and final matches. If you can do it to the extent of 80% accuracy, then nobody can stop you from getting good marks in that particular chapter. It’s worth spending time on attempting those questions even if it takes one hour for one question.
Logic behind the method and scientific explanation:
First, Plan your days. Keep two days before exams for the first paper
Second, You are left with another twelve days. Divide the twelve days into two parts which gives you 24 parts.
Third, You will need to divide the parts for each subjects. Suppose other six subjects will get 4 parts each. (4 half days each)
Fourth, in each half day, you need to revise 1/4th portion of a subject. It means if your 1/4th portion contains 4 chapters, that means you need to finish revision of one chapter in 1.25 hours. (Assuming that you will study for 10 hours a day).
Fifth, Dont study single subject for whole day. Shuffle subjects. You can divide the day in four parts and apply the above method. Or at least you can divide the time slots for two subjects if not four.
Sixth, Before start of the chapter, keep a watch on time. You need to finish the same in 1.25 hours. You will become very effective in your approach. Your mind will not wander.
Seven, Take enough sleep. Dont compromise on sleep. There is a deep science behind need for adequate sleep. So never compromise on sleep. Especially when practical subjects exams, take at least 7 hours sleep. And believe me, investing 1 more hour in sleep is better than reading 1 more hour. (Just imagine, how that 1 hour will matter as against your whole year study?) Invest that time on sleep and your mind will recollect whatever has been prepared in past. Proper sleep affects retrieval power and it makes your mind more calm.
Eight, While going to exam, calm your mind by using any methods, Breathing exercise, meditation etc. Rest for ten mins before leaving home. This will improve retrieval power of brain.
Nine, In exams, write only qualitative contents. Dont drag your answers thinking that the length is not according to the marks. Its not necessary to give two page answer for 5 marks question. Even if you answer qualitatively in half page or one page. The same will serve purpose.
Ten, Try your level best to complete 100 marks paper, you have 1.7 minutes for each mark. Calculate, you have got 8.5 minutes for answering five marks question. You need to recall only the qualitative content answer in those allowed time and produce on paper. Don’t even waste few seconds writing unnecessary explained answers.
(Insights by CA Rajesh Pabari – email firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp +919022780919)