Nimeet Piti

In a span of 100 days, one might take a world tour, the demonetization drive could take place twice in our country and a whole lot of things which can be done in that time frame, but when it comes to preparing for the CA exams, the time just feels too less.

This reminds me something that the famous Hollywood comedian/actor Mr. Will Smith, said,

He who says he can, and he who says he cannot, are both usually right.  It’s all there in your mind. The only person who said It cannot be done is YOU!

You know, they always say, smart people don’t do different things, they do things differently. Let me give you a small example. Consider the following two statements:

You can do it

Can you do it?

If you see, both the statements have the same set or words and the exact count as well, and yet the mean altogether different. Now, the first statement is what a successful person says himself and the unsuccessful one speaks the second statement to himself and that is how THEY do things DIFFERENTLY.

During my final exams, I was left with only two months, courtesy the classes I was attending. They delayed us almost by a month. 2 months – 8 papers, mammoth task!!! No one felt it would happen including me. But then, if was destined to not pass, then let’s try and give a best shot and then not pass. Anyways, at that point of time, I couldn’t think of anything else, so why not put in insane number of hours and just hope to clear? I chose this track, and by god’s grace, got cleared.

So, all of the students who might have the feeling whether it will happen or not, don’t worry, IT WILL HAPPEN. Of course, one cannot deny the importance of time management here. The right planning will help you achieve your goals with a degree of certainty. Following is a timetable, I feel one should follow to put it through. Assuming you start from the 20th of January 2017, and put in approx. 10hours of studying, this is what your approach could be.

The Three Subject Rule

Preparing for the CA exam is primarily a mental game and then a physical game. The day/moment you start to feel that you are falling back, the preps start colliding. Just imagine, you pick up a subject, let’s say Accounts/FR and keep doing it for the next 8-10 days. By the end of January, you might start to feel that you haven’t touched any other subject and then you start thinking, 1 paper – 10 days, 8 papers – 80 days, when am I going to revise? Also, the law of diminishing marginal utility is very well applicable to our preps as well. After a certain level, saturation kicks in, and you start losing out on the efficiency, you would normally achieve.

Thus, one should study at least 3 papers at a time. Now selection of those 3 papers, is pretty simple. Choose 1 numerical paper (Accounts/FR, Financial Management, Costing/Advanced Management Accounting), out of 1 theory paper (Law, Audit, ITSM/ISCA) and 1 from taxation papers (DT, IDT)

Taxation is one paper, where losing touch from the subject is pretty easy. Thus, study taxation papers every day. Considering an approximate time input of 10hours a day, one should study a numerical paper for 4 hours, another theory paper for 4 hours in 2 sessions of 2 hours each, and another 2 hours for the taxation paper chosen.

Time frames: If 20th January is what you start, somewhere around by the 15th of February, you can see your 2 papers i.e. 1 practical and 1 theory paper being completed comfortably. And yes, comfortably. If you see, from the 20th of January to 15th of February, it is 25 days and 4 hours per day, approximating 100 hours which is a fairly decent number. While studying, make sure you are making your notes properly without fail. For practical papers, notes would specific points noted down where you made a mistake.  If the notes are not in place, the second reading might not get finished. So make sure you are making the right notes during your first read.

From the 16th of February, you can now pickup up another 2 papers, i.e. 1 numerical and another theory.

Somewhere around during end of February, you will see that one of the taxation papers will end. So another taxation paper can start from the 1st of March. By 10th march, again by putting in 100 hours to each of the papers, you can see it being complete as well.

Post the 10th of March, the last 2 papers, have to be picked up. Here it’s going to be a tight squeeze because the papers have to complete by the end of the month anyhow. So choose the papers, with which you are more familiar with, as it is going to be 80 hours for each paper in the third slot.

Come 15th April 2017, your 2nd taxation paper is also put to rest. Let’s see what we are exactly looking at:

Date Subject
20th jan – 15th feb 1st  practical paper , 1st  theory paper , 1st  taxation paper
16th feb – 10th march 2nd practical paper , 2nd theory paper
1st march 2nd taxation paper
11th march – 31st mar 3rd practical paper, 3rd theory paper
15th april End of 2nd taxation paper.

 By the time you reach the month of April, you are left with only revisions. If your notes you made during your first reading, is well sorted, 2nd reading of the papers should not take more than 15 days.  Also, you won’t have read the 2nd taxation paper, as it’s already running simultaneously. So it will be only 7 papers, out of which 2 papers would be absolutely fresh. So yes, prima facie, looking at 15 days and complete syllabus revision might look daunting, when in fact it’s not.

From 15th April to 20th April, make sure you revise your 2 taxation papers. Since one of it would be fresh enough, revising it quickly shouldn’t be a problem.

The last leg of reading is from the 20th April. This is the last revision one needs to do. Start with papers in the descending order. For example, on the 20th of April, study your last paper, the second last paper on the 21st of April, so on and so forth.

The Majority Rule

Always make sure you identify the core areas of each and every subject. Please bear in mind, the idea is not to study selectively, but it is to cover extensively. Let’s just say, hypothetically, you are not able to finish a paper during the first read within the timeline. If god forbids, that happens, at least you would be done with all the core areas and only the lesser important topics remain, which can be done during the second reading. But make sure, you do it in the second read, because it won’t be possible to cover it up during the third reading, and therefore completing it in the second reading is a must.

The Focus Rule

Say hello to social media only during selective times during the day. Keeping the phones along with while studying is a big NO NO. I am not against social media, but it can consume time really fast without you realizing about it.

The Rejuvenation Rule

You will find times, when you are just not able to study. Days when you are absolutely saturated. During such times, it is always a good strategy to take some time off and do something you really enjoy. But make sure, this time off comes at a price. Work not done today have to be done tomorrow and that means more study time. Make use of this rule WISELY.

The Bournville Rule

The bigger picture may always seem really daunting and can throw you off the track very easily. It’s always advisable to draw daily plans and stick to them only. Set up a daily target, achieve it and you can treat yourself with something you like. We are more motivated to work when we see some reward coming in. Make sure the reward doesn’t consume a lot of time but it enough motivation for you to work all day.

Follow the cycle and the rules and we can hope to see a new tag in the month of July.  If you have any query, especially my subject, Costing/Advanced Management Accounting , you can reach out to me @ and other social media.

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  1. Supriya says:

    I had used the same strategy for my CA exams and could clear in first attempt without joining coaching classes. Believe it persistent and consistent efforts with determination always leads to success. The author has very aptly given the strategy for those who believe in self study.

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February 2024