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Greeting Students,

This article is to help students who are preparing for their professional exams.

The article would mainly Focus on how to utilize 3 hours of examination. Also I would point out few things that should be done a day or two before the examination day.


You should not pressurize yourself during exam days, as the output you give during exams is the consolidated efforts you have put during past 3-4 months, so studying for long hours before exam doesn’t guarantee you success.

Ever wondered when a friend of yours who is actually very intelligent doesn’t make it through the exams.

There are many reasons for such failures but one of the most important reasons for such situation is


What happens is many students actually manage to get a good plan in place and execute it really well. But by the time exams are round the corner they are so exhausted mentally and physically due to which, they are not able to give their best. In my personal opinion I suggest taking up rest for 7-8 hours as you normally do and wake up at the same time you usually do while preparing for your exams.

“Waking up till odd hours at night or getting up at odd hours in morning doesn’t assure you success, but a fresh mind does allow you to retain more of what you have read “

There is one more thing to keep in mind and that is:

“To treat every subject equally”

Why I give emphasis on this thing is because these subjects have been included in curriculum to enhance the quality of students who have enrolled for the professional course. One must keep in mind that the BOS (Board of studies) is a group of very experienced people, who regularly update the syllabus keeping in mind the need of the time, so inclusion or exclusion of a certain subject is not to create difficulty for students but to prepare them.

For example: In case of CA, most of the students in IPCC prepare first 5 subjects really well and neglect Audit and IT/SM. If you plan to score 350 marks in exam try setting a target of 50 marks for each subject and approach the exam accordingly. Most of them plan it in such a way by setting aggressive targets in accounts/the subjects they are comfortable with and 40 marks as target for IT/SM just because it is “DIFFICULT”. When you attempt the exam with the confidence of getting higher marks in tougher subject, it only strengthens you. This is a PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTOR and this will surely help you. Sometime it’s like your favourite subject might gives you really tough time and then you lose confidence of attempting the rest of the papers since your main subject dint go as well as you expected it to. One of the reason for not clearing ITSM is the aggressive target that is set for certain subjects in group 1 but Group 2 being ignored totally.

That’s why I suggest treating all subjects equally and setting an equal target for each of them which prepares you mentally to face even the tough ones. So anything more than your target is a bonus. This was my strategy in CA-IPCC and I went on to score more than 55 in 5.

The same thing applies to ISCA subject in CA final and GCL subject for CS executive. For few Students of CS, General and commercial Law (GCL) is one of the deadliest subjects which was grouped with accounts and tax. So many managed to get exemptions in other two , but could not clear GCL subject.

Few common things I would like to highlight in this article regarding Exams:

1.  Don’t Draw border lines in paper

I mean seriously, I sometimes wonder why few of the students draw unnecessary lines as border to the page. One should understand that this a professional level exam and things are designed in a professional way already, so there is no need of Innovation as I would advise you to save energy for the main course.

2.  Sequencing of Questions

This is a common technique used by most of the students to Attempt the paper, although becomes quite uncommon when they face a tricky paper. Most of the professional exams have the format as Question no 1 compulsory, so you don’t have much of an option with that. Let’s say you are left with 6 or 7 questions and you have to attempt 5 out of that. Now try to sequence the questions from easiest to hardest and when I mean questions, it includes the sub question as well. So say if you know the part “a” of question 2 and don’t know part “b”, try to put it as the last option.
“It is very important that when you start writing answers, make sure you finish all the sub questions before moving to the next question.”

Another importance of sequencing is when you actually write it in the sequence of your choice you end up writing the question you least expect to score at last. Sometimes a clever STUDENT might write all the questions including the optional ones, mind you, the first 5 or first 6 questions would be given mark and the last 2 won’t be given even if you have scored more in the last 2 questions as compared to the earlier questions.
(Mostly happens in CS exams as it used to have the scheme of writing 5 out of 7 questions)

A very small thing but worth noting.

3. Quoting of sections in Law and Tax

A very vital part of Law paper is quoting of provisions of the act which gives you those extra marks. But I would suggest don’t quote it if you’re not absolutely sure about it. Many of my friends and colleagues asked me then how do I write. A simple technique I have used in my whole CS life and even in Ca for that matter,

Suppose For Example, I have got a case study on say Companies Act, 2013. I will describe the case and will write my answer like this,” According to the provisions of Companies Act, 2013…”. Here I may not be really quoting any provision since I am not aware about it but I am making sure that the presentation is good.

Quoting wrong provisions will give a bad impression. It’s better not to quote if you don’t know the provision

4.  “Supplements doesn’t add value to your paper, unless you add quality to supplements”

Filling the supplements and finishing early won’t give you the extra marks you need. It doesn’t make any difference for the Institute whether you took an extra supplement or not, but it does bother if you write more than what’s needed.

Example: Consider IPCC may 2011 Law paper, Earlier they used to cover major part of paper with case studies and this was the attempt where there was change in pattern and the no of case studies dropped significantly. There was one question on Share Premium:- The question was:-

What is Securities Premium Account? What are the uses of Securities Premium Account? And the question is for 8 marks.

Now please understand no one is trying to trick you by asking such a question for 8 marks and this will hardly cover 15-18 lines with proper presentation. But just because the mark allotted is on the higher side doesn’t mean you go on writing insignificant things to fill the paper.

“I was always curious what students wrote in Law by taking 2-3 extra supplements.”

From my personal experience I would let you know it took me around 13 pages to finish my Law paper which gave me 58 marks. Now this is not an ideal size of paper that needs to be filled , since other factors like writing sections , mentioning additional case laws and handwriting does come into picture but I am sure things won’t run into 2-3 supplements since the earlier allotted main sheet itself is of 30-35 pages at least.

5.  This one is the most important aspect that I have ever kept in mind while writing papers and has always worked for me till date and that is to “ Never set a target of completing whole 100 marks paper “

What is expected of you is to deliver quality content in your exams and I always have been a firm believer of it. Many students get disappointed because they couldn’t attempt the paper in the required manner. The reason for this is to set a time frame for doing things. Time management is a very important aspect but at times presence of mind is very important.

See it is a clear fact that No institute awards you the passing marks just because you manage to complete the 100 marks paper, but it does award you mark for doing things correctly. I mean to say that if your problem always has been with regards to completion of paper and you think that this one of the reasons for your failure, then you are “ABSOLUTELY WRONG”.

The reason for your failure in majority of the occasion is the fact that you weren’t able to give a proper presentation of the questions that you actually attempted.

I know people who failed even though they managed their time well and attempted full 100     marks paper .AT the same time I also know students who managed to score exemption by properly attempting 75 marks paper.

So I have always focused on Sequencing which helps you to sort the questions properly and then quality output together gives you a better output in terms of marks. I would not skip questions just because I have allotted a specific time for that question and that time has passed. Students usually do skip the question by leaving space for rest of the sub questions, thinking that they might attend it at the end, but they are not able to do so. Not only does that leave unnecessary blank pages but also you are not sure about how well you have attempted that specific sub-part of the question. This is a psychological impact, of having strict time frames during exams.

So I have always followed this technique, when the paper was too lengthy and I am confused about which questions to

“This idea comes in handy if you always found difficult to finish the paper like I used to, especially when exams are round the corner” IT would take lot of efforts to improve your writing speed     (not at the cost of handwriting of course) , but you see ROME WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY. It takes little time to polish your skills and this method might be useful if TIME IS A CONSTRAINT FOR YOU.

This are few factors that matters a lot and would help you prepare for the examination. I will come up with detailed discussion on books and notes that are used and helpful during SELF STUDY for students having attempt later this year. Last but not the least :

Always remember this line said by the great George Patton-  “Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.”


(AUTHORED BY VIGNESH IYER, a qualified company secretary who is passionate about guiding students and Teaching. His areas of expertise are Corp Fin, Direct Tax, Information Technology, Audit. He currently works with a C.A firm in Mumbai. )


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July 2024