Updated: Nov 22, 2021
Once you've made up your mind to pursue Chartered Accountancy as a career option out of the various alternatives available, the next mountain for you to climb is CA Foundation. But, before that, you need to do your homework which involves getting acquainted with the blueprints of the question papers of the four subjects and making a clear-cut strategy to crack the exams.
The CA Foundation papers include:-
Paper-1: Principles and Practice of Accounting
Paper-2: Business Laws and Business Correspondence and Reporting
Paper-3: Business Mathematics and Logical Reasoning & Statistics
Paper-4: Business Economics and Business and Commercial Knowledge
CA foundation exam is an offline exam which is conducted twice a year i.e. May and November. Each paper carries a maximum of 100 marks and the time period allowed depends upon the type of the subject. For instance, Paper 1 and 2 are subjective papers and demand a time limit of 3 hours whereas, paper 3 and 4 are objective papers with a maximum time limit of 2 hours each. The objective questions will have negative marking for wrong answers, 0.25 will be deducted for every wrong answer. The candidates are required to score a minimum of 40% in each subject and an aggregate of 50% in all papers to clear this examination.
If you are a Commerce student with Mathematics in class 12th then Paper-1, Paper-3 and Paper-4 would be a cake walk for you as the syllabus mostly includes school level Accounts, Mathematics and Economics. Business and Commercial Knowledge is an easy subject with basic business knowledge. The only difficult exam for you to crack would be Business Laws which includes The Indian Contract Act, Sales of Goods Act, Indian Partnership Act, Limited Liability Partnership Act and an introductory part of Companies Act
Hence, keep the following things in mind:-
1. Prepare a Time Table
The first step to start your studies is to prepare a time-table. Analyze the subjects and chapters and plan if you are going to take classes for CA Foundation or going doing it without coaching. Make clear time-lines in your time-table and keep the last one or two months for revision. Undoubtedly, timely completion of syllabus is really important.
2. Command over the calculator
As this will be the first time you would be using the calculator in examinations, you need to hone your calculator skills with various functions like GT, M+, M-. Always buy a decent calculator as this would be your investment for the coming years. I would recommend you to buy a Casio MJ-12D calculator as a major chunk of CA students and professionals depend on it because of its functions. ALWAYS KEEP THE CALCULATOR HANDY!
3. Blend of understanding and learning
CA examination requires not only understanding but also learning of concepts and questions. There are high chances of repetition of past year examination questions. Hence, the questions which you are practicing should involve questions from Study Material, Past Year Question Papers, Revision Test Papers and Mock Test Papers which are available on the ICAI’s website. There is no requirement of buying extra help books.
4. At Least 3 revisions before examinations
This is a thumb rule for every CA examination. Since there is really less time between two papers, it becomes really difficult for the students to revise everything in 1.5 days. Hence, the tip from my side would be to revise at least 3 times before paper. This technique will not only help you to revise the syllabus efficiently in the last 1.5 days but also boost up your confidence just a day before the big day.
5. Give mock tests
Always try to give a minimum of 2-3 mock tests before the exams. You don’t need to join any test series. Rather consider giving ICAI mock test papers or Previous year question papers of every subject. These tests will definitely help you to assess yourself and improve your presentation skills.
6. Give special attention to Maths and Law
For the non-maths students, both these subjects would be difficult and would require immense practice. Law is a written exam and would require understanding of provisions and legal language. Similarly, in the Business Mathematics, even though an objective exam, includes perplexing topics like like Matrices, Permutations and Combinations, Calculus, Linear Inequalities which are only taught in class 11th and 12th and hence would be new for the non-maths students.
7. Taking short breaks
Sitting for long hours tires your brain out and you retain less as a consequence. Hence, it is advised to give a 3 hour sitting, take a small break of 15 minutes to half an hour and then get back to studying again. In the last month try increasing your productive study time to atleast 8-10 hours a day.
8. Take Proper Sleep
Students try to study continuously for 24 hours which is absolutely impossible. Your mind and body demands rest and, to be honest, CA Foundation does NOT command such long hours. Hence, take adequate sleep of 6-8 hours. Also, change your sleeping pattern according to the exams and avoid sleeping between 12 P.M to 6 P.M. as this might lead to you being sleepy in the exam due to your habit of sleeping during this time.
Remember, CA Foundation is not at all a difficult exam if you study for it in the right ways. It doesn’t include an advanced syllabus requiring a lot of understanding or learning. Students should execute their study plans, work on presentation skills, avoid negative thinking, talk to seniors CA aspirants or recently qualified Chartered Accountant and, last but not the least, give time to your health also.