Preparation Tips - All at one Place (AIR 1,4 & 2)


Preparation Tips - All at one Place (AIR 1,4 & 2)




Chartered Accountancy? Wow! That takes a lot of efforts and determination. It is hard right?

Chartered Accountancy? You need to toil a great deal.

Chartered Accountancy? Few years of hard work and you will stand out of the lot!

These are a few and there are many other reactions that a student comes across when he decides to take up the course. So, what exactly should one abide by to come out with the aspired success?

All you need is – SPUNK!

S – Swot analysis

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. How a student makes use of these for his preparation is important.

To start with, most of us are unaware of our strengths and weaknesses. There are subjects and topics that interest you to the core where you just lose track of time studying. On the other hand there are subjects that seem monotonous. However, not every subject that seems interesting could be a good scorer.

So, what is necessary is that you have to first understand your own strengths and weaknesses and learn about the scoring opportunities and the threats posed by topics that might land you in trouble. This makes it easier for you to plan your time for preparation accordingly.

P – Persistence

Heard of the idiom ‘Rome was not built in a day’?

Achieving something important takes time. Qualifying CA is an important a task too. You learn a lot through the course that you are rewarded greatly once you qualify. All what it majorly takes to enjoy the fruits of this reward is persistence or determination.

U- Unwavering mind

An unwavering mind can be acquired only through practice. Once you determine to be a Chartered Accountant, have faith in your journey. There will be times when you do not feel worthy enough. Few days would be such that one incorrect answer or one problem solved in the improper way might pull you down. You have to consciously work on this. Let not your mind get carried away by all these thoughts. Just believe you can do and you will.

N- Never give up attitude

When your focus is diverted towards the syllabus yet to be covered, you tend to take it for granted or give it up rather than utilising the time to finish it. In the spur of the moment it always feels easier to give up rather than stretching to the full extent, right? But always remember:

‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’

How wonderfully quoted!

Giving up is never an option. Bear this in mind that success might not knock at your door immediately but chase your dream without ever giving up and success will follow you.

K- Knowledge in its true sense

Knowledge in its true sense means to know a topic in its totality. There are students who scan through texts just to get the feeling that they have covered all the topics. There are others who believe in learning topics by rote.

However, what is required of you is intensive reading. Reading intensively assures that you learn a topic in totality that enables you to answer any question related to that topic with confidence. This is what gives you conceptual clarity and confidence. Confidence can just do wonders. Confidence lets you answer the question without any confusion and automatically improves the presentation in the exam.

There is no fool proof plan that works for everyone the same way. Different people tend to execute plans differently. This makes a great difference. Learn what you are good at. Sharpen your strengths. If you are good or quick at problem solving, focus on the problematic part that can prove to be scoring.

Introspect yourself:

Know whether you are a morning person or a night owl. Just because a friend studied in the nights or woke up early in the morning and scored well does not necessarily mean that it is the right way. Know how your mind and body respond and what your time of the day is and make the most of it.

Have a productivity chart:

Only you can track your progress. Be honest and never lie to yourself. When you know you need to study hard, accept it and learn from mentors and friends about the practices you can adopt to do better.

A productivity chart is not about the amount of time you spent with books or the quantum of syllabus you outwardly covered. Productivity is what you have learnt to retain and capable of representing later. Have a journal or a chart that can track this.


Ok, so this is one tip that all of know and tend to read in every article we come across. How many of us actually practice this? Only a handful, may be. Take a second to think if this is the one thing that differentiates success from failure. A CA student’s brain works in such a way that when you sit down to revise what you studied the previous day, your brain starts poking you to learn something new and finish the syllabus rather than spending an additional hour in just revising what you have read only the previous day.

Remember, this one additional hour spent revising saves a lot of time when you start your first revision before the exams. This not only saves your time but also boosts your confidence when you are able to recollect what you have learned a month ago with such ease.

Stay active:

Train your mind to be in an active state during that time of the day when you have your exam. When you sit preparing for your exams months before the exam, make sure you stay attentive while studying especially during that time of the day. This helps you have an open mind during the exam too as your body and mind get used to it over a period of time.

A few suggestions for the time before and during exams:

  1. Be on the move – During preparation for exams, you tend to save time in every possible way and try accommodating all that time in studying. Nevertheless, sparing some time for work out in any form helps your remaining day to be a lot more productive. So, keep yourself active and fit.
  2. Meditate – The wonders that this can do can only be experienced. Especially, for a CA student, the amount of stress the brain carries shall only be neutralised through means like these. When the exams or results are nearing, we tend to panic a lot. Our mind starts popping all the possible negative thoughts and outcomes that could result in disasters. This can be controlled and instead the little time that is available can be diverted towards the useful activities.
  3. Regular sleep time – This is often ignored but is very important. When you get your body used to a regular sleep cycle, it gets accustomed to it and you can hardly find any difficulty in falling asleep on any given day. When you get proper sleep of at least 6-7 hours, the day can start on an active and fresh note.
  4. Make an actionable plan - All plans look rosy on the paper but when put into action most of them are not doable. This lowers your morale and you never tend to make plans or take them seriously. To avoid this, make plans that you can genuinely stick to.
  5. Plan your day with breaks – Like cheat days in a diet plan, plan your days and weeks with proper breaks where u can rejuvenate yourself. Studying at a stretch without any intermission would actually make you dull and the learning will seem to be very strenuous. So plan the day in such a way that you have a proper break after every productive session.
  6. Entertain yourself wisely – It is during the preparation that even a plain empty wall seems so engaging for the very reason that you have a plethora of syllabus in front of you to complete. So we tend to listen to songs while solving problems, or we let the T.V play and we try multi-tasking. We also think we are good at it, but the amount of time that we unknowingly spend doing nothing leaves us restless.

Instead try engaging yourself sensibly:

  • Do something totally unrelated to CA, only then you will realise you took a break.
  • Keep a track of the time you spend taking this break.
  • Spend time with optimistic people who look at the positive side of life.
  • Listen to Ted talks because they provide such variety that you can chose any sphere of your choice.
  • Play a sport, either outdoor or indoor. (Not on electronic devices, it is too addictive!)
  • Spare time for gardening or any of your passion.
  1. Practice – Mock exams prepares you for the exams. You learn time management, content management and making proper choices. Each of you can attempt 100 marks when time is not a constraint. The test is who performs best under pressure within the given time. So, to perform better in exam, you have to have an experience of the exam. So, make use of these mock exams conducted by the Institute.
  2. Update yourself – There is no point in a lot of hard work put in if what is acquired is irrelevant. Keep following the ICAI website to learn about any of the latest amendments made so that you are updated.
  3. Sticky notes are preferable than underlining and highlighting. This is a proven technique. Having a handwritten notes makes it easier to revise and grasp rather than highlighting something pre-written.
  1. Few more tips to be borne in mind:
  • Remember, u cannot revise the whole syllabus before the exam.
  • Stick to practice manuals and your hand written notes.
  • Avoid referring to something new in the last minute.
  • RTP’s for the last 5 attempts is a must do. It improvises your thought process.
  • Avoid discussions with friends both before and after the exam.
  • Make the most of the 15 minutes reading time before the exam so you can start the exam with the right question and the correct presentation.

Guys, CA is for the determined but is achievable and the fruits of success will make you realise that every minute spent towards achieving the goal was actually worth it. So, get into the groove and give your best shot. All the Best!

CA Suraj Lakhotia