CA Intermediate Study Plan

How to plan your studies? All info at one place

CA foundation course


If you’re reading this, you have most likely cleared the CA foundation or the first level of the Chartered Accountancy course and reached the next level: CA Intermediate. Congrats! 

It’s time to start preparing yourself for the CA intermediate exams. In order to ace this level, you need to be armed with a solid study plan. Why? Because if you’re not methodical about your CA inter preparation, you’ll find it tough to manage your time effectively and end up devoting too much (or too little) time to some subjects.   

Let us give you some practical and actionable CA inter preparation tips that have helped several of our CA inter students immensely. They can help you achieve your goal as well. 

In this guide, we’ll deal with CA Interstudy plan tips for first-timers and repeat students separately because the mindset required and preparation strategy required in the two cases are very different.  

For first-time CA Inter students, before we dive into the tips, let’s quickly go over some CA Intermediate basics to get your CA inter exam preparation off the ground. If this isn’t your first attempt, feel free to jump over to the next section.

CA Intermediate Exam Basics

The CA intermediate course has 8 papers, out of which 4 are further divided into two sections each. Paper 2, 4, 6, and 7 have both descriptive and objective or MCQ type questions. The objective questions carry 30% weightage and the rest 70% is descriptive.

Understanding the nature of each paper — whether it is practical or theoretical — is important for a couple of reasons. Some students find practical subjects to be easier to handle, while others have a knack for theory subjects. Though both practical and theoretical papers demand equal attention, knowing your strong and weak areas in the syllabus will help you plan your studies better. 

Also bear in mind that there are no negative marks for the MCQs. Therefore, preparing and practicing lots of MCQs can be a smart way to get good scores.

That said, here's a quick glance at the practical and theory papers. 

Practical (Numerical based)


Paper 1: Accounting

Paper 2: Corporate Laws and Other Laws

Paper 3: Cost and Management Accounting

Paper 4: Taxation

Paper 5: Advanced Accounting

Paper 6: Auditing and Assurance

Paper 8: Financial Management and Economics for Finance

Paper 7: Enterprise Information System and Strategic Management

Please note that the practical papers may include few theory-based questions, but the majority of the paper will be practical. Vice-versa holds good for theory papers.

Getting Started - First Timers

Let us reiterate, do not jump into CA inter preparation without a plan. But how do you create a plan?

  1. Tips for First Time CA Inter Students 

How many hours to study? It depends on YOU! 

Now, one of the first things that stumps even the most hardworking student when it comes to CA Inter preparation is Time. ”How much time do I need to prepare for my CA Inter exams?” — This is the question that you’re probably thinking about right now. 

You may hear a lot of people talking about the merits of studying for 10-12 hours, while others may tell you they have studied only for 5-6 hours. Ultimately, how many hours to set aside for CA inter preparation is a matter that will differ from student to student. 

The nature of your CA inter-study plan will vary depending on factors like when you start your preparation, whether you’re appearing for a single group or both groups, your strengths and weaknesses, pace of learning, and so on.

Also, remember that you need to spend some time on revisions after you’ve covered the entire syllabus. 

The thumb rule is: The later you start, the more hours you’ll need to study.

Create your own timetable 

Just like the duration of preparation, it’s not feasible or fruitful to follow someone else’s routine or timetable. The internet is filled with sample CA inter-study routines and timetables, but they won’t work for everyone. This is why it’s best to create your own timetable.   

At IndigoLearn, we have built a web / app-based study planner, which can help you develop your own custom study plan that’s tailored to your needs. Using the tool, you can have a personalized timetable based on your target date for completing the syllabus, hours needed, revision days, and mock test days, etc. Check out our free planner here

Your own hand-written notes are your best friends in preparation 

If you wish to ace your CA inter exams, there’s absolutely no alternative to writing your own notes. Handwritten notes are your best bet for multiple reasons. From better retention of what you have studied to gaining better presentation skills while writing your answers, self-written notes can be a game-changer for your CA inter preparation in many ways. Want to elevate your notes from average to extraordinary? Read our guide on CA inter notes.   

Keep enough room for revisions and mock tests

Revision is not an option; it’s a necessity. The same is true for mock tests. Therefore, you need to factor in enough time for them in your study timetable. While the more revisions you do and mock tests you take, the better it is, we all know you won’t have that much time left after completing the entire syllabus. A good strategy would be setting aside 60 days of revision period (with a minimum of two revisions) and taking at least three timed mock tests.

Getting Started - Repeaters

So, you couldn’t clear the CA inter exams in your first attempt. Maybe, even in your second or third attempt. But the very fact that you’re reading this is proof that you’re not ready to give up yet. And, that speaks volumes about your willingness to succeed. 

As a CA Inter repeater, you might have asked yourself “Should I carry on & not quit?” Now, let’s face it: It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed to crack the CA inter exams. It’s worth figuring out WHY

  • Is it because something is missing from your preparation strategy?
  • Or, are you actually not enjoying the subjects in your CA intermediate syllabus? 

If it’s the latter, then CA is probably not for you. Don’t get us wrong — CA is a rewarding career, but it's not the be-all and end-all of success. You can have a fulfilling career in the field of business and commerce without being a CA too. Try exploring other professionally and financially rewarding career paths such as investment banker, financial advisor, wealth manager, and financial analyst, among others.

But if you think that your exam preparation was lacking, here are some ways to fix that. 

First of all, most of what we discussed above for CA Inter first-timers will apply to you as well. However, you have something they don’t have: Experience. 

That’s right! You’ve already gone through the grind and know what it’s like to actually write the CA Inter exams. It’s time to use that knowledge to your advantage. 

  1. If your preparation strategy didn’t work out the first time or even the second time, you need to shake things up. Identify the hits and misses in your previous preparations. For instance, if you didn’t revise enough, make it a point to do it. If you relied on others’ notes, start preparing your own notes. Read this and this to master the art of note-taking.  
  2. Step out of your comfort zone. Focus less on your strong areas and put more effort into improving the weak ones. Deal with the difficult topics first; you know you can handle the easy ones. 
  3. For anything beyond the second attempt, you would benefit from treating yourself as a beginner. If your preparation has failed twice, it probably suffers from some fundamental flaw. Tweak your approach. Ditch the “this is how I’ve been studying and it works for me” mindset and start afresh.

If you’re unsure about your preparation or would require some assistance in figuring out where you went wrong or what you should change, it’s worth seeking out a mentor who can help you with these issues. Our expert-led mentorship program is a great option that you can explore. 

Things to remember

  1. Maintain a healthy routine where you’re taking care of yourself. Eating and sleeping on time is extremely necessary because ultimately, your body is the engine, and sleep and food are its fuel. If it runs short on fuel, it won’t work. It will deter you from doing your best. 
  2. While a strict timetable is necessary, it’s equally important to take breaks at regular intervals. This will keep you focused for a longer period of time.
  3. Drink ample water. It freshens up your body and mind, plus drinking water balances the chemical processes in the brain, helping it work optimally and keeping stress and anxiety at bay. 


How should I study for CA Intermediate?

Studying for the CA Inter exam requires a realistic plan that’s personalized to your needs and pace of learning. Our CA study planner tool can help you with this. 

Are 3 months enough for CA Inter?

Yes and no. If you are a first-timer and you have only 3 months in hand, you should attempt only one group. But, if you’re planning to attempt both groups, 3 months won’t be sufficient. To crack both groups, you need at least 5-6 months of preparation.   

Is self-study enough for CA Intermediate?

You can manage to clear CA inter exams through self-study. To do that, you will need a solid routine and strict discipline to stick to it. While ICAI material, previous years’ papers, and RTP are good enough, most students benefit from specialized CA inter coaching classes, especially the mock tests. 

How many hours should I study for CA Intermediate?

This will vary depending on when you start your CA intermediate preparations, but anywhere from 8 to 12 hours (or more) per day on average is required to crack the CA inter exams.  

Which is the toughest subject in CA Intermediate?

There’s no one answer to this, as it is a very subjective question. Some students might find costing to be difficult; for others, auditing or EIS & SM could be the bane of their life. Depending on your interests and ability to grasp a subject, you might find one or another subject to be difficult. 

Is there rank in CA Intermediate?

Yes. As per the latest guidelines, the ICAI has opted to continue with the Merit/Ranking system for CA Intermediate, while there are no ranks/merit lists for CA Foundation students. Securing a rank in your CA inter exams might seem challenging, but it is possible. Click here to know-how.  

How do I clear CA Inter in my first attempt?

With a clear roadmap depicted above, any aspirant can fuel their preparation in the right way. We hope the above information helps you in preparing for and acing the CA Intermediate exam on the first attempt.