Rank: 33, Batch: Nov 2017
I am the first Chartered Accountant in my family. My father is a small businessmen, and mom is a homemaker. The reason for me pursuing CA was an academic inclination towards Finance, and a penchant to become a strong footed Finance Professional.
My first reaction
When I first came to know that not just I have aced CA Final Examinations in first attempt which was my dream, but have also managed an All India Rank 33, I was trembling with joy, and indeed it was a cloud nine moment for me. I owe my success to my parents and my friend Divya who have always believed in me even when I have not. My father has always preached me to be a self-sufficient women, and motivated me to aim higher in life.
I interned with Grant Thornton India in Assurance and related services as a part of my articleship curriculum. The training was intensively demanding in terms of hours, challenges faced, and other aspects. But it inculcated in me a desire to push myself beyond unimagined limits, and explore my hidden potential. The only challenging thing about CA Finals that I found was the vast syllabus dispersed around eight subjects, and to manage the same in a span of one and half days during the point of exams. How I overcame this was to draw linkages in concepts, and practical work that I was engaged in. When I applied the same practically, it helped me polish what I learned in theory, and left an imprint of the concepts. Also, Grant Thornton emphasises a lot on self learning, and the trainings and workshops that we were made a part of also helped me acquainted with recent changes in the regulatory framework, which I very much inclined with my study preparation.
I would say don’t go with – “just because others are doing it, you should also do it, or it might be the right thing to do”. Some people can manage without coachings through self-study, whereas some choose to join classes and stuff. I find attending classes a very challenging task as a person. But due to lack of time that I got post work hours, I decided to go for practical subject coachings since I planned to be done with my practicals firsthand before going on examination leave. Also, I did not wanted to spend hours traveling, and attending coaching classes during my study leaves. I was left with one coaching, and I decided to go for pendrive coaching since it provided me freedom to do it at my own pace, and also aligned with no classes during leaves. Theory subjects I managed without any classes (neither at institute nor at home).
A. Study schedule
I started preparing for the exams from 1st June 2017, and went through completing the eight subjects by first week of August 2017(around 2 months). I did my first revision in the next 40-45 days, and final revision post that. My revision strategy also involved ABC analysis of the concepts and topics. I decided to develop competency in chapters/topics carrying highest weightage, then intermediate proficiency in those carrying medium, and basic level in remaining topics. I studied for 15-16 hours during my study leaves daily, and also did not compromise on my sleep since it is very important to rejuvenate your memory, and keep one fresh minded.
B. Strong and weak subjects (How did I prepared them?)
Practical subjects (SFM, FR, Advanced Management Accounting) were my strong subjects, and I focused on cracking the concepts, and practicing on a regular basis. Theory (Audit, Law, and ISCA) I focused on key matters, presentation and content in order to write according to the standards that ICAI demands. DT and IDT (combination of Practical and theory) I did balancing the provisions with practical examples since it helped you to remember the provisions as concepts, rather than cramming the same.
Books and e-sources
I recommend Vinod Gupta Sir’s book for Direct Taxes, Bangar for Indirect Taxes, and Pankaj Garg Scanner for practice of Audit. For rest other’s focus on ICAI material (SM & PM both). Case laws should be done strictly from ICAI material, and no more than that. Focus a lot on suggested answers issued by ICAI and RTPs, since it is a cornerstone for acing CA Finals because it is not just the content that fetches you scores, but also the quality of content that you write as a professional.
I was planning to attend test series, and mock tests but due to lack of time I could not go through with the same. In my Financial Reporting and Costing exam, I was very much disappointed due to my inability to complete my paper, and over the top the same being my strong subjects. The shortcoming over there was lack of practice, and I believe that going for mock tests would not have given me that disappointment. Hence, from my personal experience I would urge all the CA aspirants to go for mock tests, and practice A LOT.
Rank and preparation
I was never preparing for a rank. My efforts are glided in the direction that I was completely oblivious of the tangible results that I want or maybe getting. My mantra was – “PLAN YOUR WORK AND WORK YOUR PLAN”. There were mini-breakdowns where I felt pretty much discouraged seeing my peers and colleagues not being able to clear in multiple attempts. The question that kept popping up was “What is in me that I shall ace it”, but I always overshadowed the same with “What is not”. And, that is what that kept me going. Incessant efforts, and hard work not caring about the tangible result, but only about capitalising on this opportunity that I have got.
Currently there are no hard core plans in my mind. After a very long time I am just giving myself a little break by not planning anything. I want to enter corporate world taking up roles in Strategic Finance.
I am pacing myself with current affairs through regular updates. I am also researching about companies, their businesses, financial results, their future plans, and what they are looking out for in prospective candidates.
Advice to fellow students
CA as a course is no cakewalk, and indeed it requires a lot of sacrifices, hard work, resilience, and perseverance. Do not get intimidated by others’ failure or successes. Everyone has it in them, and it is just about believing in yourself, and making that belief come true. Prepare a strategic plan, subjects you want to go coaching for, one’s that you want to go with self study, reference books (and try to stick to certain books rather than juggling between multiple authors), amount of revisions that you need to go through for each subject (since some might require two, some three, and others more or less), and prepare summary notes for last minute revision during exams.
“PLAN YOUR WORK AND WORK YOUR PLAN”, and there is nothing stopping you.