Tarun Kumar Aggarwal
Rank: 21, Batch: Nov 2016
Place: New Delhi
My first reaction
I was ecstatic. I was not expecting a rank and was very doubtful about clearing the exams in the first place. A couple of exams went really bad and emotionally I was prepared to handle failure. The feeling of not letting yourself down brought me great relief and happiness.
I would give credit to my parents for giving me daily boost of confidence and for having faith in my efforts. My self belief was largely based on that faith.
I did my internship from Grant Thornton Delhi. I always say that your articleship prepares you for the job not for the exams. One may get comfortable in certain subjects due to their articleship but preparation for the exams has little to do with it. Apart from practical exposure, GT gave generous 5 month paid leave which was critical for my success.
I am a staunch proponent of self study. I have never had any coaching in my entire academic life so far. I don’t like the idea of wasting time to travel and listen to selective information that is provided by coaching institutes in their unique style. It is not at all necessary to join a coaching institute for any subject. One should rather focus on preparing a study plan and following it. Self assessment is the key here. On the other hand, if someone feels that they need coaching, there is no reason not to go for it.
A. Study schedule
My study schedule was not fixed. I instead used Subject-Chapter-Day targets (Eg: To complete Chapter x and y in 4 days out of 15 days allotted to that subject). Some days I studied 8-10 hours while little or no study on other days. As long as my targets were achieved, number of hours didn’t matter. In case I completed the target early, I rewarded myself with a day or two off 🙂
B. Strong and Weak subjects (How did I prepared them?)
I really struggled with Audit and Direct Tax – Just because of their humongous size. A bit of cramming and some gambles (read selective study) really paid off.
Books and e-sources
Recommended books would largely be study material and practice manual. For Direct Taxes, VG books (didn’t attend his classes) and for Indirect taxes, Bangur book is quite good.
I didn’t attend any ‘mock tests’. I don’t think it is necessary. Rather than test practice, one can focus on conceptual understanding.
Rank and preparation
No one prepares for a Rank. I was preparing to pass both groups in first attempt and I was just lucky to get a rank. Nonetheless, study momentum plays a key role. Pressure of exams and fear of failure was enough for me to keep on going.
I am looking for a senior role in industry. I am not much inclined towards practice right now. Probably after 5-8 years, I might reconsider it.
Nothing special. I am just updating myself and revising critical things.
Advice to fellow students
‘Assess, Act and Amend’ – Assess where you are, Act to reach where you want to be and Amend your approach as you progress. Don’t let your friends/coaching classes dictate your preparation. There are multiple ways to reach the same shore. Be self aware and self confident. Do have faith in your efforts.
For any help, you can contact me on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tarun-kumar-aggarwal-b01a7a3b