I failed 4 times in CA Final but cleared with an exemption in 4 subjects - My Detailed Study Plan

CA Preeti Dalal failed 4 times in CA Finals and eventually cleared in the 5th attempt with 4 exemptions. She is an example of - PERSISTENCE, DETERMINATION and most of all POSITIVE THINKING. On students' insistence, she has made a detailed log of how she studied. You can read Preeti journey here.

CA Preeti Study Schedule:

I made a timetable for my CA Exams preparation in a register and used to measure my progress every day by rating my performance as follows:

  • Excellent (12 hrs or more)
  • Good (for studying 90% of 12hrs)
  • Average (for studying 75% of 12hrs
  • Poor (for studying below 75% of 12hr)

Now many of my friends studied just for 6 hours and cleared the exams. But that did not work for me. I needed extra efforts. Also, I used to study with great dedication.

PCC (Now known as IPCC)

In PCC, I contributed 4 hrs to one subject and thus used to study 3 subjects per day (Studying 3 subjects per day used to work well for me as I get bored studying only one subject. Many of my friends used to study 1 or 2 subjects a day and they also cleared. I am just sharing what worked for me!)

In PCC, I used the following approach other than Institutes RTP and scanner from the market:

  1. Audit -I took coaching and plus self-study
  2. For Law - I studied from Munish Bhandari Law Handbook
  3. Accounts - Referred coaching study material
  4. Taxation - I studied from Dr. Girish Ahuja for DT and VS Datey For IDT
  5. Cost FM - Referred coaching study material
  6. ITSM - I referred Dinesh Madan Book

My mistake while preparing for PCC was I took coaching for Accounts, Taxation, Audit and Costing FM. My accounts portion was not getting completed on time and thus I left the tuitions and studied by myself. It was then that I decided that I would take coaching only if really needed. In my 1st attempt, I failed miserably. However, in my 2nd attempt, I cleared PCC - Group 2 & in the 3rd attempt I cleared PCC - Group1.

  • I also realized for PCC: Institutes Books, RTPs, Practice Manual are sufficient for a good score. Anyway, I used above-mentioned approach and passed.

CA Final:

  • By Aug'12 I completed my articleship and started a job in a CA Firm for Rs. 7,000 and supporting my family although not completely.
  • I didn’t want to discontinue my money flow so I took only 1 month’s study leave for CA Final Exam. In my CA Final 1st attempt, I gave only Group - 1 and failed with just 1-month study leave.
  • Also prior to my CA Final 1st attempt, I used to study randomly because I was working full time. I used to get really tired and could hardly study.
  • So technically I started preparing for my CA Final 1ST attempt during my study leave of 1 month with very little studying. For obvious reasons, I could not complete the syllabus in my 1st attempt and failed miserably.
  • For my CA Final 2nd attempt, I took 3.5 months study leave and gave both groups. This time I cleared only Group - 1 with an exemption in Financial Reporting. I did not take coaching for FR (Financial Reporting) but went for self-study from Institutes books, Practice Manual and RTP
  • Also in my CA Final 2nd Attempt with 3.5 months of leave, I aimed to give 12 hr per day and 3 hr per subject, thus to read, understand and memorize 4 subjects every day along with giving a remark to myself about my performance. There were only a few days where I could study 12- 14 hrs. On an average, I used to study for 8 - 11 hrs a day.
  • CA Final 3rd attempt I had only Group 2.  I cleared Costing with an exemption however because of ISCA I failed the group
  • CA Final 4th attempt I had only 3 subjects to prepare for but failed again due to ISCA
  • CA Final 5th attempt I decided to take coaching for ISCA and cleared the group with 67 marks in ISCA.

Details of which study material I studied and how much I scored are as follows: 

























































































































































































































                                                       CA Final  MarksSubjectsBooks readMarks

Financial Reporting

Institutes Books ,RTPs, Practice Manual602SFMInstitutes Books, RTPs, Practice Manual513AuditInstitutes Books, RTPs, Practice Manual444LawManish Bhandari Book465Advance management accountingInstitutes Books, RTPs, Practice Manual626ISCACoaching, Institute’s Practice Manual and RTP677DTGirish Ahuja Book418IDTVs Datey60

Need to mention here that I used to complete my syllabus once and hardly had any time left for revision so could get above score. But if one revises twice, thrice then, of course, one can score very good. I also used to write inspiring quotes and some self-made quotes to motivate myself.

Financial Reporting:

  • I cleared CA Final Group 1 in my 2nd attempt with an exemption in FR.
  • I did not take coaching for FR but went for self-study from Institutes books, Practice Manual and RTP.
  • I used to give 3 hrs to each subject but as per requirement of subjects, I did adjust time from 3 to 4 hrs for FR, Cost, and Tax, due to the wide syllabus.
  • I practiced first questions of Book and practice manual and thereafter did RTP.

Advanced Management Accounting (Costing):

  • In my CA Final 3rd attempt I got an exemption here but failed the group due to ISCA.
  • I used the same procedure as above was for Advanced Management Accounting also I used to take a maximum 1/2 hr for a 1 full-length questions of Costing.
  • I was hardly able to revise due to lack of time and just studied it once with no revision. But whatever I studied very well with writing as many sums I could.


  • Initially, I self-studied ISCA from Institute’s books, Read Practice Manual and RTP. But never practiced by writing.
  • I scored 50 marks in my CA Final 1st attempt in ISCA but failed in other subjects.
  • But this ISCA strategy did not work for my CA Final 2nd attempt, 3rd and 4th attempt where I kept failing Group 2 because of ISCA.
  • In my 5th attempt, I joined coaching and practiced by writing answers for ISCA. Even in class, our teacher used to take exams on regular basis. I did not skip a single class and the tests. I appeared for the tests even when I did not revise and was sure that I would fail.
  • I attended class and thereafter practiced at home. After coaching I gave minimum 2 Hrs for ISCA and practiced by writing answers mostly. The only way I could retain ISCA was by writing as it is difficult to remember only by reading. At times it seemed like I have forgotten all but in actual it was not so.



Direct Tax :















  • I used to give 5 minutes to Read and Understand one page of DT.
  • Reading at least 100 pages in 1 day is what I had aimed for. Sometimes I did study more than 100 pages. But reading 100 pages of Garish Ahuja’s DT is something used to take time but it was worth it.
  • The maximum I could study 130 pages of DT in one day but on average it was 90-100 pages a day. I took a little while to complete DT portion as I used to get fed up, frustrated and could not study at all so used to take breaks.







Q:-For ISCA from whom did you take coaching?


Ans: I took ISCA coaching from R. M. Jha Classes, Laxmi Nagar. I was also honored by him along with other students for good marks in ISCA.


Q:- Any tips on how to write papers ?!


Ans:  It is highly advised that you practice RTP and Sample question paper to get an Idea how to write in the actual exam. Practice Mock Text and try to practice how to complete the exam within the limited time otherwise you may end up leaving the incomplete paper.


Q:-Also can you elaborate how you memorized ISCA? How you studied ISCA exactly?


Ans: I practiced a lot. Along with Coaching notes, I did practice Practice manual, RTP, and previous question papers. Even I had RTPs and Questions of all my previous 4 attempts.


Q: -With the high-end English in ISCA how did you manage? You memorized as much as you could? And did you revise ISCA daily?! Some people facing problems in forgetting ISCA how did you remember ISCA? Was it a daily revision? Also, you did all the chapters or skipped one or two chapters?!


Ans:-By writing one will be able to memorize and understand the way of writing an exam. I first read the coaching book, then Practice manual and RTP. It took me approx. 3 days (10 to12 hr per day). Then I started practicing by writing. Even our coaching teacher used to make us write in class and did take a test.


As it was my 5th attempt I did not want to give any excuse. So, I followed instructions and recommendation of teacher very sincerely. When I was taking coaching I was also doing a job. So could not practice daily. My class was on Saturday and Sunday evening. I was alert in class as I knew I will be tired in evening and will not be able to revise. On Sunday I used to read as per available time.


When Exams arrived, I took leave and made a timetable for the exam. I kept 2 hr for ISCA every day for around 2 months. But sometimes I studied ISCA whole day. Because when you are concentrating on one subject then changing that subjects and concentrating on another subject sometimes it becomes difficult. So, one can adjust according to their nature. As Coaching notes, practice manual and RTP had some common questions so they got practiced 2-3 times. But I practiced a lot by writing.


You could reach her at capreetichoudhary@gmail.com/thecastory@gmail.com









Sign up for The Finance Story Fortnightly newsletter

Inspiration, Learnings, Knowledge in your in-box

Get stories delivered to your inbox

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter
By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use & Privacy Policy.
Learning Learning Partner Partner
Which Dell Technologies offerings do you wish to know more about?

Book 1:1 call with industry expert