From Wanting To Skip My DT Exam To Getting A 25th AIl India Rank In CA Final
Sharing the journey of Anand Bang a Qualified Chartered Accountant from The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
He completed CA with 25thAIR in CA Final and was awarded Best Paper award for Direct Tax in CA Final.
He is currently working as an Investment Banker with an MNC Investment Banking firm Credit Suisse.
After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant - He worked with KPMG for 3 years in Private Equity – Tax & Regulatory services.
After KPMG, he completed his MBA from Indian School of Business (ISB) Hyderabad in 2017 and started his current role in Investment Banking.
MY CHARTERED ACCOUNTANCY JOURNEY
I always had a perception that - One has to be extraordinary to get a rank in Chartered Accountancy exams but then this perception changed completely when I got a rank myself in CA Final.
I realized that you need not be extraordinary to be a rank holder - Sheer dedication, and a systematic approach is more than enough to help you succeed.
While in school, I was decent in studies but certainly not amongst the best ones!
And I feel personally it is not necessary you have to be topper from school times to be one later on.
My sisters are also Chartered Accountants so that motivated me mainly to pursue Chartered Accountancy.
Coming to my CA journey, I cleared both CPT (1st level CA Exam) and PCC (2nd level CA Exam consisting of 2 groups – Group 1 and Group 2 now known as IPCC) in the 1st attempt.
But I was nowhere close to a ranker.
It was not that I had studied a lot more for CA Final in terms of the number of hours than for PCC but I think - I was more SYSTEMATIC while preparing for CA Final Exams which made the difference eventually.
CA FINAL JOURNEY
- I would be lying if I say I studied only a few hours a day for preparing for the exams.
- In fact, if someone with great intelligence would require studying only for 6 to 8 hours a day, I studied much more than that say 12 to 14 hours and that is because I knew I would require that much effort.
- So, I feel students should evaluate for themselves how much study is necessary for them without getting bogged down by how much others are studying!!
- So yes Hard Work is a MUST.
- Besides that, I feel I did certain things during preparation which worked out very well for me.
- One key takeaway for me was that - No matter how much you study or how many times you revise a subject before exams, your performance on the exam day would depend on how much of the portion of a subject you are able to study on that day.
- My key mantra to prepare for the exams – That I should be able to revise most, if not all the portion, on the exam day and accordingly my study plans revolved around that mantra.
- I used to prepare short notes in tabular / diagrams for key lessons/chapters.
- I used the highlighter to mark key points or words to make a compressed study material that can be completed on exam day.
- I heard this question from a few people - Whether one should study only one subject at a time or multiple subjects. It depends on what one is comfortable with. I used to study multiple subjects as I used to get exhausted with one subject if studied for too long but I know people who were comfortable studying one subject at a time, which worked equally well for them.
- So there is no hard and fast rule that only one particular way is most efficient one must study in a way which makes one most comfortable.
- Most importantly, study with an INTENTION to conceptually understand the subjects.
HOW MANY REVISIONS ARE NEEDED TO GET A RANK
- In fact, I had a chance to revise only once before the exams.
- So surely it is a misconception that X nos of revisions are must to get a rank!
- Frankly, in my personal view, more than the number of revisions - How much you are able to revise on the EXAM DAY has a more direct bearing on results.
- While revising for the first and last time before the exams(which for me started 2 months before the exams) - after completing each lesson, I would specifically give 10 min at end of that lesson to decide how much time I should be taking on exam day to revise that lesson and accordingly take a bird’s eye view of that lesson and do markings/highlights which would help me study the lesson within decided time limit on exam day.
- For each subject I used to mark in the index - The time I should be taking for each lesson to revise on exam day!
- How I scored 94/100 in Indirect Taxation and got a rank in CA Final
- How To clear CA FINAL Only Through SELF-STUDY
IMPORTANCE OF MOCK PAPERS
- Yes very important else - The main exams become practice sessions.
- Solving one paper of each subject helped me to get a taste of the exams beforehand.
- In addition, one important thing which I did which was immensely helpful to me was studying suggested answer papers of past attempts one hour daily from 2 months before the exams, which not only helped me to get a feel of how exam papers are but also helped me identify my weak areas on which I should focus during the revision
- Learn the art of using highlighter/marker in such a way to highlight text in a way it helps you compress the notes to study on exam day.
- For Practical Subjects - I solved one question roughly in writing from each chapter during the exam days which helped me remove rustiness (since it had been long since I had last revised that subject) which helped me improve my writing speed in the exams.
MOST CRUCIAL STAGE - THE 16 DAY EXAM PERIOD
- We heard numerous examples from our professors of how one bad paper affects the students so much that they end up screwing up the next paper. Eventually, in many cases, it turns out that the student ends up clearing the bad paper but ends up goofing up the next one! So, it is very important to just forget each exam after appearing and just appear for all papers come what may!
- In this regard, I would like to share my personal experience of CA Final exam days - ISCA was the most dreadful subject for me. And on exam day, my fear of ISCA made me go blank and I don’t remember what I wrote in that exam!
- I literally cried after that exam and was convinced that I would fail in that paper.
- In that negative mindset -I had decided to skip next paper Direct Taxation ( DT) and directly prepare for last paper IDT to at least get exemption in IDT (which is very common for students to do after forgettable ISCA paper).
- However, after a lot of persuasion from my family, sense finally prevailed and I agreed to not skip preparation for DT exams and give both the remaining papers to the best of my abilities.
- When results were out, fortunately, I somehow managed to clear ISCA and ended up with 25thrank and highest marks in DT paper.
- Looking back today at this incident -I laugh on it realizing how foolish I would have been to miss on my rank if I had decided to skip DT paper!
- So it is very important ‘NOT TO QUIT MID-WAY’ during the preparations or during the exams and just keep up the fight even if things are not necessarily going the way you wanted!
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND CLASS OR SELF STUDY
- Classes are NOT a must!
- However, if one takes classes, I feel best use happens when one tries to revise things done in classes on a real-time basis, at least key chapters if not all (I understand it is not easy to revise everything along with articleship but if there is a will there a way!!).
- I attended classes for CA Final. Like I guess I had attended 99 % of the lectures. I tried to make most of the classes by revising on real-time basis few subjects, if not all. So before the exam study leave, I had finished studying or you could say I had a good hold as I had attended classes regularly and I kept revising the class work.
- I had got 5 months of study leave.
- I also had prepared summarized notes for at least all key lessons in theory subject so that revising on exam day could become easier
- I think taking help of too many notes can end up complicating things. I just studied from one book which I had decided and even if I referred to some other book for certain parts, I ensured that I reproduced that part in summarized form in the main book I was studying from so that I need not refer to multiple books on exam day
- For Direct Tax, I referred Durgesh Sir’s notes only and his book which helped get that exemption and rank in CA Final.
- I have seen quite a few people who get pessimistic few months/ weeks/days/hours before the exams and do not give their best/stop studying (Remember - How I wanted to skip DT as my ISCA paper went bad!)
- And on the results day – They miss clearing by just a few marks here and there. Later they regret the fact – Wish I gave my best.
- Yes, it is true that sometimes putting best possible efforts might not assure the best outcome but at least if we give our best we won’t have regrets.
- Remember - Sorrow is for once but regrets last longer.
- So Important is to just give the best of efforts with a positive mindset without worrying about the results," he concluded.
He could be reached on firstname.lastname@example.orgemail@example.com
The Finance Story is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and get updates with latest stories of finance professionals.