How I Overcame Failure After Failing 8 Times in my CA Exams? And Was It Worth It?

The Finance Story

  • Are you not getting success after so many failed attempts in CA? How to overcome failure in CA final exam? How should I deal with it and overcome the fear of failure? Questions like this hit almost every CA student's mind.
  • Hi! I am Sumit Dawar a qualified Chartered Accountant from ICAI (India). My CA journey started in 2004 after I completed my 12th standard and continued till 2014 when I finally qualified as a Chartered Accountant.
  • Most students slip into depression, give up on education or their dreams, or take some extreme step after facing failure – But NOT ME.
  • Here is my journey of how I failed 8 times before finally clearing the exams..and was all this worth it?

Overcoming Failure and Achieving Success After 8 Failed Attempts

Growing up I was very good academically. When it was time to decide on a career I chose to pursue Chartered Accountancy from ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India).

To become a CA from ICAI, you have to clear 3 level of exams and 3 years of articleship. The three levels are:

  • CPT (1s level CA exam): I cleared in the first attempt. This is usually MCQ based and quite easy.
  • IPCC (2nd level CA exam): I cleared in the first attempt as well. IPCC consists of two groups – Group 1 & Group 2. Each group consists of different subjects. In total 7-8 subjects like Accounting, Audit, Tax, etc.
  • CA Final: This took me 8 attempts to clear, yes EIGHT ATTEMPTS.

I cleared CPT and IPCC exams (aka PE-1 & PE-2 back then) in one go, completed my 3 years of articles and just had one more exam - CA Final to become a Chartered Accountant. 

Unfortunately, I kept failing these exams. Well, it obviously wasn’t easy for me emotionally and mentally. After all, I was a topper in my school and suddenly failing so many times created so much of self-doubt.

Every time when I attended a family function, everyone used to ask me the same question – 'BETA CA HO GAYI'. They looked at me with those eyes of being lazy or being dumb. Some of them would indirectly tell me that I was not giving my best.

What they did not know is that I was studying really hard for 3 months before every attempt and was always short of 1 or 2 marks to pass the exam. I suffered several health issues due to stress. My parents were super supportive and suggested that I should quit CA. But something in me wanted to complete it and being the son of a Defence Personnel, I could not think of giving up!

There were days when I felt like quitting CA. However, the fact that I cleared CPT and IPCC exams in one go, completed my 3 years of articles and just had one more exam, I kept chasing CA with the HOPE that this attempt might be my last attempt!

Finally, after 8 attempts I cleared my CA Final exams and became a qualified Chartered Accountant in 2014. 

"Was all the struggle worth it?"

Yes and No!

When I think of it now I could have probably chosen an alternate to CA from ICAI and still gone ahead with my goal of being a successful financial professional. But back then all I wanted was 'to overcome the fear of failure and persist', so I kept pursuing CA.

However, those years when I kept failing and kept giving my exams made life very difficult for me (and my family), maybe I should have pursued CPA or ACCA instead of struggling so much. But no complaints – CA has made me very STRONG.

What did CA give me apart from the two words ‘CA’? CA has given me the COURAGE to overcome the fear of failure. CA has TAUGHT ME that luck also matters but luck will be in your favor ONLY if you continue working hard because in the journey of success there are no shortcuts. In the end, I want to be known as a man who never failed because I never accepted my failures.

Also Read

Chartered Accountants and Depression - How to Mentally Approach the CA Exams

"My Advice On How to Overcome Fear of Failure and Pass CA Final Exams."

The most important thing – Work on your mind. Sometimes mental blockages could cause repeated failure.

You should know what you want from your life. If pursuing Chartered Accountancy is the means to ACHIEVE YOUR MAIN GOAL then chase CA else chase what leads you to your goal. Following this route, you will achieve what you want in life easier and faster.

If you are struggling with CA exams and your main goal is to move to another country/work in a Big 4 Accounting firm then you can consider CPA(US), CPA(AUS), ACCA or even do some specialized courses. There is no point in getting depressed and stuck. So your aim should be on your GOAL. Do whatever it takes to reach your end goal.

Moreover, when you get registered in a CA firm sometimes you have to deal with the same clients for 3 years during your articles (Bank audits in my case) because of which I got very less exposure in taxation. So my suggestion is to always SEEK AND ASK for a variety from Audit to Taxation to everything during your articleship period so one gets an overall exposure.

Wrapping it Up...

If pursuing Chartered Accountancy is the means to ACHIEVE YOUR MAIN GOAL then chase CA else chase what leads you to your goal. Following this route, you will achieve what you want in life easier and faster.

Today I have my own CA firm, I travel around and currently working on my travel blog. I discovered my love for traveling during my articleship, so that’s a big thank you to CA. After every failed attempt I would take a short trip and discover the real me.

Now It’s Your Turn...

Have you faced any struggle in your CA? After how many failed attempts you achieved success?

What was your study plan for the CA final exams? Or do you want to share some tips to pass the CA exams?

Drop your views in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.

You can connect to Sumit on Facebook at - Sumit Dawar.

(Image edited by Ankit Lodhi)

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