Written by Moaaz Iqbal
Are you new to CAF? Have you been wondering which subjects are the toughest? Are you in need of guidance about the best subject combinations? Have you ever thought if it was possible to clear 4 subjects in one go? Well, it can all be managed by giving this article a read.
A survey was conducted recently in Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi. This survey consisted of 2 portions:
1.Ranking the subjects by difficulty
2.Suggesting combinations of 3 and 4 CAF courses
Only CA students took part in it, as they are the closest to reality and therefore, can paint the picture more accurately. Thus, all the information gathered here has been purely derived from the results of the survey. (Candidates were chosen at random to eliminate the possibility of bias)
Subjects ranked by difficulty: Least to most difficult
1. Intro to Economics & Finance - CAF 2
2. Business Management & Behavioral Studies - CAF 4
3. Principles of Taxation - CAF 6
4. Intro to Accounting - CAF 1
5. Financial Accounting & Reporting 1 - CAF 5
6. Audit and Assurance - CAF 9
7. Financial Accounting & Reporting 2 - CAF 7
8. Business Law - CAF 3
How to make a good combination of 3 subjects?
For starters, you need to understand that the subjects can be divided into 3 categories:
1: Low difficulty tier (CAF 1, 2, 6)
2: Moderate difficulty tier (CAF 4, 5, 9)
3: High difficulty tier (CAF 3, 7, 8)
Now choose one subject from each tier to make the most reasonable combination. However, this is not it.
The second thing you need to realize is your capacity. This includes the time you take to understand a certain concept and the time you take to prepare a certain chapter. Keeping that in mind, if you are able and willing, you can even choose the 2 most difficult subjects with a moderate one and clear them all in one go. Trust me, I have witnessed everything myself. Furthermore, If you have a high studying capacity, the date sheet will become least relevant for you, as you will always be well prepared.
Again, it depends on you. Your capacity and planning make the difference. Believe it or not, 2 of my fellows opted CAF 3, 4, 5 & 6 and cleared them in the same attempt. Yes, it was their first attempt for all 4!
The best approach for selecting 4 courses is combining 2 low difficulty tier subjects with 1 moderate and 1 high difficulty tier one. Including one high difficulty tier subject will make your planning easier for next attempt as you will be left will 1 or 2 high difficulty subjects, rather than 3, to deal with. Moreover, it always better to attempt 4 subjects in March/Spring, because you will have more time available for preparation, compared to September/Autumn attempt. Course completion is always delayed due to Ramazan and 2 Eids, in Summer.
Suggested combinations for 4 subjects:
❏ FAR 1
❏ FAR 2 / CMA
❏ BMBS / IEF
❏ FAR 1
Choosing 3 CAF courses
Choosing 4 CAF courses
§ Manageable combinations
§ CAF clears in a minimum of 3 attempts i.e. 1.5 years
§ You can give time to other activities or hobbies
§ You can focus on what the course is actually meant to teach you instead of just passing the exam
§ Tough to manage but doable
§ CAF can clear in 1 year if you have minimum 1 exemption or else minimum 1.5 years
§ No or very less time to give to other activities or hobbies
§ Makes a good impression in the firm if cleared all 4
We have all heard legends about different kinds of achievements be it clearing 4 subjects in one go or clearing CAF in the first attempt. What these achievements teach us is that with the right amount of effort and proper planning, anyone can make it happen.
The subject ranking shared here is only for your guidance and not some word of God. This can help you plan your CAF. Moreover, this may help you identify an issue way early before it turns into a disaster. For example, if you are finding CMA very easy, you may be missing out on something or the teacher may not be teaching you properly. Similarly, if you are finding IEF or BMBS very difficult, the teaching style of your current teacher may not be suitable for you and you should consider switching.
Last but not least, please do not make impulsive decisions and do not be influenced by irrelevant opinions.
Hope this article helps you or someone you know in the future.