Things CA students may overlook/ misunderstand

Every CA student is in search of guidance almost every day in his life. In order to tackle bigger hurdles of our qualification, we generally overlook the most obvious, smaller ones. This leads to confusion and we often end up making wrong decisions about choosing our resources or tuition centers. Many of you might be familiar with the problems I am about to list down but please try not to ‘​overlook’ these.

1: The grid represents the weight and not exact marks: 

But ain’t it the same thing? Sorry to disappoint but no! The grid in the study text represents the weight of a designated portion. For example; There’s a portion in of “Accounting for Non-Current Assets” which carries a weight of 30%. This does not at all mean that the question(s) of Non-current Assets in the exam will always be of 30 marks. This simply means that even if a question relating to “Accounting for Non-current assets” carries 15 marks or 45 marks, it is still worth 30% of your total exam percentage. 

Moreover, the weight breaks down your exam into ​separate examinable portions​. This implies that you must pass almost every separate portion of the grid to pass your exam. Complicated, right? To put it simply, it can be said that you need to obtain 50% in each grid separately. This procedure is meant to discourage selective study.


2: Teachers are only there to help: 

You play 60-70% of the role in passing your exam. The teacher is there only to ​teach and guide​, not pass the exam for you. No doubt it is necessary to have a competent teacher to teach you the core of courses and clarify your concepts but at the end of the day, your own effort matters more. You have to ​detect your weaknesses​ and then discuss them with your teacher. The only time you can blame the teachers is when they fail to cooperate or they are not helping you out after you have played your part. Therefore, take all the help you need from them or change the tuition center if you are not comfortable. If you are an introvert or you prefer avoiding ​a typical classroom environment, ​Online classes may be the best for you. ​Suit yourself for the best results​.

A friend of mine was enrolled in a “heavily criticized” tuition center but still managed to complete his​ AFC+CAF​ stages in ​1.5 years​. Who should we give credit to?

3: ICAP question banks are great but not enough: 

Most of you will not be surprised, especially with accounting in mind. We all know accounting requires thorough practice. We need as much material as possible to get a grip on accounting courses. Below is a table for guidance:


Benefits of ICAP QB

Limitations of ICAP QB

Contains different “flavors” of questions

Some solutions are incorrect

Gives an idea of what to expect in exams

Insufficient practice material for some topics

Very reliable as issued directly by ICAP

  Very concise solutions which often makes them difficult to comprehend

If you feel like you are up to average in accounting or some areas of accounting, you might want to initially practice from another book, available in the market, before attempting ICAP QB. Moreover, other practice books cover all the topics in much more detail and provide much more practice material. If syllabus content is changed, you will find updated solutions in practice books. Please contact your teachers for the best recommendations.  

4: The best study resource is "study texts" for theoretical subjects: 

Boom! Did not see that coming, did you? When it comes to subjects like Business Law or Audit/Assurance, many of the students prefer other resources to prepare for exams. Those resources are not harmful at all, in fact, they do help a lot. However, please keep in mind that there is nothing better than ICAP’s very own study text for subjects like these. If you pick up a suggested solution from past paper and match it with the material in ICAP’s study text, you may find no difference at all! Other books help you understand the content better but they are not suggested to be used in ​crafting your answers. Even if you hate the wordings of the study text, it is recommended to read the whole study text (​at least once​) before appearing in exams. I know people who used only study text and cleared the exam in the first attempt. It is doable if you want, ladies and gentlemen!

5: Pattern matters: 

This tends to be the most overlooked. One of the most common reasons for failure in ICAP exams is due to writing out of context. In other words, we fail to understand the underlying requirement of the exam question. Therefore, we really need to study the questioning and answering patterns in order to better understand the requirements of the examiner. The better you understand the examiner, the better you attempt the exam. Studying answering patterns help you develop original answering techniques. “But how do we do this?” Well, for starters, attempt a past paper and match your solution with ICAP’s suggested solution. Furthermore, refer to examiner comments relating to that specific question. And finally, discuss the whole case with your teacher. As I said before, teachers are there ONLY to help!

Hope after reading this article, you will avoid these mistakes and keep in mind the suggested solutions.  Share with your friends and class fellows too. 


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