This blog will take you through a lot of useful resources, experiences, tips & tricks while you are preparing for CA Foundation Exams.
1. What is the overall structure of the CA Foundation Exam?
The CA Foundation Exam is divided into 4 subjects with a minimum passing criterion of 40 marks for each subject and an aggregate of 200 marks overall.
|Paper||Subjects||Marks||Time Allotted in Exam||Assessment|
|1.||Principles & Practice of Accounting (20% Theory, 80% Practical)||100||3 Hours||Structured|
|2.||Business Laws & Business Correspondence and Reporting||Business Laws – 40 Business Correspondence and Reporting – 60||3 Hours|
|3.||Business Mathematics & Logical Reasoning & Statistics||Business Mathematics – 40 Logical Reasoning – 20 Statistics – 40||2 Hours||Objective (100 MCQs with 0.25 negative marking)|
|4.||Business Economics & Business and Commercial Knowledge (BCK)||Business Economics – 60 Business and Commercial Knowledge – 40||2 Hours|
Please Note – No set-off or exemption is granted for any of the subjects.
ICAI Registration for the CA Foundation exam is done in 2 parts:
- Course Registration – This registration is to be done in advance depending on your attempts Before 1st January for May Attempt and Before 1st July for November 2021 Attempts.
- Exam Registration – This is to be done to register for the attempt and the window for the same opens 2-3 months before the exam is scheduled.
2. What kind of timeline does the CA Foundation preparation take?
Being your first professional exam, a student must ensure that they enroll themselves with a Coaching Provider who has the experience of Coaching the students across all levels of Chartered Accountancy Course.
CA Foundation syllabus takes nearly 500 hours of first-time study with your coaching provider and 300 hours of self-study. This typically spans over 6-7 months as:
Coaching: 4 – 4.5 months.
Self-Study & Exam Preparation – 3 months.
It is recommended that you try to complete the entire syllabus in the first read at least 3 – 3.5 months before your exam the help of chapter-wise tests, cluster tests and prelims.
3. What content should I use for my CA Foundation Preparation?
Base content to be used should be that of your Coaching Provider. However, it is critical that you also go through the content provided by the ICAI which must be kept as your central reference.
Visit here for the below material:
- ICAI Study Material
- Past Examination Papers
- Revision Test Papers (‘RTPs’) – Issued by ICAI a couple of months before each attempt. They have chapter wise questions to help revise certain topics.
- Mock Test Papers (‘MTPs’) – ICAI conducts mock exams before each attempt.
*Pro Tip – For additional practice, especially for the MCQ subjects, students can make use of Scanners of collated questions available online. Check here.
4. How can I make time crunching my superpower and how many reads of the syllabus are advisable?
Break down your entire portion into groups of subjects (Structured and MCQs). It is recommended that you take up at least 2 subjects a day to ensure efficient study and keep monotony at bay.
We would recommend 3 detailed revisions and a mock revision from exam perspective for a thorough knowledge of the topics.
The number of hours you dedicate per day in your Self Study Leave period should gradually increase. It may be fair to plan more frequent breaks and smaller study slots in the beginning to set yourself in motion. We would recommend starting off with 6-7 hours a day and eventually escalating it to 8-9 hours at your peak.
Suggestive Timeline (PS: It may vary depending on your level of pre–preparation and your comfort with the subject)
|Number of whole days for||1st Read||2nd Read||3rd Read||4th Read|
|Milestone to be Achieved||Planned cluster tests||1st Mock Exam||2nd Mock Exam||3rd Mock Exam|
|1st Read||44 days|
|2nd Read||20 days|
|3rd Read||18 days|
|4th Read||8 days (Exact Mock of one day before the exam)|
|Revision & Buffer||10 days|
The above chart gives a complete day-wise perspective of each subject. It is recommended to allot half a day per subject and devise a schedule accordingly.
E.g., When 12 days have been allotted to Accounting in the 1st read, take 24 half days to cover the portion and take up some other subject in the other half of the day.
5. Can I do a selective study of certain topics within a subject or do I need to know it all?
Selective study is NEVER an option – you never know what portion of your syllabus will be tested in your exam.
However, to learn about the critical topics and their weightage and more importantly, for you to know which topics YOU will need extra effort depending on your ease, refer to this document issued by ICAI. Click here.
6. How important is it to prepare summaries for the various subjects and how do I prepare such handy summaries?
Revisions are the key to clear CA Foundation and the best way to effectively revise again and again is to use watered-down versions of your notes.
|Accounting||Maintain a log of important and tricky questions with the concepts and a repository of formula formats and specimen journal entries.|
|Law & English||A consolidated list of section numbers across various Acts will help to recall the section numbers in the exam paper. Make compact notes of Grammar Rules for English.|
|Mathematics & Statistics||Make a repository of all the important formulae, shortcuts, and concepts.|
|Economics & BCK||Develop summary notes for the various concepts and for statistics record of facts and figures.|
Make effective use of ICAI developed summaries “Reference for Quick Revision”.
*Pro Tip – Record your understanding of comparatively complicated topics through voice notes so that you don’t waste time on them again.
7. How important is it to practice Mock Exams?
The CA exams can well be described as a game of chess – the best trick to know your way through exams is practice. Mocks give an idea of what’s to come – the nerves before the exam, problems relating to recollecting and associating questions to the related topics, dealing with the anxiety of not knowing and managing your speed.
It is advisable to schedule at least two mock exams along with several chapter-wise and cluster tests.
When attempting mock exams for the MCQ based subjects, use OMR sheets for efficient practice. You may get a limited number of sheets for rough work – practice to make judicious use of the sheets while giving mock exams.
8. What are the presentation tips and tricks to crack the structured papers of Accounting & Law?
The most important tip in presentation – Make the Job of the Examiner Easy!
Steps form an integral part of your ACCOUNTING PAPER, – Make sure you don’t miss out on any questions. You may not know the entire solution to a question but try to explain as many steps as possible and grab those marks! Ensure that you add a working note wherever necessary to make your answer detailed and comprehensive.
In BUSINESS LAW & ENGLISH, make sure your answers are crisp but detailed. Quote section numbers (as much as possible), explain the provisions, correlate the question with the provision and then give a conclusion. In case of lengthy answers, try to break down the various points into bullets to help the examiner navigate seamlessly across the answer.
While there is no ICAI recommended format for the answers – refer to 4-5 attempts’ past papers, and the last 3 RTPs, MTPs to get an idea about expected questions and the recommended formats to answer the same.
9. Which calculator is allowed for the Exam?
A student must use a Cordless Portable Calculator with up to 6 functions, 12 digits and 2 memories. Checkout this one.
10. Which Color pen is allowed for the ICAI Exams?
As per the recent notification, only Black Ball Point Pens are allowed for the exams. However, request you to read in detail the terms and conditions outlined in your hall ticket for timely changes if any.
11. What are the major challenges faced by students while attempting the Exam on the D Day & how must I prepare in advance to meet those challenges?
|Anxiety before the exam||Set aside your books an hour before the exam, Stay confident|
|Recollecting and associating questions to the related topics||Attempting mock exams|
|Managing your speed|
|Inability to scrunch the syllabus in the 1.5 days||Prepare handy summaries|
|Dealing with the stress of not knowing||Do not take up a new topic 1 day before exams|
|Excessive Fatigue||Sleep for 6-7 hours before exams, stay hydrated, do not go overboard with your studies|
12. Some suggestions on how I can manage time & stress and sail through efficiently?
Here are a few simple tips that will help you calm your nerves, keep track of time, and avoid burnouts, which is extremely important.
- Peak at the right time – do not overburden yourself by studying for 8-9 hours right at the beginning
- Schedule in buffer days for contingencies
- Keep Sunday evenings free to rest and unwind – it helps you get set for the next week
- Relax in breaks by having a chat with family/ friend, meditating, listening to music – steer away from any kind of books/ reading, preferably avoid excessive screen exposure
- Stick to a nourishing diet and avoid oily meals that may upset your belly, make you drowsy and ruin your mood
- Rest well by sleeping for 7-8 hours – NEVER compromise on a good sleep
- Stay fit by going for a run or working out/ Doing yoga
- Stay hydrated at all times
- Do not compare yourself with your friend who is also studying for the exam. Each one has a different process & no one is right or wrong. What works for you, works only for you.
That’s all from our end for now! Stay consistent and keep practicing!
Stay tuned for How to prepare One Day before the Exam Day!