CA Final Preparation Strategy - The 120 Days Plan

This article is an effort to help you in planning your preparation. I am preparing this plan based on a four month leave for the first timers and are attempting both. Others can also plan their preparation based on the principles in this article. The plan should be based on your strengths, ability and ease with the subjects. The ideal preparation calls for a 3-time revision. First time the reading should be detailed as well as complete. Selective preparation might be helpful in completing the subject’s revision fast, it won’t be of much help if your luck runs out and questions are asked from the uncovered portion.

The preparation should be in such a way that you must be able to complete the revision on the day before your exam. Your efforts of preparation all boil down to one thing – “your ability to revise the whole subject on the day before the exam”. It doesn’t matter how many times you have revised the subject if you are unable to revise it before your exam. It technically has zero value if you are unable to revise on that day. I know it is improbable and unrealistic to expect to revise the entire quantum of the subject in a day or two (ISCA might be an exception though). I haven’t been able to revise the subject in its entirety for any exam.

I know that I’m presenting you with contradictory views. You might be thinking that he is expecting us to revise the entire portion and at the same time he is giving a statement that it is unrealistic to revise it before exam. That is the irony of CA exams. The vast portion makes it improbable to revise on a single day.For any average guy, in an exam, there are three parts. One part of question paper he knows perfectly. One he knows, but slightly doubtful. The remaining part, he either has a slight idea or no idea. The principle is to make sure the first part weighs more than the others and the last part weighs as low as possible.

I chose four months as preparatory time because at the time of publishing this article there is only four and half months left for the exam and in Hyderabad, where I stay, 4 months is the norm. I expect that you have completed your coaching. If you are studying on your own then it is reasonable to expect that you have completed studying it -ideally twice or reasonably once. Self-study though ideal, requires more efforts.

The first revision should be elaborate, complete and detailed. It is a good habit to prepare short notes but time is a big constraint. 4 months equals 120 days. The three revisions shall be divided in the ratio 3:1:2. Since time is a constraint 3-time ideal preparation cannot be expected to be completed. Hence every subject is expected to be revised twice and the subjects in which you lack confidence gets another revision. For me theoretical subjects are a bit hard. But it need not be the same for you. Based on the above ratio for first revision you get 60 days. A subject like ISCA gets revised within 3 days but Direct taxes may require 10 days. But I am of view that 60 days is a good time period for all the subjects. Allocate the days based on your abilities and requirements.

By the time you complete the first revision you will be able to identify the subjects with which you are at ease and the subjects with which you are not. You will have 20 days for second revision. Revise the subjects which you find hard and of the view that requires another revision. If you are unable to identify those or of the view that more than 3 subjects require revision, then it is advisable to skip the second revision and start the third (phase) directly. Since you have completed coaching and a revision I think you will be able to categorize the subjects as above.

The third revision is the most vital of your preparation. Based on the above given ratio you will get 40 days. If you skip the second part then 60 days. By the time you reach the third revision it is reasonable to expect that you are thorough with your subjects. Short notes should be prepared by this time atleast for the least important topics, since for the most important topics, it is ideal to prepare completely. Please schedule your FR revision in the end. 5 days is appropriate time for it. It is also recommended that ISCA and DT are scheduled before FR. DT is mandatory because of the vastness. By the time you reach your DT exam more than 15 days elapse and any gap more than that effects your DT preparation on the day before your exam adversely. However, for ISCA it is recommended that 4-5 revisions be done.

Crash courses are not recommended during this preparatory period since they eat away most of your preparatory time and leave you with less time for revising on your own. Practicing every problem with pen and paper is a huge waste of time. Ideal suggestion is to practice only few so as to make sure your speed is good enough to complete your exam in 3 hours and to familiarize with the formats required.