CA CPT exam: A four-month plan to prepare for the exam
Every year, the number of students pursuing chartered accountancy has been increasing. To pursue CA in India, students must give the CPT or CA Foundation exam after Class 12.
Passing this exam makes them eligible to get registered with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and pursue the next levels. This exam is the stepping stone to a bright career as a CA. However, not many are able to pass this exam.
In December 2017, close to 60,000 students attempted the exam and only 38% passed. Moreover, students only need 30% in each subject, and 50% on an average to pass this exam. The exam is usually held twice a year and the next exam is in December.
As a CA aspirant, if you wish to give this exam in December this year, you have approximately four months to prepare for it. It is strongly advised that due to the nature of the exam, you spend as much time preparing as you can.
So here is a four-month plan to help you prepare:
Months 1 and 2: August and September
Spend the first two months on the four subjects that constitute the CPT syllabus. Ensure that you prioritise your subjects.
Start with studying accounts. This is considered to be the one paper where you can score well. In the end, this paper will be responsible for increasing your average and pushing it above the 50 mark. If you have a commerce background, you are already familiar with the basics. If not, start with the basics and work your way towards the problems. Cover all chapters and ensure that fundamental principles like ‘debit’ and ‘credit’ are clear.
Next, pick up mercantile law. This subject is the second most mark-fetching subject. Ensure that you have a clear understanding of various acts and legal terminologies.
Next, move on to economics. Macroeconomics is considered to be easy, and you should ensure that you know about national level economics and government policies.
Lastly, pick up quantitative aptitude. This might be a little difficult if number crunching isn’t your thing. You might even spend all of September studying this subject alone so ensure you have enough time. You may need to solve many problems to just arrive at a single answer in the MCQs, so ensure that you learn how to manage time while studying this subject.
Month 3: October
This is the month when you spend time practising and revising your study material. Remember, the last subject that you have studied is quantitative aptitude. If this has been a tough road, pick up something you enjoyed and were interested in - probably, accounts. Read through the concepts again, especially if you are a non-commerce student.
Now, solve basic questions to refresh your memory and build tempo. Next, move on to the tougher questions. Mark areas where you slip up and revise these concepts again. Ensure that you do this for all subjects - practising and revising until you feel confident enough to take the exam.
Month 4: November
This is your mock test month. Solving mock tests and attempting previous years’ question papers is extremely important since this gives you the real feel of the exam. It helps you deal with anxiety and develop time management techniques. Moreover, you can also map out areas where you spend more time and plan the rest of your paper accordingly.
Remember, CPT is a 200 mark paper and you just have 2 hours to solve it. Moreover, this paper has negative marking, so you must ensure that you are completely sure of an answer before you mark it. During this time, ensure that you not only solve papers but also keep getting your doubts and queries solved. If this is not done, you will just end up repeating the same mistakes.
Buffer time: December
Last year, the CPT exam was held in mid-December. This should probably be the case this year as well. The first 15 days in December is your buffer time. This will help you in case you fall behind schedule due to various reasons.
You could either take longer than expected to finish your portion, or need time for school and college exams, or need time to recover from an illness or a personal emergency. Having buffer time is always useful. If you stick to the plan, you can use this time to solve more mock tests and revise - more practice can never hurt.
The CPT exam is extremely tough, but with enough practice, you should be able to pass it. The CA journey is long and hard, but if you have the dedication, you can sail through the tough exams and strenuous articleship, and on towards a bright future.
(Ratrey is vice-president (educational content) with Toppr.com. Views expressed here are personal.)