An insight into CPT
Chartered Accountancy, one of the toughest course to pursue. Everyone who has completed this course takes the utmost pride in their success to do so, and everyone who dreams of completing this course look at the former with awe and envy. This is said to be a course that can make or break you. Why is that so? Well CA is a professional course and does not hold the status of a bachelor’s degree. Thus being unable to complete this course leaves you with a mere qualification of a metric pass individual. Horrifying, isn’t it? To give 5 complete years to something so complex, and be left with nothing at the end?
Now everything stated above is what you generally get to know about this course. But what comes easy won’t stay long. The course, though challenging, is worth all the hard work you put in. It brings you respect, wealth and most importantly, unmatched knowledge. Therefore it is a very attractive course to pursue. As the saying goes, “Well begun is half done “, let’s have an insight into CPT(Common Proficiency Test), the entrance exam of CA.
Overview of the exam
CPT is an exam of 200 marks, consisting of multiple choice questions only. There are four subjects and two papers – PAPER 1: Accounts, for 60 marks, Law, for 40 marks. PAPER 2: Quantitative aptitude and Economics, 50 marks each. You need an aggregate of 100 marks and a minimum of 40% marks in each subject to clear this examination. The exam is held in the month of June, generally 17th or 18th of the month. The most crucial aspect of this examination is negative marking, this means that for every wrong answer, you lose 0.25 marks from the aggregate of your right answer. I know it sounds scary, but with good planning and precision, this can be dealt with.
Overview of the course
CPT, though comparatively simpler, is the most important exam of your career as a CA. It is at this level that you learn the most important basics, very articulately. Even though some of the concepts are similar to what you learn in 11th and 12th standard, you understand them from a different perspective, a different level. Thus good coaching is very important. Coaching can be taken either for two months, after your 12th boards, or alongside your 12th standard for a whole year. I personally feel that 2 months would suffice. After your coaching, you approximately have 3 weeks for preparation, and that is usually sufficient.
Paper 1: Accountancy and Law
Accounts is definitely the scoring subject in paper 1. It is a combination of theory and practical questions. Topics include Basics of accounts, Bank Reconciliation Statement, Company accounts, Partnership accounts, Consignment, Joint venture, etc. This can be said to be the most important subject as well because the basics you learn here help you in 4-5 subjects at the IPCC level. Law is the tricky subject, it requires a thorough understanding of the subject. The content, though interesting and easy, can prove to be a hitch if you don’t focus. Practice is the key. The more you work out, the better you learn.
Paper 2: Quantitative Aptitude and Economics Test
Quantitative aptitude is the first part of paper 2. It consists of two subjects -Mathematics and Statistics. The important part here is to manage time. Questions are a little complex and require a very good understanding of the basic concepts. Also, your teacher will give you some amazing shortcuts which make it so easy and quick that it seems magical. This becomes a fun time for students once they adapt to it. Neglecting or skipping any topic in this subject could prove fatal. The second subject of this paper is Economics. Now, one thing we all need to know- Economics is a vast subject and it keeps growing. There is no end to it. Macroeconomics consists of various figures, which are nearly impossible to remember, and Microeconomics has topics which are tough to understand. So this is the tricky part of this paper. You need to be very smart in studying economics so that you cover up all the important parts.
The most important part – Planning. One thing to be kept in mind- the material issued by the institute has to be worked out. The theory and concepts must be referred from your coaching material, but one has to solve all the questions from the module if ICAI. Students generally read the theoretical subjects from the notes provided, and do not practice the questions. This is the first step towards failure. This is an objective based examination, any understating of the concept will be fruitless if you are not able to select the right option. The practical subjects may consist of concepts with which you might be familiar, but they are nowhere close to easy. The ICAI tests you ruthlessly. Unlike your college or school, THE ICAI is not going to show any mercy by setting an easy paper. They want you to learn, to understand. And unless you give them what they want, you cannot expect them to grant you your wish. Take up at least 2-3 mock exams to understand the working of this system of examination.
Generally the first session, that is paper 1 is easier. Therefore your aim must be to secure maximum marks possible in the first paper itself. If you secure at least 60 marks in the first paper, it lifts off a great burden from your minds during the second session. You first need to secure your passing marks, which means first answer the questions you are sure about. Next, you can try your luck in a few questions, stake around 5-6 marks, which means you can guess not more than 20 questions. In the second session, stick onto the questions you are sure about, stake not more than 3-4 marks, and not many from the economics paper. This way you will be able to secure 100+ marks and clear your paper in the first attempt.
I have many friends, cousins, seniors, and juniors pursuing this course. I have cleared CPT last year in June in the first attempt. Having so much exposure, I have reached the conclusion that the only secret to success in this course is consistency and stability. A strategic approach is very important. Panic will lead you nowhere. Perseverance is the key. Have faith in yourself. Your performance in school or college has nothing to do with your success. I have always been a brilliant student in my school days, but that doesn’t make this course a cake walk for me. In fact, it makes this course more difficult. Used to mugging up things seemed to have restricted my ability to questioning theories and thinking out of the box. Here, you learn to earn, thus as long as you’re logical, you can shine. So turn a deaf ear to everyone who says that you cannot do this course because you are the only ones who can prove them wrong.