Accounting, Costing and other practical subjects Preparation Tips
I would like to start my article by giving you a simple example. If a football player just watches the football matches of his past performance and performances of the best players in the world, will he be able to perform during the actual matches? I don’t think anyone reading this will think of ‘Yes’ as the answer. It will be simple two letter word ‘NO’.
Expert observed many CMA students in the past who expected the answer of the above question to be ‘Yes’. Not literally for football matches but will tell you how.
They used to read the questions and answers of the practical subjects, may be more than two-three times. They used to think that if we are taught something in classes/tuitions and if we read the same twice or thrice, that will be sufficient for passing the CMA exams. But friends, it’s not the truth, and the bitter truth is that this method doesn’t work. The fact is that I have seen many students fail miserably because of this habit. I don’t want you to make the same mistake(s) in your career and exams, so am writing this article for benefit of the student community.
It is indeed very simple technique for dealing with practical subjects, but not following this simple technique may cost you. So, please follow this technique if you are logically convinced to apply the same.
Continuing with the football game example, I would like to make it very clear at the beginning that a practical subject needs quite a lot amount of practice to master it, especially for CMA final exams you should be aware about how much expertise institute expects from CMA finalist. I know many of you will say that it takes time to practice sums/practical problems. But, I suggest and recommend that it’s better to practice 10 problems on your own rather than reading 50 questions and answers from solution book.
What is required is practice, practice and practice. I will tell you something which will convince you that what is being explained here is true.
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I have heard someone say laughingly that “Even if we are taught 100 practical problems in classes, what we face in exam is 101st problem.” What I want to convey is that, what you do in those three hours exam is to face and solve new problems by using your existing knowledge and experience. Now, what you can do about it? How you will make sure that you are able to face this situation of attempting and answering unknown problems.
(Now, that’s exactly what is going on in the football match. This is the real match – facing new problem and solving it) Why am I trying to correlate the football game and your exams? Because it’s your practical game and not something that you can mug up and vomit in papers.
I want to simply convey that you need to practice what you are actually going to do in exam hall. The steps mentioned in this article are steps I used to follow for my exam preparation. And believe me friends, till today nobody has ever told me a better method of learning and I am sure the method is going to help all of you immensely. These are simple formulae for success in practical papers.
Step 1: Read theory properly before practical problems:
Before starting with any practical problems, read the theory of the chapter thoroughly and don’t move on to practical problems unless you are very sure that you understood the theory well. Please note that theory comes as a savior in practical papers because it takes far less time to attend and write answers of theory questions as compared to solving practical problems of the same weightage in marks. Learning theory very well helps in attempting difficult and unknown questions.
Step 2: Formulae, formats, journal entries:
From reference books or classes books, go through the basic formulae and formats that are given. If the chapter involves journal entries for different situations, then learn those journal entries and make mental notes of what are the practical aspects involved in the same like how you will do working and how the respective ledger accounts will be prepared, etc.
Step 3: Learning practical problems:
Start understanding the simple problems by reading and noting how various calculations are made and try to figure out how the solution is arrived. Two or three problems can be tacked in this manner to acquaint you with the practical part. If you have already attended classes for the chapter, you can skip this step and directly move on to step 4 or 5.
Step 4: Practicing by yourself without referring to answers:
Assuming that a reference books have simple problems in the beginning and tougher ones as you move ahead in the chapter, you will need to start solving the problems yourself from the 4th or 5th problem of the book in that particular chapter.
Note on tackling with the frustration:
At first problem that you will tackle yourself, chances are that you will fail miserably; you may not even come to know how to start solution of this problem. Don’t worry; this happens with everyone who tries to do something on their own. It’s a football game and unless you practice, you are not going to win the World Cup (yes, for a CMA student it’s more than India winning a World Cup).
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Step 5: Facing the battles and keep progressing:
This is the time when you need to challenge yourself for becoming better each time. Each time you take a new problem, create an exam type situation, and try to apply all your existing knowledge to solve the problem at hand. The process will make you better each time you try to apply your brain to solve the problem (puzzle). I used to take them as a kind of puzzle or challenge and tried to become better with each such practice.
It’s better to face frustration in your reading leaves: Am not going to scare you but should tell you at this very moment that rather than facing this frustration in exam hall, face it while you have got the time to experiment. Sometimes you will be successful and sometimes you won’t be able to solve the problems, but rest assured that the efforts won’t go waste because the brain is already becoming smarter in this process and you will surely be benefited while facing actual situation where there will be new problems in front of you and you will be able to answer it with ease.
Step 6: Mastering the solutions:
When you become confident about solving problems on your own, you can shift to another chapter. For getting the confidence, you need to check in the reference book or practice manual about lengthy problems. You should try those big and bulky questions also on you own because they are the real test of your abilities, all others were league matches and practice matches. These big lengthy problems are like semi-final and final matches. If you can do it to the extent of 80% accuracy, then nobody can stop you from getting good marks in that particular chapter. It’s worth spending time on attempting those questions even if it takes one hour for one question.
Logic behind the method and scientific explanation:
- This is the process of elevating yourself from an intermediate student to the final level student
- In the process, your brain is adapting itself to solve the problems on its own and without looking at answers. While we have the habit of auditing and reading the practical problems, it gets habituated with that kind of practice and as a result becomes blank in exam and makes errors.
- Rather than spending time on reading 50 sums of a chapter two time over, it is recommended that you practice 10-15 sums on your own and then you can just go through the other new types of adjustments by reading. There is no need to go through 100 sums in a chapter. It will be sufficient if you fairly cover and attempt all range of problems on your own.
- The process is capable of long term learning and retention in the brain unlike the ordinary process where you will forget the matter within seven or fifteen days.
It’s very important to have grip on using your calculator also. You should be able to carry our calculator operations without looking at the calculator. You should at least have that much practice for practical subjects. It will save at least 15 minutes in each paper which can bring about 7-10 marks difference in each practical paper.