Common Proficiency Test – a passage to CA

Entering the final few weeks, the last lap, and the foremost lunge towards the CPT? You have prepared for months, all through your class 12 exams and devoted a lot of time, effort and patience. But what can you do to give your preparations the perfect finishing touch? What does it take to ensure that your name features in that elite list of merit rankers?

The Common Proficiency Test (CPT) as it is more popularly known is the entry level i.e. lowest / first level at which a student can start pursuing the Chartered Accountancy course. Till a few months ago, one could begin their Articleship training right after clearing CPT, however the rules have changed and now one also needs to clear the Integrated Professionals Competence Course (IPCC) after clearing CPT to begin with Articleship training. The revamped format should out less pressure on students as now the fate of which firm they train with does not wholly rest upon the CPT scores.

Nonetheless it is imperative to put in our best in CPT and to begin with, you need to first assess yourself and understand where you stand. Only once you realize how prepared you truly are, you will be able to move head in the right direction.

The CPT is made up of four distinct subjects divided into two sessions:

Session I (Two Sections – 2 hours – 100 marks)
Section A: Fundamentals of accounting (60 marks)
Section B: Mercantile laws (40 Marks)

Session II (Two Sections – 2 hours – 100 marks)
Section C: General Economics (50 marks)
Section D: Quantitative Aptitude (50 marks)

The current guidelines of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Indian (ICAI) the statutory body that conducts and regulates the CPT say, a candidate shall ordinarily be declared to have passed the test, if he obtains a minimum of 50 per cent marks, subject to the principle of negative marking in a manner as may be specified by the council from time to time. In its current format, the negative marking is 25 percent or one fourth of a grade.

Subjective smartness:

Fundamentals of Accounting>>>

The ICAI certainly lays more emphasis on this subject as is evident from the marks weightage. Since this is the base of your CA career, you are expected to be strong with the fundamentals. The basic concepts should be studied thoroughly and one should pay more attention to theory as previous years have been more weightage being given to theory questions. Students must concentrate on mastering the theoretical questions that can be asked from various aspects of the syllabus.

Since long questions cannot be asked for one mark, CPT usually has

a) One long problem and four five small questions based thereupon
b) Small questions for one mark each

Hence one definitely cannot leave the lengthy questions while studying, as that means risking four or five marks at one go.

Apart from the theory questions areas that could be focused upon include – calculating depreciating via various methods computing discount / interest on bills, consignment and joint venture problems, good will issue of shares / debentures and others.

Mercantile laws>>>

The syllabus covers basic and structural laws beginning with the Indian contract Act, 1972 (Sections 1 to 75) the Sales of Goods Act, 1930 and the Partnership Act, 1932, KT June 2008 CPT rank Four explains there are three acts of which The Contract Act is undoubtedly the most important and complex. Case studies / illustration for the provisions are a nice way of understanding the relevant laws.
DV, who had missed the All India merit of the August 2007 CPT by merely two marks, adds “Be clear with similar sounding concepts in order to avoid confusion during the exam. The ICAI is known to test you on such concepts”.

General Suggestions

If the ICAI maintains the 25 per cent negative score, the probability is that of every four questions that you answer one might be correct. Thus, the equation becomes +1 – 0.25*3 = + 0.25. On the other hand, if you don’t answer any of the questions you straight away lose four marks.

If you have just started studying only now, start with the basics of accounts and economics and become thorough with it. Study Micro economies first and then head over to Macro. In Quantitative Aptitude practice the statistics part well in addition to profitability and permutations and combination. Studying the initial parts of The Partnership and The Contract act would do you well too.

The study material is the primary basis on which the papers are set. Studying from other books should be in addition to and not instead of it.

And finally, get off the internet and concentrate hard on your studies. This one month of hard work will ensure better returns later in your life. Good luck and do well!