Success Mantra from CA/CS/CMA Rankers

Listen to what the rankers have to say

Success Mantra from CA/CS/CMA Rankers

Securing a rank at All India level in a professional exam is a distinct dream, which is extremely difficult but not impossible.

We asked a few all India Rankers from different years to share some Do’s and Don’ts for the students to be successful in the exams and secure a rank. Most of these rankers hold several degrees and are successful in their respective work domains. Careersanta Team is extremely thankful to all the below Rankers for contributing their valuable inputs for this page.

Here is what they had to say.

Rankers Do’s Don’ts



CA IPCC - 27th All India Rank

CA Executive - 3rd All India Rank

CA Final(2019) - 1st All India Rank

CS Professional - 1st All India Rank

The single most important thing in the preparation of CA/CS exams is to have a proper timetable. Do make a comprehensive schedule for the last 120 days before the exam as the course is vast and the biggest problem that is faced by candidates is that they think that the entire syllabus is going out of their control. As a follow-up activity, break your day into 3-4 shifts of 3-4 hours each and maintain a timetable for that.

A very crucial component of the preparation of any exam is to go through the Revision Test Papers/Mock Test Papers of the past 2-3 attempts and also the previous year question papers to get a fair idea of what the exam expects from you. A more handy alternative to cover this is to use a Scanner of any trusted author.

15 minutes of reading time given before the exams is often overlooked by most of the candidates but is the most crucial. You should ensure that you have read all the questions and mark the important adjustments. To utilize this time to decide the question to leave out in choice and the order of attempting the questions. In a nutshell, do a major part of thinking in those 15 mins and utilize the next 3 hours for execution.

Do try to complete all coaching before leaves –Ideally, 4 months before the exam, do complete all your classes and focus solely on revision and practice by self-study. It leaves a much stronger imprint on your mind of the various concepts.

Don’t change your material – This is one common mistake that candidates do just a couple of days/weeks before the examination. Never do it. Chose your resources/materials after thorough analysis, but once decided stick to it till the end and believe in it.

Don’t compare with others, everyone has their schedule and pace as it may affect your natural ability to read and comprehend things. Everyone has their style of study and only you know what suits you the best.

Don’t attempt answers in clumsy big paragraphs. Rather, make sure that you present your answers in small points mentioning the conclusion and analysis. You need to acknowledge that the easier you make it for the evaluator to evaluate, the more beneficial it is.

Do not discuss a paper with friends or talk to people at the exam center. Though it may help some people to freshen up their minds, it is better to avoid any distractions and save all the energy for the 3 ¼ hours-long battle. (Remember 3 ¼ and not 3)



CA CPT (2013) - 9th All India Rank

CA Final (2016) - 2nd All India Rank

Get your basics correct and revise at least an hour before examination to be confident enough to write the paper. Allocate each hour before examination day for individual topics and then to make sure you are able to justify that hour for that topic, prepare own notes in the class and prepare accordingly during the study leave you get.

Have to proper plan and manage your time properly to make sure you cover everything in the syllabus but in the order of priority.

For managing studies and articleship together whatever you study should be applied and tested in the practical world by way of articleship.

Write only what is relevant to the question asked. It's quality that matters not quantity. The answer should be clean and legible for the examiner to understand.

Do not take your articleship lightly. The experience gained in the articleship gives a long way in understanding of the subject and its application.

Do not leave any topic in the syllabus. Have a proper plan for completing all the topics in the exam

Do not take unnecessary pressure on yourself and lose focus. Take adequate breaks in between while studying, take a week off, spend time with your friends and family, watch movies, etc. Be calm and composed, take rest and have a sound sleep before the exam.

Do not scribble or leave any blank space in the paper which may leave a bad impression on the examiner.

Do not beat around the bush and your answers should be precise and to the point

Jyoti Maheshwari


CA CPT (2012) - 6th All India Rank

CA IPCC (2013) - 8th All India Rank

CA Final (2016) - 3rd All India Rank

Do your studies with dedication and put your entire soul in it. Always do conceptual studies. Do lot of writing practice and target for completion of the paper within 3 hours.

Take a sound sleep during the examination period. Be positive, passionate and highly motivated. Manage yourself for this 4 years which will take care of remaining 40 years of life

Nothing is impossible, if you are determined and ready to put 10000% of efforts to achieve it. Our syllabus is not tough, the only thing it requires is our mental stability.

Don’t get stressed out or frustrated and lose self-confidence simply believe in yourself. Don't miss out any topic / chapter looking at the past examination trend. Don’t compare your preparation with others .

Jay Gosalia

CA, MBA Student (IIM-B)

CA CPT - 10th All India Rank

CA IPCC - 23rd All India Rank

CA Final (2016) – 35th All India Rank

Identify your strengths and weakness well before the study period. Its very important to identify which subjects you need to work on, since in CA you need to score min. 40 in each subject. Try to work on your weak areas with a target of 60 (you will score atleast 40) & polish your strengths and set a target of 75+ (you will surely score more than 60).

Make sure you understand all the topics of each and every subject (except for ISCA, since its not practical :p) thoroughly during your 1st reading itself. It's the 1st reading that will stay with you throughout irrespective of the number of revisions you make.

Be smart while studying for the 1st time, since at the end everything will boil down to how much you are able to revise on the day before the exam as it will provide a psychological boost while writing papers. Try to make short notes, use markers & highlighters during initial study period which will help you decide on To-do at the D-Day (Most important for CA Exams). On last day, u need to cover minimum 75% of the subject, not in depth but only the areas which you have highlighted.

Lastly, on the day of exam, sleep atleast for 7 hours, stay fresh and reach the centre atleast 30 minutes in advance. Never let anxiety affect you and use your initial 15 minutes in the best way possible, identify questions from your strength areas and spot tougher ones which may be attempted at last or probably left in option.

Finally, have faith in yourself. You have put in 4 months of hardwork and given your best. Result is bound to be great.

Take advice from everyone, but do whatever suits you the best. Never compare your number of revisions or quality of notes or author of materials with any other student. Each and every person is different and should never be compared.

Do not isolate yourself during the study period. You need to take adequate breaks while studying, take a weekly off, meet friends, watch movies, etc. Do remember the concept of diminishing marginal utility.

Do not discuss your paper post your exams. I know its very tough to resist & i couldn't resist myself. It had always impacted my next paper where i lost effectively 3 hrs of my time.Try to avoid this mistake.

Shubham Singhal


CA Final(2018) - 4th All India Rank

Do prepare summary notes during the first time study itself especially for the topics you find difficult/ important concepts to avoid time loss and irritation on exam day.

Notes can either be handwritten or highlighted in the study material. Bear in mind that the main purpose of the notes is to help you revise the whole content in 1.5 days before the exam. It's worth spending 1 hour now if it saves even 5 minutes on the day before exam.

Do try to remember section numbers, rules, SAs names, ASs. This surely gives you an edge over other people. People say that there is no harm in not writing section numbers. But it's not true. You have to try to write papers better than other people.

Do give your mock tests seriously so that the main exam will also feel like mock. Prefer giving ICAI's mock test. Also prefer giving the Mock test at the institute itself instead of giving it yourself at your home. It makes a difference which you will understand later on.

Do select the pen with which you are going to write your exam and buy 15-20 pieces of it.

While writing answers in rough, write as if you are writing it in your main paper because that will become a positive habit. Otherwise, you will struggle in the exam hall trying to figure out how to present your paper.

Don’t worry if you cannot plan your upcoming 5 months right away. You can roughly plan your first time self study for about 2-2.5 months and thereafter you will be in a better position to plan ahead.

Do not plan for 5-6 revisions of the whole syllabus and instead try to revise important concepts 7-8 times. That's neither possible nor required and you may unnecessarily feel pressurised and demotivated.

Do not overdo during the preparation time. Save your energy for the last few days of CA Final as consistency is more important than Intensity.

Jay Jhaveri


CA Foundation (2004) - 17th All India Rank

CA Inter (2005) - 10th All India Rank

CA Final (2008) - 8th All India Rank

Do undertake disciplined and consistent study with at least 3 months of self study

Don’t do any classes in the self study period no matter how good a class or professor it is (rationale - the subject u do a crash course or whatever it is called towards the end you get an illusion that it helped - yes may be it did for the subject u did the class but it screwed up your time on another and that led you to failure)

Tarun Kumar Singhal


CA Inter (1974) - 4th All India Rank

CA Final (1975) - 8th All India Rank

Do study regularly & consistently in a planned & disciplined manner. Prepare short Notes on the basis of self study, which would be useful for Revision.

Do write briefly (concisely) in clear legible handwriting. Use good vocabulary and keep your paper clean. Bear in mind that ultimately, you are communicating with the examiner and so the Examiner should be enticed to read what you have written & awards you good marks.

Don’t keep Exam Leave for preparation but only for Revision. This can be achieved by studying regularly on daily basis.

The Formula is : Prepare Thoroughly but Revise Selectively during Exams Leave.

Umanath Agarwal


CA Inter (1973) - 47th All India Rank

CA Final (1976) – 49th All India Rank

Always be confident about your intelligence and never underestimate yourself. Also, always remember that there is absolutely no correlation between your performances in school and college exams and your CA exams. A survey of 10 years’ Rank Holders (20 exams) proves this point beyond any doubt. My own case proves this point further. I passed out my B.Com in 1975 in second class but secured Rank in both Inter and Final CA. In those years, it was unthinkable to complete CA within one year from Examination but I and my friend were only 2 persons in India to achieve this distinction in our time.

Do not be nervous that you got 3 months leave and someone else got 6 months leave.

During the time available to you, study sincerely and honestly with dedication.

Lokesh Chandak


CA Inter - 9th All India Rank

CS Inter - 10th All India Rank

CA Final (2008) - 14th All India Rank

CS Final (2007) - 15th All India Rank

Getting rank or success in exams is no accident and mystery, it is simply a result of your attitude and your attitude is a choice. Hence, rank is a matter of choice and not chance. It is not rocket science but just doing same things smartly and differently than everyone else. It's a long road with lot of hard work, long hours of studying, zero shortcut. Once you reach end of this long journey there is no looking back. Choice is yours to invest time for long term gain or get short term gain and lose long term advantage.

Don’t stop putting hard/smart work while studying and getting low, depressed or losing hope with one failure and thinking that getting rank is not easily possible. Failure is simply a result of making few mistakes repeatedly, not studying hard and not making "Success" as a choice.Ex- I had no rank in CA/CS 1st level, but never lost hope, continued studying hard and finally success smiled with rank in both Inter and Final levels



CA Final(2019) - 27th All India Rank

Do complete your classes on time. It is ideal to have 4 months exam leave for self-study for first attempt

Do give importance to each subject and every mark matters.

For practical subjects, ICAI material is sufficient. Rather than solving other authors' books solve ICAI material many times.

For theory subjects, a compilation of all previous question papers, RTP, MTP is good for practice & trend analysis

Don't choose your optional subject in a hurry. Take time, analyze the course content and decide as per your interest

Don't try to solve every author's MCQ. Do only ICAI MCQ and clear your concepts in depth.

Don't read compulsory questions during the reading time given in the exam hall. Read other questions and categorize them in order of easy to tough & attempt accordingly

Don't compare yourself with others. Everyone is unique. Self-motivation and consistency in the study are very critical factors for clearing the exam.

Bhavik Chokshi


CA Final (2008) - 41st All India Rank

Start preparing early - Finish majority of practical subjects 5-6 months before the exam so that the last 4-5 months can be devoted for strengthening Theory. Solve at least one set of past exam papers & compare them with suggested answers. Also time yourself while writing. This helps in time management during main exams. Sleep well. Have a study plan & stick to it - Plan to finish at least 3 readings before your exam for theory and solving PM& RTP for practical subjects.

Do not over exert. Don’t surround yourself with Negative thoughts/ people - Fire in the belly & a Can do spirit is a must. Don’t wait for last minute preparation. Don’t give higher weightage to a few subjects like DT, FM and ignore subjects like IT. One needs to be a Jack of all. Don’t panic in the last two months / during exam. Holding your temperament under pressure is very crucial.



CA Final - 19th All India Rank

CA final is like an ocean. So before you start any subject and your day, do plan and have your timelines fixed. If you don't plan, you would be lost.

Remember you have to complete one entire subject in 1.5 days. Do prepare summaries, charts, concise notes from that point of view. Start filtering topics from the beginning based on their importance and give weightage accordingly.

Do give yourself one written practice before the actual exams. It helps to overcome nervousness and lets you know the areas of improvement.

Start with 10-12 hours and gradually increase to 12-14 hours a day. Even daily, stretch up to 90% of failure.

Don't let social media distract you. You would not be missing out on much even if you don't use it.

Don't use too many books and confuse yourself. Stick to one and use it till the end. Don't avoid ICAI's study material, RTP's and MTP's

Don't be result oriented rather be process-driven. Trust the process and enjoy it. Even if you fall out of your schedule, reschedule it and start again. But don't give up.

No need to separately spend time on MCQs. Just be clear with your concepts and you are set. For testing yourself, do solve ICAI's published MCQ's.

Don’t compare your progress with your fellow friends.

Shreyans Mehta

CA, MBA (ESCP Europe)

CA Final (2008) – 37th All India Rank

Plan, study, re-plan and study some more! It is important to understand that clearing CA Final requires a definite skill-set. One needs to plan out the 3-4 month study period in detail. And then follow it with a lot of discipline. There will be many instances when things won’t go as planned. But then, one needs to quickly re-plan and start studying again. An unstructured 3-4 month effort will be a waste. Keep in mind your strengths, weaknesses, exam patterns, suggested answers etc. and plan and study accordingly. No battle was ever won without a strategy, CA Final is probably the mother of all battles!

Do not let fatigue get to you! Remember you have to get to the PEAK during those 3 hours of the exam. A tired mind will not be able to recollect what you have studied earlier. Schedule your 3-4 month study period in such a manner that you are fresh and raring to go on the day of exam. Take regular breaks, watch movies, play cricket and quickly get back to studying. De-stress yourself at regular intervals. As SRK says, "Woh 180 minute tumhari zindagi ke sabse important 180 minute hai!" You have to be at your best during that time!



CA FINAL - 44th All India Rank (2018)

Know your Strengths and Weaknesses – Before starting your prep for any professional exam, you should know your strengths and weaknesses which will help you to analyze how much time you need to devote to different topics and subjects.

Plan your study period – You need to have both long-term and short-term plans. Long-term plans for a number of revisions of the entire syllabus and short-term plans to devote number of days for each subject. Try and keep buffer days in between all targets so even if some days don’t go as planned you can cover-up.

The first reading is very important. Try and understand each concept in the first reading thoroughly. It doesn’t matter if your first reading takes some extra time. Conceptual clarity is very important for professional exams as the questions can be asked in any form.

Try and identify the concepts and questions that you will be revising one day before the exam. This is very important as it is not possible to revise the entire portion in a single day or 1.5 days.

Don’t isolate yourself completely during the study period. You need stress busters when you are studying for over 12 hours in a day.

Don’t compare your preparation with others. Work as per your strengths and weaknesses.

Don’t skip topics just because the past trend shows they aren’t asked in exams often.

Don’t be stressed. Trust your plan and process.

Aneri Dani

CA, LLB, LLM (International Taxation)

CA Final (2010) - 47th All India Rank

Set realistic targets for each day's study

You can not go through ever thing on in the last day. So PREPARE (Do not borrow your friends notes) concise notes that are enough for your last day revisions.

Write for 30mins each day to ensure you can complete your exam paper in time in legible handwriting

Do have a look at the institute modules, most of the so called tough papers have questions picked up from the modu

Don't let the fear of exam get over you... instead get over the exam fear from day one and you are definitely gonna b well prepared

Don't run after imps, notes from different classes, comparisons with friends etc etc. Stick to your notes and plans, of course assuming you have set out a well thought plan keeping in view your strengths n weakness

Camellia Dey


CA Foundation - 19th All India Rank

CA Final (2008) - 15th All India Rank

Regular study is must as opposed to 1month or 15 days of super intensive hard work.

Don’t undermine the theory part of papers like accounts and fin management. Because of time crunch answering theory questions take much less time than solving problems. So for example if 10 mins are only left for the exam and candidate has to make a choice between answering a theory and solving a problem, it would be better to attempt theory as it would have better chances of completion and lower chances of mistake.

Namita Agarwal


CS Foundation (2004) - 18th All India Rank

CS Final (2008) - 11th All India Rank

In my view, the biggest challenge of a professional exam is firstly the extensive syllabus and its revision on the day before the exam and secondly the difficulty level, the latter being unavoidable. To tackle the first challenge, do make notes (whether in the study material or separately) as you study or mark out the important and difficult sections from the easy sections. This is the most effective way to do the revisions next time especially the day before the exam. If you try to read the entire portion again, it would not be possible practically and you would miss reading the important portions of the subject which you would not remember unless you revise it before the exam rendering all your earlier preparation useless.

Don’t get into the habit of keeping certain portions of the syllabus as “option” as this would be an exam oriented approach rather than a professional approach. As a professional, you need to know the basic of all topics irrespective of the level of difficulty. You may not be an expert in all topics but you must at least try to go through all the topics once unless it is completely unimportant topic from academic as well as professional standpoint (at the end, due to lack of time you may anyways not be able to complete everything but don’t adopt the option strategy from the start). Just imagine if a doctor says that I can’t diagnose this disease as I had left this disease in option for my exams – the same is not expected from a commerce professional as well. Even from an exam perspective, it may happen that the topic which you have left in option may come as compulsory question and it may cost you 6-months which is not desirable. However, if you have read it once before, you may be able to attempt the question and fetch few marks at least.

Pooja Agarwal Mehta


CS Final (2008) – 21st All India Rank

Start preparing well in advance for any professional exam to avoid last minute anxiety.

Don’t just read the material, understand it as well. More often the questions would be indirect which would test your understanding of the topic.

Julee Parmar


CA Inter (2006) - 41st All India Rank

Do write a paper for each subject atleast once for practice to get the exam feel

Do try to understand the logic rather than simply the process or method for better recall and communicating to examiner

Don’t read anything new on last moment as you may lose confidence if you don’t understand the same

Don’t refer to too many authors for the same subject

Niyati Dholakia


CA Final (2015) – 35th All India Rank

Work hard because there is no substitute for it.

Be positive and overcome all obstacles with a positive mental attitude.

Do indulge in deliberations on specific issues and doubts.

Understand the concepts from the very base, application will follow.

Stay focused, disciplined, confident and always remember that there is nothing in this world that a man cannot achieve.

Don't waste time otherwise time will start testing your patience.

Stay away from negative people because that ruins the spirit of education and might eventually demoralise you.

Don't be weak, don't be nervous and don't be afraid of the question paper. Everyone will get the same question paper and everyone will be as puzzled as you are. The attitude will make all the difference!

Jyotin Gagrani


CA Foundation - 28th All India Rank

Smart planning coupled with hard work is the perfect recipe for success in CA exams. Capitalize on your subjects of strength and work hard on your weak areas to cross the finishing line in each level of CA exams.


Careersanta Team is extremely thankful to all the above Rankers for contributing their valuable inputs for this page. We would be glad to receive contribution from more and more rankers to benefit the student community – those interested can send their write-up on the above format with their details on

If you wish to reach out to any of the rankers above for specific query or guidance, drop a mail to



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