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Direct Taxes- 114 Mark Paper with 30 Marks MCQs. So you’ll get MCQs for 30 Marks and there will be 6 Questions of 14 Marks each with Question 1 being Compulsory and you can attempt any 4 out of the remaining 5 Questions.
1) Syllabus of this particular subject is huge and thus most of students end up only by reading provisions again and again with no or little practice of the problems which ultimately involve interlinking of the provisions. ICAI paper setters are experts and they have to set paper in a manner that most of the provisions are captured in few questions and thus they interlink most of the provisions of the Income Tax Act in one particular question and that is where the problem lies. So, merely reading provision is not sufficient we have to practice lot to crack it down in examination.
Best way to do Practise is to enroll in a Good Test Series to evaluate your preparation levels. Always Remember, experienced people can judge your preparations far better than you can do yourself. I personally suggest to enroll in FIRST OPINION Test series as it is the best one.
2) Next problem could be depending entirely on the Summary Books. Summary Book should be used only when you are well versed with all the provisions. Directly Jumping to summary book can be suicidal. Summary is necessary as it is next to impossible to revise the entire syllabus one day before the examination without a summary book but refer material provided in your classes before picking up summary as the purpose of summary should be revision.
3) ABC Analysis must be done particularly for this subject as it is next to impossible to complete 100% syllabus of Direct Tax/ Revise 100% syllabus one day before the examination. I will broadly be doing the ABC of the direct taxes in this Blog according to my experience with this. This will come later in the Blog first let me complete the reason part. ABC analysis does not mean selective studies rather it means giving more importance to certain topics and lesser importance to others.
4) Presentation of the paper could be another reason why students score less as the examiner only has your copy with him and it’s the copy that should speak up for you. Working notes carry marks and thus you should make it a habit of writing working notes. A correctly solved problem without working notes won’t fetch you full marks. First 2 Questions should be solved with perfection since first impression is the last impression.
Again, to practice & improve your Presentation part, join a Test series, Preferably FIRST OPINION Test series.
5) We as students spend so much time in reading the provisions in Direct Taxes that you don’t allocate time for solving Test series, Past Exam Papers, RTPs and MTPS which are a must as only by solving these materials you will get to know what ICAI wants from us and our presentation will improve.
Above mentioned are few reasons why we scoreless in Direct Taxes. Now I will talk about the ABC analysis.
a) PGBP+ Assessment of Entities+ Deductions (Includes MAT/AMT and these 3 must be done together)
b) Capital Gain and Income from other Sources
c) Tax Deducted at Source
d) Assessment and Appeals
e) NR Taxation (This includes DTAA+TP+ Residential Status)
These Topics cover approx. 70-80 marks of your paper and DT Paper revolves around these Topics only so these must be completed first. Yes, it will take time and you may follow this pattern.
f) Set Off and Carry forward of Losses
g) Charitable Trust
h) Settlement Commission and Advance ruling
k) Sec 64 series
1) As mentioned above don’t rely solely on Summary Book and summary must be used when you have studied from the main modules provided by your faculty. Best Summary Book and a must buy for all is VG sir Summary Book and I would suggest all to buy this book and revise the subject from it whether you have taken classes from VG sir or not.
2) Make summary charts of important sections and these charts must be me prepared by you yourself as when you write a provision you will never forget it. So after First reading and solving a few problems mark the provisions which are again and again asked in the Questions and draw charts for final revision. Don’t forget that you have just 1.5 days to revise the entire subject so make your notes as crisp as possible.
3) Refer a good Question Bank as merely reading only provisions even 5 times won’t fetch you marks unless you have solved lot of problems. Best Question Bank according to me is of Durgesh Sir (DSTC). So, it is a must buy for all. Also, Capsule Book by CA Durgesh sir is Amazing, so you can use that as a substitute of VG Sir Summary.
4) Plan in such a way that you must revise the subject at least 2 times i.e. First Reading, Revision 1 and Revision 2 and with each reading the time should reduce. Mark Important Sections in Revision 1 so that you refer only those sections in Revision 2. Do same exercise with the Question Bank and mark the Important Questions in first reading and refer only those in 2nd Revision.
Write Unit Tests along with the First Reading, Full Test 1 with your Revision 1 & Full Test 2 with your Revision 2. This kind of pattern is available with FIRST OPINION Test series.
5) Focus must be given on MCQs and study resource that I would suggest all is VG Sir MCQ Booklet and ICAI Sample MCQs. These 2 study resources are best and more than sufficient.
6) Start planning for 1.5 days before the exam from now. Most of students fail to revise the entire subject in 1.5 days and thus go into exam with lack of confidence. Plan so well and make your notes so crisp so that you could revise in 1.5 days. This can only happen if you revise the subject at least twice.
7) As far as reading time in examination is concerned, try to strike of one question which you will leave in choice and give A,B, C and so on to the remaining Questions in series in which you will attempt the Questions as first impression is last impression so first 2-3 Questions has to be perfect. This strategy must be followed for all papers.
8) MCQs must be dealt initially in first 40-45 minutes and in one go and rest 2.15 hours must be utilized for 70 marks paper. You should not turn back to MCQs again as it breaks the flow and you just cannot afford to waste even a minute in Direct Tax Paper.
9) Case Laws must be taken good care of as working notes carry marks and case laws and sections fetch you marks if quoted. So even with changed paper pattern a full fledge Case Law Question is not expected but still if written in answering any question can give you an edge over others.
10) Sections need to be Quoted only if you are 100% sure of it as a wrong section gives examiner a chance to deduct your marks. Also, there is no need to mention sub sections as well as it is next to impossible to learn sub sections as well in a subject like Direct Tax. So, keep it simple and focus more on understanding the intent of law and Judgements rather than cramming Sections and Case Laws.
In this Blog I have tried my level Best to give suggestions for Direct Tax Preparation. Further this Blog shouldn’t be taken as endorsement or promotion of any person/ product as this is based on my personal experience and this is an Honest attempt to help CA Finalists.