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How do I Decide Whether to Attempt One Group or Two Groups when Pursuing the CA Course

18 June, 2019
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This is the question that’s on the lips of almost every CA Student. What’s the best option? Should we try one group at a time or attempt both?

The answer is … complicated! It depends on you, the depth of your preparation and other external circumstances.

Let’s explain further.

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Should I Attempt One Group or Both Groups When Pursuing the CA Course?

To make an informed decision, you’ll need to know about the passing requirements:

If you appear for one group, the minimum requirement to pass the group is that:

  • you obtain a minimum of 40% marks in each paper of the group AND
  • you obtain a minimum of 50% marks in the aggregate of all papers of the group taken together.

If, however, you appear for both groups simultaneously, you clear both groups if:

  • you meet the minimum requirements to clear each group individually OR
  • you obtain a minimum of 40% marks in each paper of both the groups, and a minimum of 50% marks in the aggregate of all papers of both groups taken together.

So, what does these passing requirements have to tell us about whether not to take one group or two?

If you analyse them in detail, it turns out that for a well-prepared student, the passing requirements when appearing for both groups turns out to be, in a sense, less stringent!

Why?

Well, suppose you’ve achieved 40% marks in each paper of the first group, and 60% marks in each paper of the second group. Based on the criteria indicated above, you’d pass! But if you had only appeared for the first group of papers, you’d have ended up failing the group.

Here are two scenarios that show you some of the ways you'd pass even if you'd ended up failing a group individually.

Scenario 1:

Sample marks obtained when appearing for both groups
Group Name Paper Number Marks Obtained Comments on Pass/Fail of individual group Comments on passing both groups when appearing for both at the same time
Group 1 1 41 Failed this group because the aggregate of all the papers in this group taken together = 176 which is less than 50% Passed both groups if appearing for both together because aggregate of all papers = 401 which is >50% and also each paper's total is at least 40%
2 40
3 53
4 42
Group 2 5 55 Passed this group because the aggregate of all the papers in this group taken together = 225 and marks obtained for each paper is at least 40%
6 60
7 45
8 65

 

Scenario 2:

Sample marks obtained when appearing for both groups
Group Name Paper Number Marks Obtained Comments on Pass/Fail of individual group Comments on passing both groups when appearing for both at the same time
Group 1 1 51 Passed this group because the aggregate of all papers taken together in this group = 206 which is greater than 50%; also marks obtained for each paper is greater than 40% Passed both groups if appearing for both together because aggregate of all papers = 400 which is exactly 50% and also each paper's total is at least 40%
2 60
3 53
4 42
Group 2 5 51 Failed this group because the aggregate of all the papers in this group taken together = 194 which is less than 50%
6 51
7 44
8 48

Scenario 2 would really hurt if you take appear for each group individually because you'd have ended up just failing group 2 papers. But if you had taken both groups together you'd have passed both!

If you play around with a few more scenarios, you'll see that that there are many ways to pass both groups of papers even if you end up failing a single group.

So, in this sense, the passing requirements when appearing for both groups of papers is less stringent.

There are several more advantages to appearing for both groups at the same time. These are as follows.

Some More Advantages of Appearing for Both Groups at the Same Time

Need Not Waste Attempts

You know that the exams are held once every 6 months. If you appear for a single group, you’ll have to wait another 6 months to attempt the second group of papers. Why wait if you are well prepared? You’ll save 6 months, and perhaps more importantly, you’ll save 6 months of study time! 

More Cost-effective

This ties in nicely with the first point. You’ll not have to spend additional time, effort and money for the extra 6 months of study you’ll save. And you don’t have to spend extra money on registration! After all, for CA Intermediate, the registration fee for a single group attempt is Rs. 11,000 while for both groups it is Rs. 18,000(!). Money saved indeed!

More Chances to get Exemptions

When you are attempting both groups of papers, you’ll have to appear for 8 exams. As you may know, you can get exemptions if you obtain 60% or more marks for a paper(s). That is, in the next 3 attempts, you are exempted from appearing for those paper(s) in which you’ve obtained greater than 60% marks. So, even if you fail overall, but you’ve obtained greater than 60% in one or more papers, that’s an advantage. And because you are appearing for a total of 8 papers, you have more chances to get exemptions!

Now that we’ve talked about several of the advantages of appearing for both groups at the same, let’s look at some of the disadvantages.

Some Disadvantages of Appearing for Both Groups at the Same Time

Need to Study for Both Groups of Papers

You’ll have to study for both groups of papers – a total of 8. This requires a lot of hard work, dedication and time. This especially hurts during the last days of revision. You'll have be very well prepared and learn how to manage your time well. (Here's a resource on how to plan out a study time table for your exams.)If you are pursuing other courses simultaneously, or you are under time pressure for other reasons, you may want to think of clearing one group at a time. That is, if you feel that your preparation in a group is lacking, you need to bite the bullet and appear for only one group.

Have to Appear for 8 exams

You need to appear for 8 exams in total. This does take a mental toll, of course. Those last two weeks of your examination may appear unending. And it would especially hurt seeing your friends/other people who attempt only one group free in half the time! Not to mention the fact that there might be scheduling conflicts with exams from other courses - an issue if you are pursuing multiple courses simultaneously.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it. These are some of the advantages and disadvantages of appearing for both groups simultaneously. As you can see, there is no “correct” answer – it entirely depends on your preparation and external circumstances. But on balance, we feel that appearing for both groups at the same is the best option for most students. Not only does it save you an attempt, it’s more cost-effective in the long run. And in the sense we’ve talked out above, the passing requirements are “less stringent”.

What do you think? Will you be appearing for one or both groups in your next attempt? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Bharat

Part-time mathematics enthusiast. Loves esoteric and quirky things. Bibliophile. Has a wide range of interests including playing chess and pool, juggling, and creating puzzles of fiendish difficulty. Grammar Nazi.

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