Direct Tax is known as one of the most challenging & lengthiest papers of CA Final. Moreover, only its name is enough to strike fear in the minds of CA aspirants.
The entire syllabus is covered in Direct Tax Modules of CA Vinod Gupta comprising of five modules which cover a vast range of topics. A summaries version for revision is also published by him in form of “Summary cum Revision Module”. For practicing, the Question Book is also published which consist of solved question papers of last 29 years, as per the latest applicable law.
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There are numerous laws, amendments, and topics that are quite complicated and difficult to understand on your own, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pass the exam by self-studying. It is actually possible to pass Direct Tax paper on your own, but in order to do so, you will have to say goodbye to all kinds of distractions like social media, television, smartphone, PC, etc. Moreover, devote yourself entirely towards the exam.
I’d be lying if I said that studying for a few hours a day is sufficient to pass the Direct Tax paper by yourself. You will have to sacrifice a lot, and it will take a big chunk of time from your days until the exam. An average student studies for around 12-14 hours a day, but it is subjective, and you should make your study plan according to your own caliber.
How to study Direct Tax (DT) by yourself?
- To begin with DT, first of all, you will need to do a deep self-assessment to have a realistic idea about your capabilities. The key to an ethical self-assessment lies in honesty. The more honest you will be with yourself, the more you will learn about your shortcomings. You can also try to do a SWOT analysis to get a clearer picture of your current state.
- After the self-assessment, now you will have an idea about how much you know, how much you have to learn, and what are the difficult topics that require special attention from your side. Now make a study plan and follow it sincerely. You should study for anywhere between 8-14 hours and revise whatever you have studied before wrapping up for the day. It is also important to include proper tea/coffee breaks in between the schedule to make it less hectic & to give yourself sufficient time to eat and rest.
- Now after the self-assessment and making a schedule it’s time to get started. Direct Tax is a pretty lengthy paper which is divided between both theoretical and practical aspects, and one of the biggest mistakes done by the students is that they usually tend to focus on theory part and don’t practice enough practical questions from every module. Moreover, that is the biggest reason that they fail in their attempt. So, to begin with, DT, I’d recommend you to choose CA Vinod Gupta’s “Direct Tax Modules” and “Summary cum-Revision Module” because it covers every part of Direct Tax in detail which is essential since you cannot afford to skip on any topic for the exam.
- Your goal should be to study the whole syllabus at least three times before the exam if you are aiming for good marks.
Addition Tips for CA Final Direct Tax Self-Study
You can divide it into three phases:
- Complete all the five modules in detail and then revise everything in conjunction with the summary cum revision module. Also, try to prepare your own notes while studying from the modules, and you can also check out the YouTube videos for challenging and tough topics in DT. It is preferable to make notes on the book itself. It will help you with revising faster.
- Now go through the whole Direct Tax Modules again and study from the notes that you prepared earlier. This strategy will help you retain many things which you might have forgot or skipped by mistake during the 1st phase. Revising the whole syllabus, again and again, will increase your learning capacity and will also give you a better understanding of the subject. During this revision, mark the important concepts and important/ detailed/ tough examples and questions as revisionary which you must go through in detail during the phase-3.
- Now for phase 3, revise everything mostly from the VG Sir’s summary cum revision module. As you may already have developed a good command over the concepts and laws by now, you should now focus extensively on solving the practical questions from VG Sir’s question book which contains the solved questions from past 28 years. Now, after solving enough practical questions from each module, you should be ready for your DT paper in CA Final.
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DOs and DON’Ts while preparing for the Exam.
- Never ever try to cover the entire syllabus from compilers or short notes. Many students make this mistake and depend solely on summary books while preparing for DT, and as a result, they miss out on many important topics and end up messing their exam.
As I mentioned already, DT requires more attention and detailed study from the student’s side and skipping out on important topics is not good from the examination point of view. Always remember, your goal should be to cover up the entire syllabus without missing out on any topic rather than finishing up the Direct Tax from summaries.
A good summary book can prove to be very resourceful for the last-minute study but only if you have already done an in-depth study of every concept from all five modules of Direct Tax.
- While preparing for DT, many students revise provisions multiple times without relating them to the questions asked by the ICAI, which is not going to help. To have a better understanding of the concepts, always try to learn the provisions with respect to the questions asked so that you actually end up learning and not just reading.
- Never skip the small topics like REIT, Securitization, Tonnage Taxation, Taxation of HUF, Co-operative society, agricultural income, etc. They are just as crucial since they cover around 16-20 marks in the paper. And if you are planning to get an exemption you can’t leave such things on luck, and you must cover each and every module in detail.
- If you have bought the Set of 5 modules, it consists of past examination questions at the end of every chapter. In that case, there is no need to buy any question book. If you do not have the updated version of the Modules, then you should buy the updated question book. To be quick with the practical questions, always try to relate them with theories and mark important questions and practice extensively. Still, watch out for repetitive sums as they are more likely to be asked in the paper.
- In the exam, the questions are asked in a twisted manner to confuse the students; that is why it is essential to have a sound understanding of the laws and amendments. In general, a question asked in exam is having multiple concepts covered in it. Make sure to solve enough practical questions to develop a good command over the subject.
- You want to self-study for the exam, and that is a good thing, but I’d still recommend you to checkout CA Vinod Gupta Virtual Classes for Direct Tax. He is an excellent faculty for Direct Tax (CA Final), which is clearly evident in his teaching style. He explains difficult topics and concepts of DT in a very conventional way, which is very easy to understand. Moreover, he always supports his explanations and statements with practical life examples that not only makes it more relatable but also gives a better level of understanding.
Passing the Direct Tax paper in CA Final is not a child’s play, but it doesn’t mean that it is not possible at all. In fact, if someone makes the right strategy after proper self-evaluation, they can not only pass the exam but can also score an exemption in DT. Just make sure to choose the right textbooks and study every module in detail while solving different practical questions that are twisted from the same concept. Because in the end, you will only be benefitted by in-depth study and practical knowledge.