How to Clear the CMA Inter Group – 1
The CMA Intermediate examination represents the second level of the three stages one needs to clear to become a Cost and Management Accountant (CMA) licensed by the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of India (ICMAI). CMA Intermediate consists of 2 groups.
Group 1 includes Paper-5 (Financial Accounting), Paper-6 (Laws and Ethics), Paper-7 (Direct Taxation), and Paper-8 (Cost Accounting), and Group 2 includes Paper-9 (Operations Management and Strategic Management, Paper-10 (Cost & Management Accounting and Financial Management), Paper-11 (Indirect Taxation), and finally, Paper-12 (Company Accounts & Audit).
This article shall talk about the points that you need to cover to maximize your chances of clearing the CMA Inter Group – 1 in the first attempt. We recommend that you build the right mindset for attempting the CMA examination. If you are preparing for CMA Foundation, check out this article on how to clear the CMA Foundation in the first attempt to get in the right mindset and then come back to this article. So, if you want to know how to clear the CMA Intermediate in first attempt (1st group), keep reading!
- Financial accounting is all about memorization of the journal entries. You can try to understand how those entries are written (for example Bills of Exchange or Consignment Accounting), but unless you have commerce background, you are better off writing down the journal entries for different transactions on a paper and memorizing the same.
- At the end of the Financial Accounting examination paper, you shall find at least 15 marks worth of questions that are short-answer/short-note based. Those questions are often based on the concepts from different chapters, so you CANNOT afford to skip any parts of the theory.
- Practice writing and drawing financial statements by hand. It’s tempting to simply write the journal entries and be done with the questions, but your speed shall not improve unless you completely answer the questions by hand.
- Do NOT skip the following chapters: Accounting Standards, Accounting for Non-Profit Organizations (NPO), Royalties, and Partnerships (if you have the time). Those topics carry huge marks and skipping them drastically reduces your chances of passing the examinations.
- Read aloud the theory parts of the chapters if you can learn from hearing and reciting the information; reading is often quicker than writing and hence, it will save you ample amounts of time.
Laws and Ethics
- Laws and ethics are about memorization and application of concepts to scenario-based questions and caselets. You might need to read this subject a bit every day so that you do not forget the various laws.
- Stick to the ICMAI study material only (study material, RTPs, and MTPs). This goes for CMA Intermediate preparation in general, but in terms of theory subjects like Laws and Ethics, it’s even more important so you don’t get confused studying 5 different versions of the same law.
- Avoid rewriting large chunks of information. Laws and Ethics are completely theory-based subjects, and you will only be wasting your time. However, you can make note of the main points to remember for any law which will help you recollect the information with ease when you are revising.
- Instead of spending hours reading the study material and trying to understand what a law is all about, check out SuperProfs’ simplified videos on Laws and Ethics to get the idea of what each law is all about quickly.
- The Companies Act, 2013 is the biggest chapter in the syllabus, but if you can study it like a story instead of mugging up the concepts one after another, you are likely to retain more information in memory.
- Avoid writing or memorizing the years for the different laws unless you are 100% confident that you will get them correctly in the examination. We suggest that you do NOT take the risk, because ICMAI does not reward you extra marks for getting the dates or years correctly, but you will certainly lose marks if you get those wrong.
- Do NOT memorize the Section numbers for the various acts unless you are 100% sure you will get them right in the examination. From our experience, we would advise you to not try.
- Make a list of all the deductions under various sections and memorize those with their given amounts. For example, Under Section 80C, one can claim a total of INR 1,50,000 as a deduction from their taxable income.
- For chapters like Residential Income, make sure you create tables that summarize the information (for example the bases to determine whether a person’s income should be taxed or not).
- Practice as many questions as you can. Questions from the direct taxation subject can be lengthy and you may need much more time to complete them.
- Draw the “Steps to Solve” for each kind of questions on charts and stick them up where you can see them. An example of this would be how the taxable income of an individual is computed under Income from Salaries.
- Do NOT skip the 5 heads including Income under the Head ‘Salaries’, ‘Capital Gains’, ‘House Property’, ‘Profits and Gains from Business and Profession’, and ‘Income from Other Sources’.
- Cost accounting is the core competency of Cost and Management Accountants (CMAs), so Cost Accounting (Paper-8) is one of the most difficult papers, so do not underestimate it at any point.
- Do NOT skip Materials, Labor, and Overheads; those 3 chapters form the base/core of the whole of Cost Accounting syllabus.
- Construction Costing and Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) are relatively simpler chapters; therefore, ensure that you can master both as they are an easy way to score marks.
- Print a list of the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) from 1-24 and stick it where you will be able to see it every day. This way, you shall not forget that information.
- There can be a lot of formulae in Cost Accounting, particularly in chapters like Materials, Labor, Overheads, and Standard Costing. Maintain a formula sheet with those on it and study it at least 2 times per day: once in the morning and once before you go to sleep.
Those tips above will certainly boost your chances of clearing the CMA Intermediate exam in the first attempt, but they are no substitute for sincere and dedicated efforts. We recommend that you create your own CMA Study Plan.
All the best!
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