Paper nine under the module three of CS Professional Program is an open book based examination where the students are required to choose any one subject as per their preference out of the list of eight elective subject provided by ICSI. Here in this article we will be guiding you to complete details regarding the concept of open book examination, choosing your elective subject, preparing and appearing for the same.

  1. Concept of Open Book Based Examination
  2. Important Points for an Open Book Exam
  3. Choosing an elective subject for you
  4. Approach to the paper and Preparation Strategy
  5. Structure of the Question Paper
  6. Attempting the Elective Subject

Concept of Open Book Based Examination:

Open Book Examination is a unique concept in Indian Education System given the fact not many students in the country appear for an open book examination. In this examination, you are allowed to carry your notes, books and other publications that will help you appear for and successfully clear the examination. This is the most underestimated paper in the entire CS curriculum and the aspirants have a notion that this is a very easy subject which doesn’t require practice and hence in the end they have to pay the price for having such an approach. The point of conducting an open book examination is to test your time management and problem solving skills and develop the same. Therefore realising the true importance of this paper is a massive step towards clearing the paper with good grades.

Relevance of an Open Book Examination in the CS Curriculum:

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A Company Secretary being a professional is expected to be considerably alert and possess impressive problem solving skills. After getting the degree when you practice, clients will approach you with their issues and you are expected to guide them. Given the workload a CS has and the competition in the market, consuming too much time for a particular issue is never acceptable. Here comes the importance of having problem solving skills and time management skills- Open book examination aims to develop exactly that.

Important Points for an Open Book Exam:

  • In the examination hall, you are not allowed to consult your fellow examiners or exchange your study materials or notes etc. with each other
  • Examiners are prohibited to carry any electronic device such as laptop, tablets, I-pads, palmtops, mobile phones, smart watches. Health bands etc., blue tooth operated device, scientific/ programmable calculator, or any other electronic gadget at the examination hall

Choosing an elective subject for you:

This is one of the toughest tasks for a CS aspirant, to choose which elective subject he should choose for himself. However, following are the list of options that have been provided by the ICSI amongst which you are expected to choose one:

  1. Banking- Law and Practice
  2. Insurance- Law and Practice
  3. Intellectual Property Rights- Laws and Practices
  4. Forensic Audit
  5. Direct Tax Laws and Practice
  6. Labour Laws and Practice
  7. Valuation and Business Modelling
  8. Insolvency- Law and Practice
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Note: The goal and rationale behind choosing a particular subject for yourself shall be to make sure that your choice of subject shall make things easier for you and you are familiar with it so that you have to put in minimum effort. Avoid being peer pressured into choosing a particular subject and prevent resorting to various selection parameters such as “length of the institute’s study material” etc. Moreover, one of the biggest misconceptions regarding these papers is that choosing your particular subjects would open up doors and opportunities in the future. This is totally baseless and you have to realize the fact that your choice of subject and your association with it in CS Final will have no impact whatsoever in determining your expertise in it. Hence choose a subject that suits best for you.

Approach to the paper and Preparation Strategy:

  • Something which is most commonly observed is that CS aspirants don’t even touch the book before appearing for the exams considering the examination to be a cakewalk. This is nothing but negligence which you should definitely avoid and there have been many students who have missed out on securing an All India Rank because of the price they had to pay for their negligence.
  • However this doesn’t mean by any means that you have to study this paper rigorously, this too is not advisable. One of the smartest ways to secure good marks in an open book examination is to be aware and familiar with your ICSI study material and notes. Make sure you are familiar with the contents in the book including the sub-topics that are not covered in the index itself. For that purpose, the best way is to prepare a master index for you.
  • Secondly, you must simply highlight the key words and statements in your books that you feel would enhance the quality of your answers in the examination hall. This would also save up your time that you would otherwise use to frame up answers in the examination hall itself. In the due process, make sure that your book and notes are neat and clean, an untidy and scribbled book will not help you much during the exams.
  • Thirdly, if you are planning to refer you notes then make sure they are well organized and they are properly numbered so that it is easy for you to refer the same.
  • Exam anxiety especially for an open book based examination can affect your overall performance and hence make sure you know good strategies so that you can attempt most of the paper. Using highlighters, sticky notes while preparing for the papers is always appreciated.

Structure of the Question Paper:

  • For subjects numbered 1-6 and 8 above, there will be a total of six questions asked. Question number 1 will carry 40 marks and will be case study based comprising of 1000 to 1500 words. Questions 2-6 will carry 12 marks each preferably having practical orientation
  • For subject number 7 mentioned above, there will be a total of six questions asked out of which question number 1 will be a case study based question carrying 40 marks comprising of 1000 to 1500 words. Question 2-4 will be of 10 marks each

Question 5 and 6 will be carrying 15 marks each.

Attempting the Elective Subject:

  1. The main reason why most of the students fail on this exam is they do not strategize beforehand. They simply open the book on the examination day itself and start copying word by word. This way they cannot complete the paper, miss out on key words and statements and the quality of answers expected. Therefore our strategies will surely help you clear.
  2. Questions in open book exams require complex answers. You are thus expected to give a considered answer using reason and evidence to back it up.
  3. During an open book exam, try answering the questions you are familiar with before answering the ones where you need to open the book. This will make it possible to complete the exam on time.
  4. Never copy the information from the book word to word and pass it off as an answer. The main goal is to test the conceptual clarity and doing this would surely defeat the purpose.
  5. Don’t over-answer; rather write answers which are concise, accurate, thoughtful and based on proper logical reasoning.

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