8 Things you need to know while preparing for CA Foundation Paper 1: Principles and Practice of Accounting

8 Things you need to know while preparing for CA Foundation Paper 1 Principles and Practice of Accounting

In this article, we are sharing the tips & tricks on Preparing for CA Foundation Paper 1: Principles and Practice of Accounting.

What is the structure of the paper?

The Accounts paper of CA Foundation Course (CAFC) is a practical paper comprising around 80% of numerical questions and 20% of theory. 

The paper pattern is as under:

  1. Question 1 is compulsory. It consists of 6 True or False questions of 2 marks each and one or two other questions for the balance 8 marks which may be numerical based or descriptive type.
  2. Students have to attempt any 4 questions from the remaining 5. (Q No. 2 to 6)
  3. Each main question is of 20 marks divided into 2-3 questions ranging between 5-15 marks. One or two theoretical questions of 5 marks each are asked.

Please Note: This is the trend that has been observed over the years. However, ICAI may change its paper pattern and question break-up any time.

What are the examiner’s expectations?

    1. In case of theory questions, emphasis is laid on conceptual clarity and understanding. The examiner will assess the ability of the student to comprehend the question and exercise of good judgement. The reasons given for each must be well-explained and contain the necessary key words.
    2. For all numerical based questions, presentation of the answers (appropriate formats and working notes) will be given importance.
    3. The assumptions made should be reasonable and in line with ICAI.

What should be the source of content?

    1. Content provided by your Coaching Provider along with your personal summary notes can be used as a base. However, ensure that it is comprehensive in its coverage by cross checking it with ICAI material
    2. Past Examination Papers, RTPs and MTPs.
    3. Referencer developed by ICAI for a summarised version of the notes.

Pro Tip: Stick to your base material as a reference. You must avoid changing the source of content closer to examination since that may lead to confusion in your study preparation.

What is the ideal learning methodology & time to be invested?

A minimum of 3 detailed revisions before the exam is advisable to get a grip on the subject and understand the nuances of each chapter. 

Reading Source Time Expected Outcome 
1st A detailed study of every concept involved 7 – 8 days 
  • Eliminate the easy questions and prepare a repository of questions to be practised.  
  • Highlight the important and tricky adjustments so that you can just go through them whenever you revise instead of practicing the entire solution.  
  • Do not attempt to solve every sum – just ensure you know the flow of the answer and make a quick reference list of the important points you must remember about every chapter.  
  • Solve the MCQs and True or False questions in the ICAI module. 
  • Read through the theory of each chapter and mark important points for quick reference. 
2nd A summarised version of the syllabus 4 – 5 days 
  • Cut down the list of questions to be practised in this revision. 
  • Keep reading your notes. 
  • Add to your list of important points as you keep solving sums and making mistakes, so that those errors can be avoided in exams. 
  • Appear for the Cluster Tests if your Coaching Provider provides them.  
3rd A quick revision to cut-down pre-exam study time 1 to 1.5 days 
  • Go through all your notes. 
  • Practice one or two sums of each chapter or solve RTPs. 
  • Appear for a mock exam. (Preferably 2) 
4th The final revision one-day before the exam 1 to 1.5 day 
  • Trust your past preparations and instincts.  
  • Read through all the notes prepared by you. 
  • Go through all important adjustments and earmarked sums. 

Pro Tip: For more practice of sums, you can refer to the Shuchita Scanners available in the market and on Amazon.

What is the appropriate order in which the syllabus should be studied?

Despite the lengthy syllabus, avoid ad-hoc selective studies; follow a method of smart studying and be thoroughly clear with all the concepts.  

Visit the concept of ‘Remember, Revise, Recollect’ all throughout your study preparation. 

ICAI generally covers all of the chapters in the question paper and hence all have almost equal weightage.  

Some trends and observations from the past year examination papers are as under: 

Names of Chapters Type and Weightage of Questions asked 
Preparation of Final Accounts of Sole Proprietors (both manufacturing and non-manufacturing entities) 10 –  15 marks practical question. 
Partnership Accounts 

  • Treatment of Goodwill 
  • Admission of Partner 
  • Retirement of Partner 
  • Death of Partner 
  1. Individual 5 marks question on goodwill. 
  1. 10 marks practical question on admission, retirement or death or a combination thereof. 
Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Organizations 
  1. 10 – 15 marks practical question. 
  1. 5 marks question on individual adjustments. 
Company Accounts 

  • Issue, Forfeiture and Re-issue of Shares 
  • Issue of Debentures 
10 mark practical question on shares or debentures or combination thereof. 
Accounting for Depreciation 10 marks practical question. 
Inventories 10 marks practical question. 
  • Bill of Exchange and Promissory Notes 
  • Consignment 
10 marks practical question. 
  • Sale of Goods on Approval or Return Basis 
  • Average Due Date 
  • Account Current 
5 marks practical question. 
Bank Reconciliation Statement  10 marks practical question. 
Rectification of Errors 5 –  10 marks practical question. 
Accounting Process 

  • Journal and Ledger 
  • Trial Balance 
  • Subsidiary Books 
  • Cash Book 
5 marks practical question from any one. 
Theoretical Framework (all 9 units) 

Introductory Theory on Partnership Accounts 

Introductory Theory on Company Accounts 

True or False Questions. 


5 marks theory question. 

Disclaimer: The above analysis is based on examination papers of the last 3-4 years. The trend may change from time to time at the discretion of ICAI. 

Note: Learn about the weightage distribution over various topics as per ICAI

For the first revision, it is recommended to start with the newer chapters that have not been studied before like consignment, inventories, etc. This can be followed by the chapters that were part of the 12th Std. syllabus and are familiar. CAFC includes similar questions from these chapters, but with a higher difficulty level.  

For the second revision, however, start with the lengthier chapters from which more elaborate and extensive questions are asked, followed by the smaller but equally important chapters, and ending with theory.

How can I ace my exam writing skills?

Accounting papers are known to be lengthy – The best way through it is to know a rough format of your answers in advance by practicing a few answers of each chapter in writing. 

    1. Use the 15 minutes reading time judiciously to strategize your way through the paper.
    2. It is very important to choose the right order for attempting the paper – ensure that you manage to attempt 40 marks in the first 1-1.25 hours.
    3. In case you cannot figure out the solution to a particular question within a designated time, make sure you move ahead to the next question.
    4. Ensure that all formats are properly made with headings, Dr. and Cr. Written at the top of each ledger, lines properly drawn with a ruler, and a rupee symbol clearly written at the top of the amount columns.
    5. Working notes form a very integral part of the answer. Ensure that you make detailed and comprehensive working notes explaining all calculations.
    6. Make sure you don’t miss out on any questions. You may not know the entire solution to a question but try to explain as many steps as possible and grab those marks!

Pro Tip: Start writing your exam with the question you are most comfortable with – it will help to boost your confidence for the paper.

How to prepare on the eve of the exam?

We recommend that you start your Accounts preparation 3 – 4 days before your exam date depending on your comfort and preparation. This will help you cover the syllabus in detail and will also leave some space to deal with pre-exam nerves. 

Divide the entire syllabus into buckets and study it accordingly. Make your own study plan depending on your level of comfort and difficulty with the different chapters.  

Always start with chapters that you are not very confident about so that you can devote more time to those, followed by chapters that you find easy and manageable. Be sure to devote sufficient time to revising the theory as well.

What are the major challenges faced by students while attempting the Exam on the D Day & how must I prepare in advance to meet those challenges?

Challenges Solutions 
Inability to logically think and present an answer to a new question 
  • Solve a couple of questions in writing in every revision. 
  • Focus on the format of the various answers as per ICAI. 
  • Know when to elaborate through working notes to improve understand-ability. 
Recollecting and associating questions to the related topics Appear for mock exams in a time bound format so that you can get an idea of how to deal with all the topics together 
Scoring well in the theory based questions Use the right vocabulary – stick to the keywords used by ICAI 
Inability to manage time in the paper Unnecessary time should not be devoted on a particular question. In case you cannot figure out the solution to a particular question, designate some time to it at the end of the paper 

For additional resources to assist you while preparing for CA Foundation, visit here.

Good Luck!

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