Study smarter, not harder: All India CS topper
20-year old Shruti, who is simultaneously studying for CA, aims to join the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) in the future.
Meet Shruti Goyal from Ambikapur, Chattisgarh who topped CS in her maiden attempt.
For this topper, CS success is another feather in her cap.
She topped through school, achieved 6th rank in CA-PCC level exam and is a recipient of the ICAI scholarship.
Belonging to an ancestral business class family, her father Sajjan Goyal (Manager at Regional Gramin Bank, Chattisgarh) understands the value of higher education.
He has a double MA, and encouraged his children to get into CS, CA and IAS.
As for Shruti, coaching was not her cup of tea. She sailed through all exams with the support of her CA brother and sister. After CA, she plans to get into Indian Revenue Service (IRS).
However, hailing from a Hindi medium school, she feels the language barrier is psychological.
She shares how she approached CS modules in English and made it a success.
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Image: Shruti Goyal
'When I switched to English medium, I had to break the language barrier'
Name: Shruti Goyal
Exam: CS professional level
Percentage: 64 per cent
Congrats Shruti. Tell us a little about your background.
I come from an academically-driven family. My father did his double post graduation (MCom and MA in Sociology). And both my elder brother and sister are chartered accountants.
You did your schooling in Hindi medium. How did you confront CS modules scripted in English?
The barrier is psychological. I studied in a Hindi medium school in a small village called 'Bariyon', Chattisgarh.
When I switched to English for professional course after Class 12, I had to break that language barrier.
I took a lot of help from my brother and sister who were CAs and acted like good translators -- it was rather easy to understand concepts from them. I used to comprehend and read the text repeatedly, so that I could remember it.
I never tried to mug up my work in English, because I know it won't help. Now I feel that I managed to get a grasp of the language.
Is this your first academic success?
I excelled in studies throughout my school. I was always listed among toppers. I got 1st rank in CS executive level in the state level and all India 6th rank in CA-PCC level exam.
Since I was listed in the merit list of toppers, I was felicitated with Institute of Chartered Accountancy of India (ICAI) scholarship.
I get a postal cheque of Rs. 7500 twice a year from the institute.
Why CS alongside with CA? Did multiple courses help?
I wanted a broader knowledge about the finance field. Since both these courses are related to accounting profession, the course contents more or less overlaps.
I felt 50 per cent of syllabus is similar. I chose CS because it stresses more on applicable company laws and rules. So with a systematic planning, it was easy to handle both courses.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
'I scheduled the difficult papers for morning and easier ones for the following day'
Which are the tough papers? How did you cope?
Generally, students feel treasury and forex management is bit taxing.
Luckily, being a CA aspirant it was not that tough for me. I had a good grasp over these practical subjects.
Books you referred for preparation.
I solely relied on study materials offered by ICSI and scanner for seeing past year exam questions. I also referred CA course books.
What was your concentration strategy?
I am sharpest in the morning -- mentally best from 6 am to 9 am.
I scheduled the difficult papers for morning and easier ones for the following day. I effectively studied for 6 to 8 hours.
When I would feel sluggish, I used to go out for a walk, chat with friends and family. Relaxation is must for me -- so that all my energy goes well to my brain.
Proper sleep, chatting, walking released a lot of tension. I believe one should study smarter not harder. God has given us beautiful brain.
You just have to apply 1-2 per cent of it and you can rock the world!
Tell us about your last minute preparation.
Last minute preparation was easy for me. For exam takers, time is a major constraint.
The one year consistent daily preparation helped me in the long way. It gave me the strength to revise my books in a jiffy.
I kept my cool in the exam hall. I was clear before hand that I should not leave a single question.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
'I want to be socially responsible for the country'
How significant was coaching for you?
Yes it does help to an extent.
Coaching classes gives you a collective study atmosphere. It builds your confidence, especially while interacting on the same subject with like minded students and teachers.
But I strongly believe that 75 per cent depends on your self study and motivation from your family and friends.
I did not rely on coaching for long -- as for the last level (CS professional) I focused entirely on self study.
You never thought of going to Delhi -- known for best coaching institutes?
Yes for once it struck me. But I was conscious of other factors -- I can't burden my father for extra pennies for logistics (stay, coaching fee).
Everything depends on the ability of the student.
I was confident that no matter where you sit to study -- you will be studying the same modules. I made the most from home.
What next after this euphoric moment?
I don't want to get into any corporate profession. I want to advance, create and disseminate knowledge. I am in the final year of CA.
I plan to crack it this year at any cost and plan to jump on to the next level. I wish to do IAS and preferably get into Indian Revenue Service (IRS).
I want to be socially responsible for the country and make a mark in the commerce and finance fraternity.
Your advice to CS aspirants...
Befriend your course books as you love any other novels.
If you get stuck, take guidance and sail on, without sleeping on it.
If you fail, don't get bogged down, keep trying for it. Success will come to your door!
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh